Great Scotland Yard (GSY) – a new hotel, restaurant, tearoom, bar, drinking club and events space – is set to open its doors in late summer 2019. Once the infamous and historical home of law and order in London’s City of Westminster, GSY will be stripped back the grandness and elitism of the building’s past while remembering its history. The hotel will offer a modern British experience that’s rooted in hospitality and suited to such a historic landmark.
The first UK hotel to join The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, GSY will comprise 152 guestrooms ranging from Standard King rooms to a number of suites, as well as a complete two-bedroom Georgian Townhouse. The rich history of the building was integral to its renovation with nods to its notorious past featured throughout. Once a dwelling for visiting Kings of Scotland during the Tudor period, today the structure is most famous as the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Police force. It was during this time the Plaistow Marshes and Jack the Ripper crimes were investigated here, and the building was immortalised in the works of writers including Dickens and Conan Doyle. In 1910, it served as the British Army Recruitment Office and Royal Military Police headquarters, where Lord Kitchener famously told WWI recruits ‘Your Country Needs You’. The bespoke renovation is being undertaken by developer Galliard Group with design from architects HBA International. Upon completion, the property will be owned by Twenty14 Holdings, the hospitality arm of Abu Dhabi based Lulu Group International, who have entered into a £110 million forward purchase agreement with Galliard Group.
Chef Restaurateur Robin Gill – the founder of The Dairy in south London – will oversee all of GSY’s food and drink culture and community. Robin will be joined by core members of his team, including Alex Harper, who he originally met working at Le Manoir, and who will be taking up the helm as Executive Chef. He will also bring with him Lewis Wright as General Manager – Food & Beverage, with whom he has worked for several years. Gill, together with Harper and Wright, will lead with their relaxed style of seasonal British food.
Great Scotland Yard will be Gill’s first foray into the hotel industry. Involved in the development of the hotel’s food and drink spaces from an early stage, his influence will be seen throughout, from the design of the open kitchen through to the contemporary atmosphere in the two bars, to a shared culture rooted in seasonality and classic cooking techniques. A focus on in-house production will infiltrate the spaces, with house-made gin and an in-house butchery and bakery. Gill’s Bloodshot Supper Club is well-known in the food industry, and something of the supper club’s late night spirit will be evident in his vision for the new property.
“This is not just a food and beverage concept in a standard hotel, we have created something completely different,” says Gill. “Great Scotland Yard is a historical institution so we had to be bold, bringing a new chapter and attitude not only to the building but also to Westminster. As with my other restaurants, we’ll be taking a back to basics approach; we will be baking from scratch, butchery and ageing will be done on site, and we will only work with the most passionate growers in the country. Our aim is to let the ingredients and the experience do the talking while producing the very finest plates of food.
“I’ve been involved in this project for a while now, which is a huge privilege and I am excited about my whole team being involved in the opening. We want Great Scotland Yard to be a place that feels like coming home; a space of old-school charm with a sense of fun, through a new-school form of service and great hospitality.”
Central to the F&B offering will be The Yard, a modern British restaurant showcasing the UK countryside in central London. The restaurant will champion quality farmers, suppliers and producers through a menu of classic yet contemporary dishes. Music will play a key role in the restaurant space with Gill himself creating the playlist.
Cocktail bar The Forty Elephants – named after a all-female gang of thieves who were active throughout the 19th and 20th centuries – will celebrate off-beat, underground London. Portraits of the Forty Elephants gang members will adorn the walls etched in glass, and their stories will permeate the space. The cocktail list will be inspired by Great British libations, breathing new life into the old and creating contemporary classics from those of the past.
Modern tearoom, The Parlour, with design inspired by The Imperial hotel in Delhi, will have a colonial and classic feel. Paying its own unique tribute to British tradition and embracing the quirkier side of the establishment, the space will be a daytime venue for morning coffees, light lunches, gin and tonics and afternoon teas.
A second drinking space takes the form of the more intimate Sibín, which celebrates quality whisky with a menu of limited edition tipples focusing on exclusive flavours and styles. Sibín’s warm setting and party atmosphere are a decisive step away from the stuffy gentleman’s clubs of Whitehall, making it a place for socialising and late-night get-togethers.
In the hotel’s basement will be Grace and Favour; a modern take on the historical ‘grace and favour’ residences, the collection of apartment-style event spaces offers space for social gatherings and a co-working with a sophisticated atmosphere. The venue can also be exclusively booked for intimate events, meetings and celebrations.
Sholto Smith, the hotel’s General Manager, concludes: “I am thrilled to be opening Great Scotland Yard as part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt. Not only as this is the first in the UK, but also due to the collaboration with chef extraordinaire, Robin Gill, who promises to deliver an amazing and truly one-of-a-kind food and beverage offering like no other hotel in London. The city is steeped in such history and being handed the keys to one of its true landmark buildings is an honour as we continue to build on its historical past.”