The proprietors of a luxury Knightsbridge hotel that went up in flames yesterday thanked emergency services after nobody was hurt.
The 115-year Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park caught fire at around 16:00 on Wednesday afternoon, causing thick smoke to be seen from across the centre of the capital.
Around 120 firefighters were sent to tackle the big blaze, while the hotel’s staff and guests were safely evacuated.
The owners of the hotel chain have said that the fire damage has been assessed and the insurers have been notified.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group said: “The company wishes to express its gratitude to the emergency services for their support in ensuring the safety of guests and staff.”
Among the guests of the five-star hotel were pop star Robbie Williams and his wife, Anya Field.
The singer told fans on his Instagram: “I went on the balcony and looked up and there was just billows and billows of smoke.
“I came back in from the balcony and said, ‘The hotel is on fire,’ and then the next thing a knock at the door came and there was a bellboy there and they said, ‘Get out.’”
After seeing the smoke from Pimlico, Hayder Hamadi, an area manager for pizza chain Dominos, came to give out free food to the police and fire brigade.
He said: “We’re here because we’re giving out free food to the police, ambulance and fire brigade to keep them going through the night… it’s just something to do for the community.
“We did a similar thing after Grenfell – we had so many staff who lived and worked near the tower that we thought it was important to do something.”
The pizza-chain manager said he had spoken to workers at the hotel while handing out food and that they had been safely evacuated before they even knew what was happening.
Ellie, who did not give her second name, arrived on the scene about half an hour after the emergency services were called.
The 18-year-old catering apprentice told SWLondoner: “I could smell the smoke from blocks away. It’s crazy, I’ve never smelled smoke like this before
She added: “I can’t imagine how a lot of people living here must feel. It’s crazy, first Grenfell and now this, two massive fires in the space of a year.” The teenager said she was shocked by the fire having only recently moved out of the borough to Battersea.
One man, a chef in the nearby Mazaya restaurant who did not wish to be named, said: “From the road [where the restaurant is] I saw a lot of smoke coming from the top of the building, and loads of fire trucks rushing towards the building.”
The fire was contained shortly after 6:00pm, and was completely extinguished by 10:00pm, said the London Fire Brigade.
It began on the top of the building in an area for plants and vegetation before spreading to several floors of the 12-storey hotel.
The exact cause of the blaze is not yet known. It comes just a month after the building had undergone a multi-million-pound renovation, the most expensive in its history.
It is not the first time the hotel has been struck by fire, with an 1899 blaze destroying three floors of the property.
A stone’s throw from upmarket Harrod’s, the establishment is known for attracting some of the world’s biggest names to stay, including royalty.
Rooms start from £600 a night and rise to more than £4,300.