Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London Closed Indefinitely After Fire
The Mandarin Oriental hotel in the Knightsbridge district of London is closed indefinitely, the hotel said in a statement Thursday, after a fire ripped through the newly renovated building.
The London Fire Brigade said that 36 hotel guests and 250 hotel staff were evacuated from the building after the blaze started around 4:00pm Wednesday. Everyone was accounted for, and there were no injuries reported.
It took 20 fire engines and 120 firefighters a total of six hours to control the blaze. Thick plumes of black smoke could be seen throughout all of central London.
"Firefighters worked extremely hard in exceptionally hot conditions to bring the fire under control," London Fire Brigade Station Manager Pam Oparaocha, who was on the scene, said. "Crews wearing breathing apparatus carried out search and rescue operations throughout the inside of the building.”
Current guests of the hotel were being accommodated at other hotels in the area, Mandarin Oriental said.
Mandarin Oriental said it was "too early" to tell when the hotel would fully re-open. "At present the damage is being assessed and we will provide updates as and when we have further information to share," the statement read. The hotel recommended any customers with upcoming stays at the Knightsbridge location book alternate accommodations. All cancellation fees would be waived and pre-paid stays would be refunded.
Upon initial inspection by the city's fire brigade, several parts of the hotel were damaged. "The external planting facade was damaged by fire," the London Fire Brigade said in a statement. "Small parts of several floors of the hotel, the roof and plant machinery on the roof also sustained fire damage."
The hotel had just re-opened after completing a multi-million dollar renovation on May 29 that it said was "the most extensive restoration in [the hotel's] 115-year history." All of the hotel's 181 guest rooms and suites had been refurbished. The renovation also included adding "living walls" of plants and vertical gardens to the hotel's courtyards.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.