PARIS, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Luxury hotel chain Mandarin Oriental Group has picked Vinci to handle the multi-million pound revamp of its landmark 19th century Hyde Park hotel in London, the French construction group said on Friday.
The 60 million pound ($75 million) renovation of the Edwardian-style property overlooking Hyde Park, its first in 16 years, will allow the five-star hotel to better compete with a host of luxury rivals in the British capital.
Its owner, Mandarin Oriental Group, is one of the powerful Asian chains such as Shangri-La and Peninsula that have been investing heavily in recent years in European capitals and top tourist destinations such a London and Paris.
All bedrooms and suites of the iconic hotel where Queen Elizabeth II first learned to dance and where the late Margaret Thatcher held her 80th birthday party, are being refurnished under the 18-month makeover.
In addition, two new 165 square meters (1776 square feet) penthouse suites overlooking Hyde Park will be created as well as an expansion of the spa facilities and improvements to core buildings services.
During the renovation the hotel will stay open with reduced capacity.
Vinci Construction said it had brought together a team of firms specialising in luxury renovations to restore the hotel. The finest materials will be used, including stone from Thessaloniki, Greece, in the bathrooms, and Carrare marble in the lobby.
The property was built in 1889 as an exclusive Gentleman's Club but opened to the public in 1902 as The Hyde Park Hotel. Its palatial interior decoration, lavish use of marbles and gilding were then years ahead of other London's bests hotels.
Mandarin Oriental Group, which operates 29 hotels and eight residences in 19 countries, bought the hotel in 1996. It reopened in May 2000 after a 57 million pound renovation. ($1 = 0.8042 pounds) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Geert De Clercq)