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UPDATE: The hotel will actually open in October. A firm opening date is expected in a few weeks. We pulled the December 1st date from the LHW website.
We’ve been following the transformation of the venerable Café Royal in London from meeting place for artists and intellectuals (Oscar Wilde used to be a regular) into a hotel for the 21st century since way back in 2008.
We saw some of the construction progress earlier this year, with the hotel facing Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus, and an office/retail complex (including a giant Whole Foods) behind it. The site is in the middle of an area that is undergoing a little renaissance, with a chunk just to the south between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street being rebuilt (opposite the Le Méridien Piccadilly we talked about last week), the hotly-awaited Firmdale flagship a few steps east, and a planned 500-room pod hotel in the Trocadero complex just a bit further, right up to the shiny white spaceship that is the W Leicester Square.
With an expected pre-Olympics opening being missed and the website of parent group The Set Hotels having so few details available, we’ve eagerly awaited a first look at the hotel’s interiors. Imagine our surprise when we stumbled on a number of renderings over at The Leading Hotels of the World, where Café Royal is already listed.
When is a café not a café? When it suddenly decides it will become a hotel. That's what's about to happen to London landmark the Café Royal which is going to become a new luxury hotel ... we're not sure what it'll be called yet, so for now we're dubbing it (very logically) the Café Royal Hotel.
On Regent Street in the heart of a glamorous part of London, the new hotel will have 160 rooms and is planned to be ready in time for the 2012 Olympics, with speculation already building that VIPs like the International Olympic Committee could stay there.
The Café Royal has an impressive history, dating back to the 1860s, and apparently Oscar Wilde used to be a regular guest in their Grill Room. The new version is part of a 125-year lease of the building for £90 million (US$165m)--without knowing how much the renovation will cost, we're already a little scared of the room rates.