London's BT Tower Is Being Transformed Into A Luxury Hotel
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London’s BT Tower Is Being Transformed Into A Luxury Hotel

The historic building is starting a new chapter

For many years, the BT Tower has stood as a symbol of the city’s telecommunications. But now the world-famous London landmark is about to enter a new era as a hotel, after being sold to US group MCR hotels for £275m.

The BT Tower Is Becoming A Hotel

Originally called the Post Office Tower, the 177 metre-tall, Grade II listed building first opened back in 1965, and was mainly used by television broadcasters for sending signals. It stood as London’s tallest building for 16 years, until its title was usurped by the NatWest tower. 

The BT Tower’s role changed over the years. Initially it played a vital role in carrying the nation’s calls and text messages, plus served as a tourist attraction, with a revolving restaurant on the top floor which the public could visit. In 1971, a bomb exploded at the venue, which was believed to have been an IRA attack, and resulted in the viewing platform closing.

As technology progressed, the building was no longer needed for communications, and its microwave aerials were removed over 10 years ago. However, it has always remained an important part of London’s history – which MCR plans to upkeep.

BT Tower

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The group’s CEO and owner Tyler Morse said: ‘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.’ 

Don’t expect to be booking a stay anytime soon, though: the project is expected to take years, due to the complexity of removing the tower’s technological equipment. The tower’s listed status means it will be subject to strict planning rules, too. 

‘MCR will partner with Camden-based Heatherwick Studio to consider how best to reimagine its use as a hotel,’ the company said in a statement. ‘BT Group will take a number of years to vacate the premises, due to the scale and complexity of the work to move technical equipment, and there will be significant time for design development and engagement with local communities before any proposals come forward.’

MCR runs around 150 hotels in the US, including The High Line Hotel in New York City and the TWA Hotel at JFK Airport.