Raffles Hotels said to be in advance negotiations for its first property in London

Raffles Hotels & Resorts is the preferred operator of an hotel in London’s Old War Office, once occupied by Winston Churchill, according to two people familiar with the plans.

The building in Whitehall, which is being redeveloped by the Hinduja Group and Spain’s Obrascon Huarte Lain SA, will become the first Raffles hotel in London if the agreement is signed, said the people, asking not to be identified because the plans are private. The Raffles brand was bought by Accor SA, Europe’s largest hotel operator, earlier this year.

A spokesman for OHL said no final decision on the operator of the hotel has yet been taken, while officials at Accor and the Hinduja Group declined to comment.

Accor paid about $2.9 billion in shares and cash to buy FRHI Holdings Ltd., the owner of the upscale Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel brands, to boost its luxury hotel business. The expansion puts the company in a better position to compete with global peers including Marriott International Inc., Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and Hyatt Hotels Corp., Bloomberg Intelligence analysts including Margaret Huang wrote in a June 15 note.

Hinduja and OHL bought the Old War Office, less than one mile from Buckingham Palace, from the U.K. Ministry of Defence for 350 million pounds ($457 million). The venture plans to turn the 54,000 square-meter (581,000 square feet) property into a hotel and 50 apartments, according to OHL’s website.

The Singapore Sling cocktail, a pink drink featuring gin and pineapple juice, was created in 1915 at the Raffles hotel in the island nation of the same name. The brand already operates hotels in Paris and Istanbul within Europe.

Old War Office London