These are the first images of what is set to be one of the most exclusive hotels ever built in London at an estimated cost of £500 million.
The planning application for the Cheval Blanc hotel in Mayfair reveals for the first time the lavish facilities that have drawn royals such as Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge and A-listers including Jay Z and Beyoncé to its sister destinations in the world’s elite resorts.
Documents lodged with Westminster council show that luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, which owns the Cheval Blanc brand, plans an 83-room hotel with a subterranean spa and a 25-metre pool, two restaurants, including one overseen by a multi-Michelin-star-level chef, an evening bar and roof terrace, and a cafe.
There will also be six private apartments for sale — one with its own private pool — and a major store likely to be a showcase for one of LVMH’s fashion brands such as Celine and Fendi.
The huge triangular site in Grafton Street and Bruton Lane is close to LVMH’s existing Bond Street flagship outlets for the Louis Vuitton and Dior labels.
The plans from “starchitect” Sir Norman Foster’s practice, represent the latest move for a company once best known for handbags and shoes but now increasingly branching out into “experiences” aimed at a younger generation of wealthy consumers.
As well as the Cheval Blanc brand, LVMH owns the five-star Bulgari hotel in Knightsbridge. Last year it bought luxury travel company Belmond, operator of the Venice Simplon-Orient Express and celebrity chef Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons restaurant and hotel in Oxfordshire.
There are currently just four Cheval Blanc hotels — in St Tropez on the French Riviera, where prices start from around 750 euros (£650) per night, the Maldives, Saint-Barthélemy in the Caribbean, and the French ski resort of Courchevel, where it has a restaurant with three Michelin stars.
The planning documents say that Cheval Blanc hotels bring a “haute couture approach to hospitality” and mix “the essence of French refinement and a distinct local flair”. The Mayfair hotel would replace two office blocks from the Sixties and Seventies “of little architectural merit”.
Helen Brocklebank, of luxury goods body Walpole, said: “LVMH’s acquisition of British hospitality group, Belmond, at the end of last year clearly marked out the scale of their ambition in luxury experiences.”
She added: “The plans for a new hotel right in the beating heart of luxury London is hugely exciting, complements the iconic Brown’s and Claridge’s nearby, and will be a real draw for affluent visitors.”
No one at LVMH would comment beyond the plans.