Every once in a while I find myself reflecting about how much society has changed in the last few years. From technology that has surpassed all expectation, and even perhaps to some extent thrill, to the smaller, every day things like good customer service – we live in such a convenience world these days that products are quickly packaged, thrown together in mega factories and customer service is simply scripted or just omitted altogether.
With the stress of modern living, sometimes you need an escape and The Dorchester proved to The Birmingham Gazette that just one night can bring the memories of an entire holiday away as their ability to wow and inspire goes farther than any other hotel in the country…
Just a stones throw from Hyde Park The Dorchester is situated on Park Lane in Mayfair, and is close to prestigious shops and the theatres of London’s West End.
Upon arrival one of the front of house shows me to my room herself which is pretty spectacular even by 5* standards. I’m shown around the suite and very impressed by her expertise and knowledge of the room and the Dorchester Collection hotels. The suite I’m staying in overlooks the green majesty of the Hyde Park, as well as being decorated in the most alluring array of furnishings. Each individual element of the suite has been thought out with exquisite charm and perfect judgement and attention to detail. You feel like you’ve been here before, due to the warmth and homely comfort the suite offers. The suites have just been extensively refurbished to bring them an added touch of warmth for the Winter season. The living room area offers a host of surprises. Oak panelled walls and mahogany doors give a statesmen like charm to the space. A plethora of stunning tables, chairs and sofas are placed in one end of the room with a fireplace and large screen television hung on the wall above. An elegant writing desk is positioned in full view of this living space and gives a touch of The Dorchester to guests coming complete with writing paper, postcards, envelopes, leaflets, room service menus, concierge and hotel services. A telephone is located and multiple points throughout the entire suite which even has its own butler button when you need to call them to your room. The offer to make coffee, tea, help with unpacking, laundry, arranging taxis, restaurant, spa booking are all part of the fantastic service offered in this Dorchester suite.
Next to the expansive marble fireplace a white granite coffee table is presented with an enormous bowl of fresh fruit laid out, not to mention a selection of magazines spanning the globe. Flower – roses, sit next to a lamp on a nearby table and a gorgeous mahogany dining table is at the other end of the living space – you can order dinner straight to the table over candlelight if you prefer.
Opening one of the many magazines on the table I found an extract from Collect No. 13 – actually my lucky number as I was born on that day.
Yaffa Assouline remarks: “The experience of luxury is a complex one to describe but everyone surely knows it when they experience it. The obligation of an excellent hotel is not only to create experiences in line with its character and destination, which is the foundation of hospitality, but also to add something more. This ‘something more’ is often intangible, such as superb service or arts and culture woven into the life of the hotel. The Dorchester succeeds in providing guests with what many other expressions of luxury, such as art and design have in common: certain intangible elements that harmonise a pleasurable and enriching experience, and make life that much more expansive and enjoyable.
This is extract is a true testament to the world class environment the Dorchester so effortlessly create, which is why they truly are one of the best hotels in the world.
Some of London’s finest cuisine can be had at The Dorchester including, three Michelin star Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester serving contemporary French cuisine; China Tang serving authentic Cantonese dishes; and exceptional modern British dining at The Grill at The Dorchester. Award-winning Afternoon Tea is served in The Promenade and The Bar at The Dorchester re-invented the glamour of the classic cocktail hour. Calling The Dorchester a hotel is like calling champagne a fizzy drink or caviar a sandwich spread. The hotel rejects bland luxury in favour of an unabashed celebration of opulence in décor, a level of service that is nearly telepathic, and food and wine that is gloriously over the top.
Within months of its opening in 1931, The Dorchester’s sumptuous décor and unrivalled standards of personal service established its reputation as one of the world’s great hotels. Over the decades, The Dorchester has employed the cream of interior designers to update rooms and design additions.
The Dorchester’s first consultant designer was Oliver Ford, who handled decoration of the Queen Mother’s residences at the Royal Lodge, Windsor, and Clarence House in St. James. Ford introduced handmade carpets on each floor in different floral patterns and let his taste for the rococo run riot when redecorating the Orchid Room, transforming the room with a blue-and-white Wedgwood color scheme, fanciful plasterwork, a six-foot chandelier, and cabinets for china.
Ford painted The Gold Room with a mural of trailing leaves and flowers which was painstakingly restored by Gauguin’s great-granddaughter, Mette, in 1989-1990.
Oliver Messel, legendary stage designer, produced some of The Dorchester’s most astonishing rooms, including the Oliver Messel Suite, with doors painted with sprays of flowers and furnishings and fittings decorated with acorns and oak leaves. Messel also took on additional design projects within the hotel such as The Penthouse Suite which is based on his stage set for the ballet Sleeping Beauty, and The Pavilion, which was inspired by a Mozartian theme with scenes from The Magic Flute.
At the heart of the hotel, The Promenade welcomes guests with its rich coral coloured silk draperies and custom gold-framed mirrors.
The Dorchester now has landmark status, which protects its exterior as well as many other areas of special interest from change. These include The Promenade, The Terrace and Grill Room, The Bar, and the Oliver Messel areas.
In 2002, the hotel underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment with an all-encompassing renovation of guest bedrooms and suites, including the addition of a custom-built, high-tech entertainment and business console in each guest room and a remarkably advanced telecommunications system. Award-winning Fox Linton Associates redesigned the hotel’s two-floored Crystal Suite and renowned designer, Alexandra Champalimaud, completely refurbished three of the hotel’s most prestigious suites, The Audley, Terrace and Harlequin Suites, collectively known in the hotel as the ‘roof suites’. In 2012, Alexandra returned to renovate 22 suites with a fresh take on the eclecticism of the English spirit. Whilst the new suites stay true to the hotel’s classic English residential style, the new design fuses contemporary comfort with the timeless glamour and heritage of the world-renowned property.
AND SUITES: There are 187 individually designed guest bedrooms with
king, twin, or queen beds, plus 60 suites and three roof suites.
Bedrooms are decorated in a style of classic English residences and no two rooms are alike; many have four-poster beds and many rooms can also be interconnecting. Oversized bathrooms feature Italian marble, etched glass, and chrome fittings, reflecting the Art Deco style of the building’s 1930’s origins. Most bathrooms enjoy natural light and have bathtubs that are specially imported and are some of the deepest, fastest-running in the world.
ROOF SUITES: After its complete redesign, The Dorchester opened three
contemporary roof suites by New-York based designer, Alexandra Champalimaud. The Terrace, Audley and Harlequin Suites include features such as freestanding baths, fireplaces and large wrap around terraces with stunning views over London. The roof suites also offer a team of dedicated butlers on hand to take care of guests’ every wish, a popular service that has now also been extended to the 22 newly renovated Dorchester and Park Suites.
RESTAURANTS: Choices abound at The Dorchester where London society
gathers to dine and celebrate.
The Grill at The Dorchester is meeting the demand for exceptional British cuisine made with the finest ingredients from Scotland, Devon, and Cornwall. Thierry Despont’s distinctive interior design references the Scottish ancestry of The Dorchester’s original owners and also the ‘Best of British’ ingredients served in The Grill. China Tang, run by Sir David Tang’s Cantonese haute cuisine empire, offers contemporary Cantonese food in a flawless, elegant setting and the China Tang Bar is a regular celebrity haunt. Sleek and stylish The Bar at The Dorchester was refurbished in 2006 and features a decadent menu to bring back the glamour of the classic cocktail hour. The Promenade serves a sumptuous afternoon tea and has been three times awarded the “Top Tea Place in London” by the British Tea Council. The Dorchester’s wine list is overseen by Master Sommelier Ronan Sayburn and includes approximately 460 wines, a few going back to the 1920s, before the hotel was even built. Some 10,000 bottles are kept in storage at the hotel, with another 10,000 housed at suppliers. The cocktail menu specialises in martinis made with an extensive selection of high-end spirits from around the world — over 100 labels distilled in far-flung locales from Poland to Japan.
In 2007, world-renowned chef, Alain Ducasse opened Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester which became an immediate success and won its third Michelin star in January 2010. The award-winning restaurant has views over Hyde Park, seating for up to 82 people and can be hired for exclusive use. The restaurant has maintained its Michelin star status for the past three years running and The Dorchester is the only UK hotel to have a three-starred Michelin restaurant. Located in a space that was once one of the hotel’s private dining rooms, diners can enjoy award-winning French cuisine within this light, elegant room.
Opened in May 2009 and exclusive to The Dorchester Spa is the uniquely named Spatisserie, a glamorous, but intimate space for light lunches, afternoon tea with elegant, bite size cakes, biscuits and pastries, savoury nibbles, and champagne and Spa cocktails – all reflecting the ethos that ‘a little of what you love is good for you.’
SPA & FITNESS: The Dorchester Spa opened in May 2009 after a complete
transformation bringing an exclusive new pampering destination to London. Exuding 1930s Art Deco glamour combined with a contemporary edge, design is inspired by the iconic British style of The Dorchester. Unique aspects include a chandelier of south-pacific pearls and an indulgent Spatisserie. The spa’s signature facial is by new discovery Carol Joy London, with other treatments offered by European skincare brand Kerstin Florian for the first time in London alongside acclaimed British brand Aromatherapy Associates. The spa features nine treatment rooms including two double suites, mani-pedi suite and sleek relaxation room. The nearby Fitness Studio was also designed by Fox Linton Associates and is equipped with Technogym cardiovascular and resistance equipment, as well as, a full set of free weights and Kinesis One.
SHOP: For more than 30 years the Gentleman’s Barber Shop has provided The Dorchester’s clientele with the finest traditional gentlemen’s grooming services. In addition to the traditional wet shave, clients can enjoy haircuts, hair treatments, and head massages.
GUEST SERVICES: The Dorchester maintains an astounding ratio of nearly
three staff to each room and a twenty-four hour room service offers a range of Continental, Mediterranean, Far Eastern, and “home comfort”
dishes. Hall porters handle reservations for such things as restaurants, flights, cars and limousines, and the theatre.
The hotel is handicapped-accessible and there are two guest rooms for guests with special needs.
To make a booking simply visit http://www.dorchestercollection.com/en/london/the-dorchester