UK: Famous British luxury retailer Harrods may be moving into the hospitality sector, with a secret tunnel at its core.
Planning permission has been granted to a Signaporean developer for a £300m luxury hotel on the site of a former car park connected to the store.
The site was acquired in 2013 for a sum of £85m, with residential planning consent.
Harrods was acquired by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority in 2010, who has been teasing the possible upscaling of the luxury brand to other avenues, primarily through the management of upmarket hotels. This development seems to foreshadow the culmination of that ambition.
However, a spokesperson for Harrods was quoted by Boutique Hotelier as saying: “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 site in question will have 120 bedrooms across eight floors, with extra ground space planning to hold a spa, as well as possible retail units. Construction is planned to take 30 months.
David Ashcroft, CEO of Dartmouth Capital, a major investor in the site, told The Times that the existence of the tunnel was reported immediately to Harrods, as well as the condition of the tunnel in question.
He declined to comment on the possibility of a Harrods hotel, but noted “I think you can be assured that a world class brand will be occupying it.”