London BT Tower to be turned into a hotel

A landmark on the London skyline, and once the UK's tallest building, the BT Tower is being decommissioned and will be converted to use as a hotel, with guests enjoying stunning views across the city

London’s iconic BT Tower is to be converted into a hotel. Owner BT Group has agreed a GBP275m deal to sell the property to MCR Hotels, who will now plan the conversion of the landmark property.

The tower was completed in 1964 and, at 189m tall, was for several years the tallest building in the UK capital. It was designed and built as a key component of telecommunications infrastructure, though much of that technology such as the tower’s microwave transmitters, is now obsolete. In its early years, the tower featured a rotating restaurant floor that was open to the public, though this closed in 1971.

Heritage experience

US-based MCR has around 150 hotels, and has previously converted the landmark TWA terminal at New York’s JFK airport into a hotel. Tyler Morse, CEO of MCR Hotels, commented: “We are proud to preserve this beloved building and will work to develop proposals to tell its story as an iconic hotel, opening its doors for generations to enjoy.”

MCR has acquired the hotel and the podium block it rises from, and is partnering with London designer Thomas Heatherwick to prepare plans for the conversion. The structure is a listed building, which will restrict the level of physical changes permitted. As part of the sale, BT will have a period of several years to decommission existing equipment within the tower, allowing time for consultation on the conversion proposals as they are developed.

Landmark conversions

Conversion of the BT Tower will follow a well-worn route that has seen many hotels created by converting historic landmarks, across the globe. In London, hotel guests have a broad choice of staying in historic buildings repurposed as hotels. These include the former Midland Bank headquarters, converted complete with basement vaults, now the Ned Hotel. And Accor has recently opened Raffles London, created from the UK government’s landmark former War Office building.