London has always been one of the top cities to visit, and there are so many hotels in town that you just lose track on which is where. However, there are a good few hotels that has been long standing with history and keeping the classic old-school English charm. It is quite distinctive when you walk into an old-school hotel that maintain the standard.
I have heard a lot about The Dorchester, and finally after living in London for so many years, I made a visit there. As soon as I walked in, I can understand why the Dorchester is still a favourite among many travellers. The reputation of the hotel is unique in having established itself shortly after the hotel’s opening in 1931. I was not sure about the hotel location, until I stayed there myself, I realised it is right in the middle of the city centre. It’s about 20 mins walk to shopping area, opposite the road to London’s hyde park, and it is well connected with public transport. The hotel is at a place where it’s a little quieter yet still very accessible. Although I have to say, to make those walks you need to know the navigation around town, because it’s close to residential areas so it could look quite similar to tourists who are not too used to the area.
Long lists of historically important people had visited and stayed at the hotel, that includes novelist Somerset Maugham (a frequent guest up to his death), the poet Cecil Day Lewis, the painter Sir Alfred Munnings, Elizabeth Taylor and her husbands, Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen and Karl Largerfeld just to name a few. Among the list is also Princess Elizabeth, the present Queen, attended a dinner party at The Dorchester the day before her engagement was announced on 10th July 1947. It was also here that Prince Philip celebrated his stag night on the eve of his wedding. He has subsequently been a regular guest of honour and renowned after-dinner speaker at events and charity functions held in the hotel, and on 26th October 1990, unveiled a plaque commemorating the reopening of The Dorchester after a two-year closure for refurbishment. If it is good enough for the Queen and Prince Philip, it is definitely good enough for me!
The most modern restaurant in the hotel is the finest three Michelin-starred French cuisine at Alain Ducasse .
The Dorchester Bar is one of London’s iconic meeting points. When the bar was rebuilt in 1938, Harry Craddock, one of the most famous barmen at the time, produced three of the most popular cocktails of the day – the Martini, Manhattan and White Lady – and sealed them in phials, which were set into the wall of the bar ‘for posterity’. When the bar was reconstructed in 1979, the cocktails, scroll and recipes were found to be in excellent condition.
They also have a China Tang at The Dorchester, offering Cantonese cuisine. Same as the one we have in Hong Kong, it is the most sought after Chinese restaurant in town.
First established in 1931, The Grill has a reputation as the place to be for the finest grill food in London. In keeping with this original concept, Alain Ducasse’s protégé Christophe Marleix has created new seasonal menus. They also serve breakfast here in the morning on top of at the Promenade.
The Promenade, where afternoon tea is served accompanied by live piano performances, is one of the most visited and favourite spot in London for both tourists and locals. The attentive services and friendly staff puts you in a good mood, and some how the interior design and decor takes you back in time where the glorious era was in fashion.
I had the pleasure to stay at one of the most exquisite suites- Park suite. It was absolutely stunning. The bedroom floors and ceilings were lined with compressed seaweed and outside walls with cork. The most recent refurbishment programme has reduced external noise levels still further, particularly through the introduction of double glazing throughout and triple glazing on the Park Lane side.
In the suite there is a living room, a dining room, 2 bathrooms, and a master bedroom. From the outside it is in fact 2 rooms linked together.
I love this bed so much it is so tempted to have breakfast in bed, the comfortable mattress with a night view of Hyde Park from the balcony, this is divine.
So the next morning, I ordered to have breakfast in the room, next by the window facing Hyde Park. It was a rainy day but still it was a very lovely way to start my day.
I did not have time during this visit, but the Spa at the Dorchester is also highly in demand. A combination of 1930s Art Deco glamour and a contemporary edge, if consists of nine treatment rooms including two double suites, a manicure-pedicure suite, a relaxation room (the photo above), male and female aromatic steam rooms and male and female experience showers. Have I mentioned the Spatisserie too?
I have been in a couple of luxurious hotels in London, they all share the same qualities that make them truly classy, world-class and outstanding. The attentive world class service, the warm and non intimidating atmosphere, attention to details, there personal touch quality of rooms and facilities etc…they are all very important and makes a difference. Don’t be put off by the price point of the hotel, because it is worth every penny, and surely it is an experience not to miss.
Thank you The Dorchester for giving me a quintessentially British luxurious charm experience.
53 Park Lane,
London W1K 1QA