A Brief History of The Landmark London
Located just seconds away from Marylebone station, The Landmark London has long been known as one of London’s most luxurious places for travellers to enjoy 5-star hotel suites and complete relaxation in the heart of the city. It was conceived in the golden age of steam, when well-heeled tourists used this exciting new form of transportation to make business and shopping trips to London.
The building was first conceived by train entrepreneur Sir Edward Watkins, a remarkable man who believed that Marylebone would one day become an international hub with links to Continental Europe as well as every corner of mainland Britain. Indeed, Watkins was such a visionary that he planned to create an elaborate rail network that would link Britain to Europe via a tunnel underneath the English Channel.
Unfortunately, his bold idea was beset with financial problems and in 1895 he was forced to relent on his plans before building work had even started on the hotel.
Despite the inauspicious start, the idea of having a grand Victorian railway hotel near Marylebone station was certainly not dead in the water. Indeed, another dynamic individual - Sir John Blundell Maple – saw the potential of the site, decided to buy it at a price of 4.5 pence per square foot and began work on developing a hotel. As well as many other things, Maple was the Chairman of a furniture company and he saw having a hotel in this part of London as being very good business; after all, it would enable him to drum up a lot of extra interest in his furniture company!
Maple was not short on ideas or ambition. Indeed, he wanted nothing more than to create a London hotel which would surpass all previous establishments in terms of opulence and luxury. To this end, he commissioned Robert William Edis – man with a love of the Gothic Revival style – to turn his vision into reality.
And so it was that, the last of the grand Victorian railway hotels - The Great Central Hotel – opened to great fanfare in 1899.
Whilst the hotel was initially very popular, interest soon began to decline. The main reason for this was that cars began to grow in popularity in the first half of the 20th century; therefore the number of passengers travelling by train began to decrease. It also didn’t help that the Government requisitioned the hotel during the First World War (and again in the Second World War) for convalescing officers and soldiers on leave.
Eventually, and somewhat inevitably, The Great Central Hotel closed its doors after just forty years.
After forty years of use by the British Railways Board the building was eventually bought in 1986 by a Japanese company who renovated the building and eventually reopened it as a hotel (The Regent, London) in 1993. By 1995, the hotel was once again sold, this time to The Lancaster Landmark Hotel Company.
And the rest – as they say – is history!