A fire at London's five star Mandarin Oriental hotel saw dozens of guests and staff evacuated as 120 firefighters were dispatched to the Hyde Park area to control the blaze.
Guests at the hotel - including Robbie Williams, the singer - climbed several floors down external fire escapes to get away from thick black smoke billowing above them.
The fire came only a week after the completion of "the most extensive restoration in its 115-year history".
Nearby clubs, shops and restaurants were also cleared after London Fire Brigade officers feared the fire could spread.
As firefighters on tall ladders doused the flames the evacuees, many of them dazed and in shock, gathered with curious onlookers along Knightsbridge to stare at the building.
London Fire Brigade dispatched 20 fire engines and 120 officers and firefighters to the hotel, which backs onto Hyde Park, along with several ambulances.
Witnesses told how at one stage several of the Mandarin’s guests returned inside the building, thinking they were safe - only to be ordered out again.
London Ambulance has sent its hazardous area response team (HART) to the hotel, but there have been no reports of injuries and paramedics have yet to treat any patients.
HART are specially trained medics who provide life saving medical care in hazardous environments including complex extractions and multiple casualty incidents.
Station Manager at the LFB, Pam Oparaocha, was at the scene and said: “The smoke from this large fire was very visible across central London and we received a number of emergency calls.
“Firefighters worked extremely hard in exceptionally hot conditions to bring the fire under control. Crews wearing breathing apparatus carried out search and rescue operations throughout the inside of the building.”
“Firefighters are likely to remain at the scene throughout Thursday (June 7) and fire investigators will then take over to establish how the blaze started.”