The Lalit London
The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, whose 11 strong portfolio has set up new standards for luxury and service in India, has chosen London as the site for its first overseas property.
Set to open in November 2016, and blending the best of Indian culture, hospitality and cuisine with the finest Victorian architecture, The Lalit London will be located in a Grade II Listed property which was originally designed by Edward Mountford, the architect of the Old Bailey. Built in two phases between 1893 and 1896, it replaced the original Tudor design of 1855. The building’s incredible heritage will see it become one of the city’s most unique and desirable destinations.
Located between Tower Bridge and City Hall in Queen Elizabeth Street, the building was constructed as St Olave’s Grammar School but more recently was occupied by Lambeth College.
The building’s redevelopment and renovation is being project managed by Gerald Eve with EPR as architects and Archer Humphryes as interior designer. The main contractors on the project are S&T Interiors and Construction.
Miles Thompson, Project Manager said: “We are constructing a single storey basement below the existing building and a two and a half storey deep basement below the external courtyard. We are also changing the roof line and putting a new storey up into the roof. It is a beautiful Victorian building of red brick and stone detailing, with traditional windows, but has remained empty and been neglected for more than 10 years, falling into a poor state of repair. The Lalit Hospitality Group is investing a considerable sum of money to restore the building to its former glory and to convert it into a luxury hotel.”
The centrepiece of the breathtaking project will be the former Great Hall, where the timber panelling, vaulted ceiling and gallery is being sympathetically restored to provide the perfect backdrop for The Lalit London’s pan Indian restaurant, Baluchi. The signature concept, which is already in place in many of the brands hotels, will offer the capital an exciting new destination restaurant, as well as providing guests with an outstanding in house facility.
The former Governor’s Room meanwhile, with its panelled walls and ornate plaster ceiling, will be converted into a cocktail bar.
Equally dramatic will be The Lalit London’s 70 guestrooms – almost all of which will be different in design and layout – with bedrooms on the top floor boasting 30-foot-high ceilings. In addition, the Headmaster’s Room on the first floor will be transformed into a luxury suite.
Overseen by Dr Jyotsna Suri, the group’s Chairperson and Managing Director, the new fixtures and fittings – from free standing carved screens to bed heads made from traditional fabrics – will utilise the finest Indian artefacts and materials.
The Lalit London will also house Rejuve – The Spa. This award-winning facility offers a complete holistic experience encompassing aroma, ayurvedic, herbal and natural therapies, patented colour healing and yoga. Guests staying at the hotel will also be able to enjoy a state-of-the-art gym.
The stunning design is not just confined to the hotels interiors. The outside space is being transformed using dramatic topiary creations and Indian stone sculptures by The Lalit group’s long time collaborator, Parisian landscape designer Olivier Vecchierini. Overlooked by The Great Hall, a spacious terrace will offer al fresco dining.
The opening of Lalit London sees the culmination of a long-held ambition by Keshav Suri, Executive Director of The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group.
He said: “My family has a karmic connection with this city; in fact all of us have grown up or studied in London. My father passed away here in 2006 and since then my mother, Dr Suri, and I have wanted to fulfil his wish of owning a hotel in London and I am glad that is finally becoming a reality.”
Miles concluded: “This has been an amazing project to work on with a client that is so passionate about developing a hotel in memory of the Group’s founder and in a heritage building. I have worked on many listed buildings but never one that has been so neglected and that is being so extensively remodelled. It really is a beautiful building and lends itself so perfectly to conversion into a luxury hotel. It is always a shame to see a building like this falling into disrepair and to have the chance to bring it back to life and give it a new lease of life is fantastic.
“The local community will have witnessed this glorious building falling into disrepair and I should imagine it is sad to see that happen. We are going through a construction period at the moment so the building has been shrouded in scaffolding and sheeting for two years, so nobody can see what is going on. Very soon the scaffolding and sheeting will be removed and hopefully the local community will once again take great pride in having this fantastic building on their doorstep.”
Airborne Environmental Consultants
Airborne Environmental Consultants (AEC) is a leading independent health, safety, environmental and risk management consultant, specialising in asbestos, Legionella & water hygiene, training, occupational hygiene and health & safety. The company has been in operation since 1997 and their experience includes consultancy at a Grade II listed football stand; WWI-era listed hangars at Filton airfield; Somerset House; St Donat’s Castle; the former sixth form college at St Olave’s; and Manchester Town Hall and art gallery buildings.
Working on the Lalit Hotel project, AEC has acted as asbestos consultants on the project involving a full circle approach, which included advice, survey, tender, asbestos removal works, project management, asbestos removal and air testing and updating existing asbestos information for the building following asbestos removal (close out report).
Alan Procter, manager for AEC’s London office, said:
“We were on hand at the planning stage to discuss our approach to this listed building and the specialist help we could bring. We successfully identified all asbestos containing materials (ACMs) onsite. Once we had produced the survey report, the AEC project manager was on hand to walk through the survey findings with the project team and look at the options on removal/management where the ACMs interfaced directly with a listed status item. We worked with the project team to successfully remove all ACMs identified without disturbing the integrity of the listed status of the building.”
“We are very happy to have been involved in the Lalit Hotel project. The listed status of the building and the special interest areas did not pose a problem for AEC as we have carried out surveys in a great many listed buildings where the fabric of the building required a specialist approach.”