By Lindsay Watling www.standard.co.uk
Fashion house Armani is to transform one of London’s best known landmarks into a luxury hotel, it was claimed today.
It is understood to be close to snapping up the gatehouse which leads from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace.
Rooms are expected to be available from December 2015, according to sources who spoke to the Daily Mail.
The bid has not been made public, although it was already known that the Government had leased the building to developers led by Spanish entrepreneur Rafael Serrano who was behind the glitzy Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge.
He has stressed that the 100-year-old building’s period features will be painstakingly preserved.
But a full designer makeover will be required as the Grade I listed arch, built in memory of Queen Victoria in 1912, is in disrepair.
Armani’s involvement follows the success of its hotels in Dubai and Milan.
A source said: “Armani has been looking for the ideal London base for some time and this is the result of a long search. It is a closely guarded secret but the plans are at an advanced stage.”
The deal depends on Westminster Council granting planning permission, which will take at least six months as the proposals must be scrutinised by conservation experts. More info