Iconic luxury retailer Harrods could be making a move into the hospitality market as rumours of the brand’s first hotel development circulate.
Planning permission has been granted for the creation of a £300m luxury hotel on the site of an NCP car park that is connected to Harrods via a secret tunnel.
The freehold site was acquired in 2013 by Singapore-based Kwek Leng Beng’s CDL property group for £85m, and had residential planning consent.
Beng is also chairman of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels.
Harrods is owed by Qatar Investment Authority, which for years has teased ambitions to take the department store brand global by building upmarket hotels bearing its name in cities around the world, including London.
Speculation is that this new development could become the debut Harrods Hotel in the capital.
However, a spokesperson for Harrods told Boutique Hotelier: “There is a historic tunnel on this site, however it has been blocked up for twenty years – it will remain blocked up and will offer no access to Harrods.”
The new hotel development plan comprises 120 bedrooms over eight floors, plus 23,000 sq ft of space at ground level across three basement levels which is to house a spa and retail units. It is expected to take 30 months to complete.
It is being designed by Tim Hamilton of UK-based Hamilton Architects.
Speaking to The Times, David Ashcroft, 60, chief executive of Dartmouth, representing the developers, said the car park had been built on the site of a former Harrods clearing warehouse. “When we bought the site we knew from the legal documents that there was a tunnel but it had been blocked up at both ends. We only found the entrance last week and informed Harrods of that. It’s in remarkably good condition, still green Harrods carpets and lots of Harrods signs.”
Ashcroft declined to comment on whether Harrods might be interested in running it as a Harrods hotel. “I think you can be assured that a world class brand will be occupying it.”