Review: The Dorchester, London


dorchesterJust a stones throw from Hyde Park The Dorchester is situated on Park Lane in Mayfair, close to Green Park and Regent Street with a plethora of fashion boutiques, gentleman’s tailors and the bustling theatres of London’s West End.

Upon arrival one of the reception staff shows me to my room which is spectacular even by 5* standards. The room I’m staying in overlooks the green majesty of Hyde Park, as well as being decorated in the most alluring array of furnishings. Each individual element has been thought out with exquisite charm, perfect judgement and attention to detail. I feel immediately at home, like I’ve been there 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. Oak panelled walls and mahogany doors give a statesmen like charm to the  space. A telephone is located and multiple points throughout, even the

In other suites in the hotel expansive marble fireplaces and white granite coffee table can be found with an enormous bowl of fresh fruit, not to mention a selection of magazines spanning the globe.  Flowers – roses, are common place next to ornate lamps and gorgeous mahogany dining tables can be found at the other end of the living space – you can order dinner straight to the table over candlelight if you prefer.

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 and China Tang serving authentic Cantonese dishes.  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.

DorchesterWithin 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. 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.

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.

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 alsic Engo 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.

China TangChina 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.

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.’

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 eco 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 a Kinesis One.

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.

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