A Monumental New Hotel in London Serves Some of the Best Food in the World

Be pampered like royalty at Raffles at The OWO's restaurants and bars.

<p>Justin De Souza</p>

Justin De Souza

London is no stranger to ultra-luxe hotels. Indeed the city might be the global epicenter of five-star destinations. But this past September, the British capital ushered in a whole new era of excellence with the arrival of The OWO. The property is monumental for many reasons. Chief among them: It marks the very first arrival into the city of the legendary Raffles hotel brand. It’s one of the most hotly anticipated properties in years, featuring 120 spacious guest rooms and suites within the historic Old War Office building in Whitehall.

While that’s all certainly notable, we’re mesmerized most by the delectable array of food and beverage on offer across its palatial expanse. Integral to the $1.76 billion dollar project — eight years in the making — was a partnership with celebrated chef Mauro Colagreco. The talented tastemaker who earned three Michelin stars at Mirazur has developed three concepts inside The OWO, all of which highlight the best of the UK’s seasonal bounty.

Related: Why London's Hotel Bars Are the Best There Is Right Now

Saison occupies the former historic library of the government building. It’s a stunning space with high ceilings and latticed walls. Arriving on tabletops is most typically a smattering of local maritime fare such as Scottish brill under trout roe or the catch of the day marinated in pumpkin broth. But the land-based proteins here are not to be missed either. West country lamb and Hereford ribeye are two mainstays.

And this is the most relaxed of his venues. Mauro’s Table dials up formality in an exclusive atmosphere, overlooking a show kitchen where head chef Leonel Aguirre explores English gardens, one plate at a time. Directly next door, Colagreco’s eponymous fine-dining establishment is the crown jewel, with a focus on artistic renderings of Modern British cuisine.

Then there are the drinks, of course. No self-respecting London hotel can be without its signature cocktail parlor, and Raffles at The OWO boasts a laudable pair of such concepts. The Guards Bar and Lounge is a stately, wood-lined venue where the elaborate menu breaks down selections by basic flavor profile: berries, tropical, spice, etc. There’s also a section dedicated solely to Slings from across the globe. It pays tribute to the fact that the original Raffles property, half a world away, is the birthplace of its home country’s most iconic cocktail — the Singapore Sling. Here, however, the London Sling, crafted with local honey, lime leaf tea, and a gin made especially for the hotel brand by Sipsmith, promises to be a classic in its own right.

For a slightly more buttoned-down ambiance, patrons can explore The Drawing Room. The relaxing space, anchored by a series of tufted leather sofas, is home to a majestic afternoon tea. During evening hours, it’s a reliable headquarters for classic tipples, pensively prepared; think Martinis, Manhattans, and Negronis. Through a series of mahogany sash windows you can gaze out over the neighboring monuments of Whitehall while you, yourself, are pampered like royalty.

Global Tastemakers is a celebration of the best culinary destinations in the U.S. and abroad. We asked more than 180 food and travel journalists to vote on their favorites, including restaurants and bars, cities, hotels, airports, airlines, and cruises. We then entrusted those results to an expert panel of judges to determine each category’s winners. In many categories, we’ve included a Plus One, hand-selected by our expert panel, to shout out more culinary destinations we don’t want our readers to miss. See all the winners at

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