Over 100 firefighters were sent to tackle the fire at the newly renovated five-star Mandarin Oriental hotel, in London’s Hyde Park. The blaze took over six hours before it was brought under control, and the hotels 36 guests and 250 staff were all evacuated safely.
In a statement the hotel group said it believed that everyone in the building at the time of the fire had been accounted for.
First reports of the fire emerged just before 4 p.m. Plumes of thick, black smoke were seen rising into the air above Hyde Park as the fire took hold.
“Firefighters worked extremely hard in exceptionally hot conditions to bring the fire under control,” said London Fire Brigade station manager Pam Oparaocha, who was at the scene.
The fire service said the blaze had damaged the hotel’s “planting facade” and affected parts of the roof and several floors.
As part of the recent renovation, the hotel had installed “living walls” — plants attached to the facade of a building — in an interior courtyard.
The Mandarin hotel group said guests had been accommodated at other nearby hotels. “We would like to thank the emergency services for their swift response, and are working closely with them to ensure the safety of the building,” the group said in a statement.
“It is too early at the present stage to assess the full extent of the damage. A full investigation is underway and will take time to complete,” it added. The fire service said it would remain at the scene for most of Thursday.
The Mandarin had recently undergone a major refurbishment of its 181 guest rooms and suites. A news release announcing the completion of the project last week stated that “Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London has completed the most extensive restoration in its 115-year history, designed to confirm this historic hotel’s position as one of the best in the world.”
Adding that the rooms were “now more luxurious and comfortable than ever before.” The largest suites, due to launch in July, offered “expansive views of leafy Hyde Park and the London skyline.”