Hospitality Today Summer 2018 (#39) - Page 9 | 9 The ’Westbourne Suite’ takes its name from the river Westbourne – one of London’s hidden rivers – which flows underneath the hotel. Originating in Hampstead Heath, this brook used to flow into the Thames. It entered Hyde Park at what is now the Serpentine – which was formed in 1730 by building a dam across the Westbourne on the wishes of Queen Caroline, wife of George II, to beautify the royal park. The hotel’s origins The building was designed by the famous architect Richard Seifert (1910 – 2001), who was prolific during the 60s and 70s. No other architect (even Sir Christopher Wren) is responsible for as many buildings in London. Seifet’s unapologetic modernism was typical of the optimism of the 1960s. The Rank Organisation, founded in 1937, was riding high in the Sixties - a huge British entertainment conglomerate with sprawling business interests from film- making to flour-milling. Rank conceived the tower to host their own company offices. However, London’s acute lack of hotel rooms in the booming Sixties prompted the Government to encourage new hotel building with a £1,000 per room grant. This prompted a rethink, and Rank opened Seifert’s new tower as the Royal Lancaster Hotel in 1967. | 9