A grand dame hotel with close to 100 years of history, The Dorchester is one of the most recognizable names on London’s luxury hotel scene, and with good reason. A reputation for five-star service and opulence comes with the price tag to match, so guests can expect to find a wealthy clientele impressed with the hotel’s attention to detail, from the bar’s long list of specialty gins to memorable floral arrangements and a dedicated theatre desk which secures seats at London’s best shows.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Opened in 1932 when London’s road network didn’t encourage quite the mass of cars it does today, the location overlooking Hyde Park was probably one of its finest selling points. These days however, the location on the busy intersection near Hyde Park Corner means noisy traffic all day.
A formal property which has evolved little in terms of style over the years, rooms here feel luxe, with a certain palatial charm. Walls shimmer with pinky and pearly hues, beds are headed by alters of heavy draped fabric and even the smallest, most ‘inexpensive’ rooms come with views over either Hyde Park or Mayfair.
For a super special occasion why not sample one of the hotel’s signature suites. We’d go for the Eisenhower, so named after the rooms that General Eisenhower commandeered at the Dorchester during WWII.
Like any storied luxury hotel worth its stars, the Dorchester’s spacious bathrooms come decked out in pretty swirling marble from top to bottom. Fresh flowers are also on hand to lend some blossom to the look. Most rooms come with showers and bathtubs rumoured to be the deepest in London.
From the top hatted door staff to the rose hued marble pillars, the miniature bureaus for impromptu correspondence to the palms of the Pavilion, the lobby here spells out luxury the moment the door is opened for you.
At the Dorchester, one can visit the Art Deco styled spa for a hair appointment, followed by luxury treatments, a steam room session and manicures and pedicures to complete the pampering.
A fitness center has all you need for a full workout, from cardiovascular machines with flat screen TVs to free weights and medicine balls for that vintage fitness hustle.
From gourmet French cuisine to contemporary Cantonese classics, the dining options at the Dorchester are plentiful. If we had to opt for one, we’d go for the most famous, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester. Holder of three Michelin stars, the restaurant creates classic French fine dining in an elegant, slightly muted space that lets the food do all the talking.
Drinking is equally as important at the hotel as dining, evident in The Dorchester’s range of establishments where one can imbibe for Champagne and afternoon tea, the Promenade makes a grand occasion. However, taking a seat at the bar of the aptly named, The Bar, a place Hitchcock regularly blessed with his presence, has that certain evocative charm that all the oldest luxury hotels seemed to perennially possess.
While not the most serene location thanks to the traffic, the hotel is within close walking distance to Hyde Park Corner Tube station. Alternatively, the concierge can provide taxi cabs for quick trips across the city. A short walk or taxi ride from the restaurants and bars of Mayfair, the location also provides easy access to Chelsea and Knightsbridge.
Head to Corrigan’s Mayfair for more of the same fine dining that you’ll find at Alain Ducasse, except in this elegant restaurant you’ll swap French cuisine for a classic British menu. If you enjoyed China Tang at the Dorchester, eat at Kai Mayfair, the highest ranked Chinese restaurant in London, with one Michelin star.
There are plenty of luxury hotels around Park Lane and most have exceptional bars, but our pick would be the Connaught Bar at the Connaught Hotel. Great drinks and a super-stylish place to enjoy them. If you’d prefer some 1920s glamor, take a drink at the charming Luggage Room, where you can have fun in amongst the leather booths and marble walls.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Luxury and tradition have stood the tests of time at the Dorchester, where besides the formal grandeur, five-star service and stylish, ever so slightly over the top chintz of the rooms, we love that the hotel provides such a varied collection of places to eat, drink, and be merry that guests don’t ever have to leave.