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What sets The Royal Horseguards Hotel apart from other luxury London hotels is its rich history. The hotel’s structure was built in the late 1880s, designed by Archer & Green in the style of a French chateau. It didn’t actually become a hotel until 1971; it was originally built as a luxury apartment building, overlooking the River Thames, and was home to Russian Grand Dukes and British Lords, as well as notable people such as Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw and former prime minister William Gladstone. The National Liberal Club, one of the city’s most elegant clubs, is still housed in the same building, and Winston Churchill was once a member.
During World War I, the structure played an important role for the British government, housing the Secret Intelligence Service (commonly known as MI6) on the eighth floor. And during World War II, the Germans bombed the adjoining National Liberal Club, during the London Blitz, causing considerable damage to the building.
In 2008, Guoman Hotels purchased the hotel and spent millions of dollars refurbishing it to its Victorian splendor with added contemporary touches. Today, the hotel welcomes guests from around the world to its prestigious location along the River Thames in central London. The One Twenty One Two restaurant inside the hotel is named after the famous telephone number of the Scotland Yard, which was once located near the hotel — Whitehall 1212.