One of the world’s great hotels: The Dorchester London
If you’re looking for traditional London luxury, it’s hard to get more iconic than The Dorchester. Since its opening in 1931, The Dorchester has established itself as one of the most revered hotels in the world, not just in London. Located in a prime position on Park Lane, overlooking leafy Hyde Park, this classic hotel oozes old-school glamour. Over the course of its history, The Dorchester has become a firm favorite of celebrities and royalty alike but how does it measure up in modern times?
Style & Character
The Dorchester is unabashedly opulent. As soon as you step past the top-hatted doormen, glide through the revolving doors and emerge into the lobby, the pedigree of this five-star hotel will awe even the most discerning traveler. The lobby lounge, known as “the drawing room of Mayfair”, positively glows in peach-gold ambiance, and this grand, marble-floored promenade is bound by palm trees and stately pillars, with floral displays every way you turn. Afternoon tea at the Dorchester is almost a British institution, and amongst the intimate spaces and high-backed divans in the lobby, you’ll find guests enjoying delectable pastries and sipping tea from bone china cups. Art Deco clocks line the walls, and upstairs there are thick, soft carpets and sweet-smelling aromas breezing through the corridors (during my visit in December, it smelt of spiced apples). Still, in spite of its lavish style, The Dorchester is a friendly hotel, and far more laid back than you might think; it’s common to see guests wandering up from the spa in their robes and slippers, fresh from an indulgent pampering treatment.
The 250 rooms and suites follow a subtle, calm color scheme and are decorated in a mix of traditional chintz and smart modernity. Rooms vary in size from the deluxe queen to the expansive suite or if you really want to push the boat out, the enormous Terrace and Harlequin Penthouses. There are comfortable queen-size beds with luxurious linens, Bang and Olufsen TVs, complimentary welcome amenities and Aromatherapy Associates toiletries in even the most basic of bedrooms (though this is The Dorchester, so it’s never actually going to be “basic”). The huge, glistening bathrooms have powerful showers and deep, marble tubs, and you can dry yourself off in your cosy towel robe. The rooms are finished with painstaking detail—think retro, mirrored cabinets, thick, tasseled curtains and piles of marshmallow pillows you can wilt into.
Food & Drink
If you’re hungry, you won’t be short of places to eat at The Dorchester. There’s The Grill, where you can enjoy a contemporary, creative menu brought to you by executive chef Guillaume Katola. Popular dishes include grill favorites like blue lobster chowder and white truffle tagliolini pasta, which you can feast upon under a striking, hand-blown Murano glass chandelier. The young, continental waiters are extremely knowledgeable about the dishes and complementing wines; ask them if you’d like to be matched. Dietary restrictions are well catered for, too.
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
Then there’s the three Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, where you can dine on contemporary French cuisine in a modern, elegant environment. The menu is focused on fresh, seasonal produce, which is often sourced from British and French suppliers. The Promenade is one of the best places in the city to take a traditional afternoon tea, but you can also choose from the extensive international menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
China Tang serves up delicious and authentic Cantonese food, and is packed with quirky objets d’art; this restaurant is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. Head to the China Tang Bar to sip perfectly-mixed cocktails; go for the Oriental Cosmo, orange infused vodka, Yuzu Shochu, Cointreau and Martini Bianco. The Bar is another buzzing spot to enjoy a few pre or post-dinner drinks, and its glamorous interior, all mirrored glass, lacquered mahogany, and velvet creates the perfect evening ambiance.
Service & Facilities
As you’d expect from such a prestigious hotel, service at The Dorchester is impeccable. The staff are bright, courteous and quick, and can’t do enough to help. The little things make all the difference; when I ordered coffee to my room and declined the accompanying butter cookies, the attendant returned unprompted with some heavenly egg and dairy-free chocolates.
The Dorchester is famous for its luxurious spa, which features top brands like La Prairie and Valmont, and has a spa menu offering a plethora of indulgent pampering treatments. Choose from anti-ageing techniques by La Prairie, relaxing treatment by established British brand Aromatherapy Associates and rejuvenating facials by Carol Joy London. While there’s no pool, the spa boasts nine treatment rooms, a manicure-pedicure suite, a stylish relaxation room, male and female steam rooms, and experience showers. If you’re feeling energetic, the state-of-the-art fitness suite is kitted out with TechnoGym equipment, free weights, Swiss Balls, a Bosu Ball and various Medicine Balls.
Carol Joy London Hair Salon
If you want a sprucing up, you can enjoy an expert hair styling, color or cut with Carol Joy London Hair Salon. Men can get a trim at The Dorchester Barber Shop, which has been providing traditional men’s grooming services for the past 30 years. In few words, one of the world’s great hotels, The Dorchester merges old-style glamour with modern comforts to provide guests with a beautiful, romantic and historic experience.