Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 January 2020

Great Scotland Yard Hotel opens in London's former police HQ – in pictures

The Westminster building is now open to the public for the first time in nearly 200 years

Checking in at Scotland Yard has an entirely new meaning as the former London police headquarters has been transformed into a luxury hotel.

The 152-room Great Scotland Yard Hotel is in the protected building that was formerly the home of law and order in the City of Westminster.

Part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, the Great Scotland Yard hotel has a signature restaurant, a traditional tea room and a hidden speakeasy.

One of London's most famous landmarks, Scotland Yard – which is neither in Scotland nor in a yard – has a fascinating history that was the inspiration for the hotel design.

Guest rooms are all slightly different and some, like the Sherlock Suite and the Pickwick Suite, are named after famous Scotland Yard-linked personalities. The design of all of the rooms nod to concealment, with wardrobes hidden behind bookcases and door hooks shaped like keys.

The Forty Elephants bar is named after a female crime syndicate that operated in the late 19th century, and the menu lists items with a criminal-linked past such as the chocolate knuckleduster dessert. It also has a cabinet of curiosities filled with loot stolen by the gang.

A speakeasy bar called The Sibin is hidden behind a secret door and The Yard – the hotel's signature restaurant – serves classic British food inspired by the concept of coming home. Guests can also tuck in to a traditional British afternoon tea in The Parlour.

The private townhouse

Since guests checking in today might be searching for a more private experience than inmates would have expected in the past, the No1 Great Scotland Yard Townhouse is a stand-alone part of the hotel that can be booked privately.

This two-bedroom property is spread over five storeys and offers hotel guests a unique place to stay in the heart of London.

The boutique hotel has been created by Twenty14 Holdings, part of Lulu Group International, which is owned by UAE-based Keralan billionaire M.A. Yusuff Ali. It's also the first hotel in the UK to be part of Hyatt's Unbound Collection which includes only hotels with a distinct narrative.

When it comes to Scotland Yard, the history is beguiling.

As well as serving as inspiration for Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it was also the place where Lord Kitchener famously recruited British army troops.

The history stretches back even further: centuries ago, it was the site of a palace used by visiting Scottish royalty, hence its name.

The building was also used as royal stables, and as private residences for prominent civil servants. In 1890, it was bought by the London Metropolitan Police and became the police headquarters. As the first dedicated space for London's detective department, it was where high-profile cases were processed and high-profile prisoners were held.

In 1884, a bomb attack on the building blew a hole in the wall of Scotland Yard and it was subsequently repaired and turned into police living quarters. It has also served as a recruitment office for the British army. Most recently, it was used by the Ministry of Defence as a private library.

Room rates at The Great Scotland Yard Hotel start at Dh2,106 a night.

Updated: December 16, 2019 10:17 AM

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