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Hotel Café Royal



Alrov Properties

Development Manager:

DML Development Managers Ltd.


David Chipperfield Architects


Donald Insall Associates




Scott Wilson





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The DML has been at the forefront of the redevelopment of this landmark, 5-star hotel on behalf of Israeli owner and operator, Alrov Properties.

As development manager, we led the full team of design and construction professionals in the restoration and development of three historic buildings in the Grade II listed southern quadrant block of Regent Street, just off Piccadilly Circus.

The result is a luxury hotel comprising 160 bedroom and suites complete with restaurants, bars, a private club, banquet rooms and a holistic spa & gym complex with 18-metre swimming pool. The works started in 2008 and the facilities opened to the public in November 2012.

Although the original planning approval was obtained by the Crown Estate, DML secured an amended Listed Building Consent reflecting a revised scheme designed by David Chipperfield Architects. This required a number of listed rooms within the demise and adjoining areas to be retained or repositioned and refurbished. 

Our role included client representation at all levels across design development, procurement, project management of construction & fit out works, legal representation, insurance and lease negotiations.

The The shell and core works were carried out by Mace under a Construction Management contract, with the subsequent fit-out undertaken by B&B Italia and Poliform Interiors. The total contract for the works was in the order of £120 million excluding FF&E.

A separate Building Services Construction Management Team was engaged after RIBA Stage 3 design period, also under the management remit of DML. The client chose to directly contract with both B&B (Guestrooms) and Poliform (Front of House), as well as procure all furniture, fittings and equipment.

DML worked closely with Donald Insall Associates (historic architect/conservation specialist) in the repair and refurbishment/ alteration of original joinery, specialist decorations including gilding, ceiling paintings, plaster. This included the integration of
mechanical and electrical systems appropriate for the new use as a hotel for environmental comfort and control.

Hospitality Sector Brochure low res (002


Hospitality Sector Brochure low res (002

Our The Café Royal is one of the leading design hotels in London, with interiors that combine contemporary style and retained period history.

The grand public rooms of the 1860s and 1920s were painstakingly restored in collaboration with Donal Insall Associates. The overall effect has been to create serene rooms characterised by a refined simplicity and touched with grand classical features in stone and copper to echo the glories of Café Royal’s past.

The strategy of combining three separate building structures owned by Crown Estates on a long term 125 year lease posed particular challenges to the arrangement of the hotel. Irregular footprint and the need to retain historic rooms had to be considered alongside other key functional considerations necessary for the smooth running of a luxury hotel operation. This included the flow and use of public spaces, front and back of house operations, housekeeping, laundry, stockroom, kitchen preparations etc.


Hospitality Sector Brochure low res (002
Hospitality Sector Brochure low res (002

All lighting and ironmongery are bespoke, designed by Sir David Chipperfield. DML were directly involved in the procurement of these fixtures and fittings, including prototype testing and value engineering refinements that took account of future
maintenance and life cycle costing.


The oversized glazed, bronze doors were to the bathrooms and showers required “goal-post” frames that had to be incorporated within the fitout programme even during the base build works. These details were also incorporated in the glazed atrium “lantern”, designed to the required building standards for secret balustrade protection.

Two basement levels were introduced to house the spa and swimming pool crafted from stacked precast concrete elements honed to a terrazzo finish. This was further complicated by the Underground lines running near the property and the heavy trafficon Regent Street.

New materials were integrated into historical interiors without disrupting their integrity. For example, the design of the ground floor of the hotel uses Siena marble, exactly the same as the original lobby of Café Royal which was founded in 1865 by the French wine merchant Daniel Nicolas Tevenion.

Bedrooms have been designed in a natural colour palette using natural materials such as hand hewed, solid Carrara marble baths, bronze shelving and fittings, parquet wood
floors, glass, and leather. This has been combined with modern furniture to offset the traditional style. The design intent has been exquisite rather than extravagant,
in the classic contemporary style.


DML continues to be engaged as asset managers for the hotel, undertaking refurbishment works to improve the guest experience based on operational demand.

In 2018, DML led the design and relocation of the main restaurant and show kitchen to the first floor, resulting in a new double height reception space and associated spaces.

This 4.5-month work programme was undertaken whilst the hotel was in full operation, requiring very restrictive working timescales and environmental controls.

The project included a new wine library and sushi bar within the reception area, with views into the show kitchen. Extensive research was undertaken on fire engineering
and operational planning, which was ultimately approved by the licensing and statutory authorities. 


The new reception was completed with the installation of an eye-catching bespoke Italian glass chandelier by Vistosi.

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