All across the globe, you will find a range of hotels to satisfy your specific wants and needs. Some are modern behemoths, crafted in an architect’s vision to stand apart from a skyline. Some are quaint inns, meant to allow guests to step away from the bustle of big cities. The Dorchester, one of London’s classic, traditionally luxurious outposts set just to the Eastern bank of Hyde Park, is neither of these. Rather, it’s the baseline. The property is a classic example of what a luxury hotel can and should be in the city. From the elegant lobby filled with guests mingling, dining, and sipping martinis, to the immaculate guest rooms and suites, one needn’t be in the hotel long before images of the early 20th century, jazz-age visions come to mind—Fitzgerald and Hemingway and so many others all passing through these hallowed halls. To hear more about what makes The Dorchester so special, DuJour spoke to the hotel’s General Manager, Robert Whiffield.
What is your favorite space in the hotel?
My favorite space within the hotel has to be The Grill at The Dorchester. This is one of London’s most longstanding British restaurants that has lived many different lives in terms of décor, but has always been at the heart of London’s culinary scene. Originally designed by Oliver Ford, the restaurant was established in 1931, hung with beautiful Flemish tapestries against a red and gold Hispanic décor before its first renovation in 2006. We re-launched the space in November last year with a statement Pudding Bar and intimate banquette seating with one of London’s finest young chefs, Tom Booton, at the helm. The timeless design incorporates the original ornate gold doors and ceiling that have been retained throughout the restaurant’s history.
The hotel has a storied history in London, how does the current space reflect that?
The idea of constant renewal has remained a key focus for The Dorchester and The Grill epitomizes how we perfectly blend the long-standing tradition of The Dorchester with the modernity and fresh energy of Tom Booton and his team.
What about the hotel do you feel sets it apart from others in the London area?
Our incredible history! From the moment the famous doors of The Dorchester first opened back in 1931, we have played host to the noble and noteworthy: for example, Prince Philip hosted his bachelor’s party on the eve of his wedding to Queen Elizabeth II in the hotel’s Park Suite; General Dwight D. Eisenhower planned the Normandy Invasion from his suite. In the 1930s we were particularly popular with writers and artists attending Foyles Literary Luncheons.
What is an interesting fact about the hotel?
The kitchens at The Dorchester are the size of 10 tennis courts. The daily operations are so extensive that we have an escalator between kitchens with a ‘The Dorchester’ underground sign!