Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

The Dorchester

United Kingdom

Epitomises 5 star luxury with spacious rooms and suites, glorious dining, and a superb Hyde Park location

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The Dorchester


53 Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1

Travel Information

London City airport - 35 mins
London Heathrow - 45 mins
London Gatwick - 1 hour 15
Nearest Tube - Hyde Park Corner, Green Park

Top Tips

Imaginative haute cuisine lunch or dinner at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

5-Star X-Factors

The grand entrance hall and the many astonishing signature suites


The Grande Dame
Suite excess at The Dorchester


The Grande Dame
Suite excess at The Dorchester

The Grande Dame

Arriving at The Dorchester on Park Lane is always special. Its prime place on premier soil, overlooking Hyde Park, has heralded London with a legendary landmark, creating what is arguably the 'grande dame' of London's most prestigious grand-luxe five star hotels.

It is the preeminent luxury hotel that has been enjoyed by generations; a stay is synonymous with a deeply memorable lifelong London highlight. What's more, The Dorchester has been, since it opened its doors in 1931, the venue of choice for royalty, political leaders, writers, artists, Hollywood greats and celebrities, from around the globe. I have never been here without noticing a 'public figure' and they always appear extremely at ease. Even if you only do it once, you simply have to stay at The Dorchester. For some lucky luxe-trotters it has become their London dwelling away from home.

While The Dorchester's reputation and quintessentially patrician soul remains intact, the updating of the interior design and décor remains paramount. The scintillating heart of the hotel, The Promenade, was strikingly redesigned, in a voluptuous choral with ornate custom-made gilt-framed mirrors, in 2005 by interior designer Thierry Despont.

Enjoyed by guests over the last 80-plus years as an elegant and delightfully British venue, for tea and informal dining, it remains today as fashionable and popular as ever. There is also a sexily-styled leather topped Promenade Bar with daily live entertainment in the evening, from piano tinkling to a jazz duo.

Suite success

This was my second sumptuous stay in a Park Suite within recent years, on a different floor but with the same warm, wood-panelled, elegant, residential feel that is so becoming, you feel instantly at home. If this was your London pad, with views across Hyde Park, you would indeed be blessed, and rich. What's more it is wonderfully palatial in size, feeling far more like an apartment than a suite.

It is liberating staying in such a suite, so much so that you often don't know where to begin. Should you switch on the large Bang and Olufsen television and sink down into one of the plump, immaculately dressed sofas? Should you gaze across to the park and skyline beyond from one of your many windows? Should you sit at the desk and get on with some work, or enjoy tea at the perfectly polished oval dining table?

The Chinese cabinets on either side of the fireplace are stocked with vintage champagne and the finest of spirits and liquors all displayed in a very tempting format. The Dorchester answered this for me: a bottle of Laurent Perrier was chilling beside a cornucopia of colourful fruit. So, I enjoyed it all with a glass of champagne in hand. You want to simply celebrate just being here.

The bathrooms (one guest, one mine) are lavishly plush in floor-to-ceiling Italian marble, with the main one hosting a bathtub large enough for the family. There is a deco nod in these rooms, harking back to the building's 1930s origins, using etched glass and chrome fittings; however, modernity does really rule this smooth operation. Both the plush bathrooms benefit from at least a week's supply of Floris bath and body products. Besides, you know what they say about two bathrooms and a marriage!

Sleeping beauty

My bedroom, clothed in duck-egg-blue chintz, was comfortably classical and traditional, with a proud king-size bed, draped curtains, balloon-back chairs, a hand-painted pale yellow dressing table and a large television hidden within a free-standing cabinet. The boudoir strikes a distinctive contrast to the caramel glow of the sitting and dining room, while light beige Wilton velvet pile carpet is fitted throughout.

However, after a night in here, you realise that there is outstanding method in their attention to slumber detail. Firstly, and most importantly, it was the very best bed I have succumbed to in any hotel, anywhere in the world. This bed magic was a combination of the finest of thread counts creating the softest of linen, a holy-sprung mattress with deluxe fine goose-down pillows, plus, all the lights work on the button.

The attention to quietude is astounding: all bedroom floors and ceilings are lined with compressed seaweed, while the external walls are lined with cork. They have gone even further with the suites and rooms facing Park Lane, by installing triple glazing. If only all five-star hotels had taken this on board.

Wrapping it up

The Dorchester Spa was reopened in 2009 with a white flow of alluring Art Deco glamour. A striking chandelier made up of 72,000 South Pacific white pearls lights up the welcome area, while the walls are draped in swathes of ivory. The all cream and white vibe is contrasted by the slick retro-cool of the Relaxation Room, which dazzles in sapphire blue. It is here that 'swan' parties can be arranged, leaving the hens to cluck elsewhere.

I treated myself to a Rose Wrap, the signature treatment for September, and spent an hour being scrubbed, showered, and gently oiled in the special remedial nectar blended by Aromatherapy Associates. You can also have the much lauded Carol Joy facials here, Kerstin Florian treatments and plenty more. Had I needed my hair doing then I could have dipped into the in-house Carol Joy salon. However, I had an early table at The Grill At The Dorchester and that could not wait!

Dining delights

I followed one fine signature with a tasting menu of many: five tasting dishes accompanied by a different wine, chosen with flair, with each course. The service was better than impeccable: it was a perfect match with the outstanding food. The marinated scallops paired with a Gavi di Gavi were slightly sweet, undeniably diver caught, delicate but rich with a deep fried oyster, scallop crackling and an oyster mayonnaise. The meal continued with outstanding consistency and fluency but the new season lamb with sweet English peas, broad beans and girolles was hands down my best lamb of the year.

It's hard to retire to your suite here without a quick nightcap in one of London's most celebrated venues, The Bar at The Dorchester. Besides, with cocktails along with their master mixologists winning awards year on year, it seemed churlish not to. The apple martini is worth checking in for, and a rather famous household name (can't name drop) had to agree with me.

There is so much to revere about this grand establishment and in many ways it's the different layers of luxury that allow you to create your own 'bespoke' experience with each visit. Next time, I will certainly dine at Alain Ducasse's three Michelin-starred tour de force.

No matter how you cut your classy Dorchester cake, it goes without saying that you will appreciate a near flawless diamond service in a rosy blend of the finest grand-luxe ingredients. You can, if you get it right, have your cake and eat it at London's grande dame on Park Lane.

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant

Suite excess at The Dorchester

The best of British is not only an accolade, it is a real achievement. To get there takes the best of tradition and true staying power. The Dorchester is a truly British affair, not simply because of its prime location on Park Lane, overlooking Hyde Park where Henry VIII hunted deer, but also because of the impeccably high standard and a refurbishment which has lifted this great hotel into a class of its own.

Arriving here is quite an experience: a vintage Rolls Royce is parked between a DB9 and Bentley Continental which is next to The Dorchester's very own Rolls Royce Phantom, and several smart doormen are scurrying up and down the entrance assisting arriving guests.

Park Lane is special. Who doesn't compete for this coveted real estate on the Monopoly board and build a hotel there as soon as possible? Landing here is not cheap, but then where else do you stay overlooking the most prestigious park in London surrounded with elegant style and 'on-the-button' service? Where else has a luxurious meeting and seating promenade the length of Nelson's column?

This is a grand affair but, today, it is also surprisingly trendy. The Dorchester is pulling in traditional grandiose as well as some rather hip trendsetters. For the record, I saw two actresses and a very famous model as I arrived with an impressed 80s pop legend. A small group of us were gathering at the Dorchester for drinks at the revamped bar for some gossip and cocktails, before going on to the premiere of a movie and a wild after-party with a 12-piece brass swing band.

Leafy luxury

We stayed in a Park Suite that, as the name implies, looks straight out over Hyde Park. It was bathed in brilliant sunshine and it felt like a luxurious, deeply comfortable and much coveted London pied-à-terre. It was fabulous and wonderfully excessive, with two mini bars, one in the bedroom and one in the sitting room inside antique dressers, stocked with Krug and perfectly stacked drawers. Even the house red was a decent, mature Medoc. It was uplifting, luxurious and homely. Rich panelling and country house interiors made this feel like an elegant English home.

The bathroom was incredible and had the deepest Jacuzzi marble tub in London. The Floris bathroom accessories were so generous that they last a week, not a night. And having two bathrooms is suitest excess; princesses can always choose the best one. The bedroom, in blues and beige, with views to the park was so comfortable we awarded the bed with its own five-star Luxe-Trotter award. This is sleep perfection.

But there are so many amazing suites to choose from. Patronised by Elizabeth Taylor and many other legendary stars, the Harlequin Suite has real panache: a long mirrored lobby, two marble bathrooms, a private dining area and a dreamy bright sitting room. However, it has a stunning south-facing terrace with that priceless view of Hyde Park, so you can enjoy the light all day.

If it's terrace temptation you want, with panoramic views over the park and across to Knightsbridge and beyond, then the Terrace Suite is for you. Sitting on the terrace on a balmy summer's evening, with impeccable Dorchester room service is the ultimate London terraced treat. With two large bedrooms and two marble bathrooms, as well as a dining and sitting room that opens up through several French windows onto the spectacular terrace, this is family size excess.

Pure theatre

Meanwhile, the Oliver Messel Suite is the one that sits 'out there' with your wildest dreams. Oliver Messel was one of Britain's most celebrated theatrical designers. He created lavish costumes and sets for ballets and stage productions in prestigious venues throughout the country.

There is almost a fairytale element about this suite, and people who have been fortunate enough to stay here, such as Noel Coward, Marlene Dietrich and Sylvester Stallone, have described their time as magical. It feels a little like an enchanted forest. The private terrace is, predictably, quite sublime.

Foodie paradise

There are several incredible food options here. For fresh expertly prepared British fare, there's The Grill. Going East, China Tang is pretty remarkable too. David Tang's now notorious celebrity eatery is deeply enticing. Something akin to Art Deco, with Eastern twists, creates an exotic and alluring atmosphere. The bar is amazing with glowing lights and leather and chrome.

Of course, there's the three Michelin-starred tour de force, Alain Ducasse at The Dorcester. Ducasse's contemporary French fare has reached the pinnacle of gastromony, and is one of only two restaurants in London to earn triple scores (the other being Restaurant Gordon Ramsay). 

The Dorchester has excelled itself since its modern makeovers, with origins as a hotel dating back over 80 years, and is the hottest place in town to land your little silver Bugatti.

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant

Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer