Entertainment

Council approves plan for £300 million luxury basement in the Ritz


By Hannah Neary, local democracy reporter

The Ritz hotel will build a £300 million luxury basement with a pool, gym and spa after council officers backed its plans last night.

The world-renowned hotel has been given permission to build the basement with new bedrooms by Westminster City Council’s planning committee.

Andrew Love, the Ritz’s senior advisor, said the development is part of a long-term plan to ensure the hotel remains successful and a much-loved institution.

He said: “The Ritz is a long established hotel known throughout the world and it’s a cherished institution in both St James and the West End.

“The five star service it provides has established itself as a West End and global icon.

“However in recent year’s there’s been a realisation and an acute need to enhance the operation of the Ritz for its guests and visitors.”

He continued: “This has been compounded by the pandemic but increasingly due to fierce competition from other globally-renowned hotels.

“Throughout our 115 year history the hotel has undergone many changes.

“The seamless continuation of the building, wrapping around Arlington Street, will keep the character and heritage of the hotel and help complete the vision of its founder, the legendary hotelier Cesar Ritz.”

The five-star hotel has hosted an endless list of famous guests, including the Queen, Winston Churchill and and Charlie Chaplin.

A five-storey basement will be built at the rear of the Grade II* listed building along Arlington Street, making space for 53 extra bedrooms.

The hotel will remain open during construction, which is expected to be complete by Christmas.

New parking spaces will also be made for VIP guests who need top security like royals and heads of state.

A planning document says the expansion was drawn-up in a bid for the Ritz to compete with other leading hotels in London and abroad.

The project is expected to create 150 jobs within construction and hotel staffing.

As part of the agreement, the Ritz will give more than £188,000 to the Westminster Employment Service, a recruitment service for locals.

It will also contribute around £500,000 to carbon reduction projects and £10,000 to planting trees.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the plans during a meeting on Tuesday evening.

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