I believe anyone might readily be forgiven for thinking this historic and distinguished looking building facing the Thames River was something more spectacular than a hotel–even a 5-star hotel. It says “government” and “important national business occurs here” to me. The view as seen from South Bank is impressive. Historic England describes the south section Whitehall Court GV II Mansion block of flats as constructed in 1884 by Thomas Archer and A. Green. The building is constructed of Portland stone, with slate roofs and “French Renaissance, Chateaux de la Loire inspired details.” Although not readily visible at this distance, the building contains a number of details that include decorative iron work, arched loggias, and pavilion roofs topped by cupolas.
The National Liberal Club occupied the north end, designed by Alfred Waterhouse 1884-1887. Historic England described it as “closely related in style” to Whitehall Court, but “more Flemish Renaissance in detail and with tautly composed late Gothic “belfry” tower to north-east corner.
The polygonal “belfry” corner tower has rich Goth decoration and tracery to lofty windows and rises a full storey above the roof line; finished off with a conical spire.
The Liberal Club, established in 1882, reports on its website that the “open-mindedness of the club is legendary.” It goes on to explain:
…one of the only Victorian London clubs to admit members of all ethnic, social and religious backgrounds from the very first day of its launch; as the first ‘gentlemen’s club’ to admit women as full members on an equal footing; or (most recently) as the first (and so far, the only) club to recognise all couples-whether married or unmarried, and regardless of sexual orientation-in its membership concessions.
In a second nod to my expectation of “government”, Richard Norton-Taylor reported on the commemorative plaque decorating the former office of the first MI6 chief, Sir Mansfield Cumming, located in Whitehall Court section of the building, which was used for offices of the Secret Service until the end of World War I. Portions of the building are occupied by the Royal Horseguards Hotel.