Gina Baksa experiences the epitome of London luxury hotels during her stay at the historic Dorchester hotel on Park Lane.
Royalty, A-Listers, presidents, generals, poets, actors and luminaries – from Pacino and Madonna via Mandela, Streisand and the cream of society – all have made The Dorchester their home from home.
The hotel’s guest roll call is impressive: General Eisenhower set up headquarters at The Dorchester in 1944. And in the Seventies, superstar-crossed lovers Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton regularly holed up in the Harlequin Suite. Legend has it their carved initials are still visible in the pink marble bathroom.
Opened to the public in 1931, The Dorchester has been a revolving door of the great, the good and the downright naughty ever since. More recently, there have been substantial investments in upgrading this iconic Park Lane Grande Dame, while ensuring she retains her 1930’s majesty and grandeur. The Dorchester is now part of the prestigious Dorchester Collection and has National Historic Landmark status.
The Dorchester’s grand entrance has played a starring role in many a celebrity stakeout. My arrival was thankfully a lot less public as I was gently ushered into another world by the charming doorman. The sparkling decor in the foyer created a warm, nostalgic ambiance. And I received a very warm welcome at the impressive reception.
Soon, I was receiving the movie star treatment myself, luxuriating in my refined and newly refurbished Belgravia Suite overlooking Park Lane and Hyde Park. A palette of grey, blue and gold against walnut flooring and exquisite marble fireplaces is sophisticated yet relaxing. I’m given refreshing tea – The Dorchester’s own blend – together with cake and Laurent Perrier Champagne. I’ve truly arrived. Elegant touches like the rose display by in-house florist Philip Hammond are especially welcome.
A short while later, my charming butler appears, with a cocktail in a teapot! The intriguingly monikered Her Majesty’s Cup combines Earl Grey tea, fresh berries, rhubarb syrup, and gin. All this lushness is topped with champagne and served out in individual teacups. Refreshingly delicious.
I take in the outside view: Park Lane and Hyde Park in all their glory, before relaxing on the generously proportioned bed. Heaven. The sumptuous bedding by luxury brand Mühldorfer with its soft goose feather and down fillings are even available to purchase for your own home. Bang & Olufsen TV, DVD player, plenty of sockets and inputs for phone charging. I also spy a Nespresso machine and notice there’s complimentary water.
The Italian marble bathroom is not capacious, but it does have the deepest bathtub in London. And Aromatherapy Associates amenities. I luxuriate in my bubble-filled heaven, before heading downstairs for dinner at The Grill.
The Dorchester has five restaurants: The Grill, Alain Ducasse – with its 3-Michelin stars – The Spatisserie in the Spa, The Promenade for opulent afternoon teas and the renowned China Tang – Sir David Tang’s only London restaurant – serving Cantonese cuisine.
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