The circle of life

John Wagner George Sell Uploaded


• Although it has been described as London's ugliest hotel, there is something slightly poignant about the fate of the Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum.

The 906-room behemoth is to become a casualty of the relentless and inexorable change of London, the endless renewal of its buildings and their uses. Queensgate Investments and its partner Rockwell have received - after some wrangling over social housing quotas - the backing of London mayor Sadiq Khan to demolish the Holiday Inn and replace it with a 750-bedroom hotel and 340 serviced apartments.

It's a major scheme, and will also include restaurants, bars, a health spa and conference facilities. There has been a lot of press about it this week, both pro and anti - it seems nobody is neutral about the project.

So it was something of a surprise so soon after hearing about the mayor's decision to receive a press release yesterday announcing the Holiday Inn has unveiled "a fresh new look following a multi-million pound refurbishment programme; with significant upgrades to the guest bedrooms, restaurant and lobby".

Patrick O’Connell, head of hotels for Queensgate Investments, says: “Whilst we have long term plans to redevelop the hotel, and indeed have recently secured planning permission, this current refurbishment demonstrates our commitment to continuing to deliver a world-class hotel with exceptional conference facilities in the immediate future. We want to stress that in a time where large scale conference facilities in London are scarce, Kensington Forum is very much open for business.”

Before she makes way for a new chapter for the neighbourhood, including some much needed extra supply for the area's serviced apartment market, at least the old girl will be going out in some style.

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