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A Tour of The Dorchester

2010 October 25

The penthouse balcony view

The penthouse balcony view

It’s a rare occasion for one of London’s top 5 star deluxe hotels to throw open its doors for public tours. As part of the London Open House Weekend, The Dorchester took part in allowing a small group of people around the back and front of house rooms.

London Open House weekend is an annual event, with over 700 buildings in London opening their doors to visitors for tours and talks over a weekend. It promotes the appreciation of architecture, with some buildings usually not open to the public. The buildings involved include the BT Tower and the London Underground HQ Building.

Pavillion Suite

The tour of The Dorchester started with coffee, pastries, and of course champagne in the Park Suite which is one of its many conference rooms.

It was then onto our next stop of the day – the Penthouse Suite on the 8th floor. With its own private balcony including a view of more than 180 degree of the London rooftops, this suite is the place to be for weddings and banquets.

This leads through to the Pavillion Suite, designed by the theatre designer Oliver Messel whose miniture stage designs are displayed on the walls.

Harlequin bathroom

The famous Harlequin suite was next, where Elizabeth Taylor was staying when she received word of her multi-million pound deal to star in Cleopatra. And it still has the original pink marble bathroom that was installed for her. There are great views over the terrace to Hyde Park, where you can also spot Battersea Power Station in the distance.

florist todo

A winding stroll down the staircase to the florist was next, where Paul described how he prepares the individual flowers required for each room. He insists they are all fresh, and very real.

His department does all the flowers apart from select arrangements in the promenade, ballroom and other select locations.

We then met Henry Brosi, the executive chef, who gave us a tour around the kitchens. This included the Krug Room, which is the chef’s table developed with Krug for private dining.

cake preperation

We were shown through the various kitchens where they prepare the sandwiches, patisseries, etc.


As it was a Sunday, and the restaurant was closed, the tour group was then led through the 3 Michelin-starred kitchen of Alain Ducasse (which was a rare treat).


Alain Ducasse Kitchen

There are a total of 18 chefs in the kitchen who work a 5 day week – having Sunday and Monday off. So it is not a very common schedule to have in British kitchens.


We were then led to the front of house, where we were shown the gorgeous modern layout and decor.

spot the ladybugs

A quick tour of the birdcage room was next, which is used as an anti-room for the ballroom. The notable thing about this room is the birdcage located on the ceiling in the middle of the room. Painted vines on the ceiling dominate, and if you look closely to one of the leaves there you see two ladybugs with doc martins in a suggestible position.



A look at the ballroom was next. You can do almost anything with this room to make your event stand out. People can be suspended from the ceiling, a car can be driven into the room due to the design of a wall which can open up. And if you see here, it has even been turfed for an awards ceremony.



Promenade Bar

And then the tour had to end sometime with a glass of well-earned champagne in The Bar. If you ever find yourself here, I highly recommend a glass of The Dorchester 75 – a champagne cocktail created for the 75th anniversary of The Dorchester.



The Bar Bar

There were many other rooms that we went through that would really over-extend the length of this blog post. If you would like to have a look at the gallery, please go to my Flickr account here.

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