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Dorchester Hotel

Dorchester Hotel

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The Dorchester is a luxury hotel
A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. The provision of basic accommodation, in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite bathrooms...

 in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, opened on 18 April 1931. It is situated on Park Lane
Park Lane (road)
Park Lane is a major road in the City of Westminster, in Central London.-History:Originally a country lane running north-south along what is now the eastern boundary of Hyde Park, it became a fashionable residential address from the eighteenth century onwards, offering both views across Hyde Park...

 in Mayfair
Mayfair is an area of central London, within the City of Westminster.-History:Mayfair is named after the annual fortnight-long May Fair that took place on the site that is Shepherd Market today...

, overlooking Hyde Park
Hyde Park, London
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in central London, United Kingdom, and one of the Royal Parks of London, famous for its Speakers' Corner.The park is divided in two by the Serpentine...


The Dorchester was created by the famous builder Sir Robert McAlpine and the managing director of Gordon Hotels Ltd, Sir Frances Towle, who shared a vision of creating the ‘perfect hotel’: ultramodern and ultra-efficient, with all the conveniences modern technology could supply.. So, in 1929 their two companies jointly bought the Dorchester House
Dorchester House
Dorchester House was a stately mansion in Park Lane, London built in 1853 by Robert Stayner Holford. It was demolished in 1929 to make way for the present Dorchester Hotel.-Overview:...

, a large 19th-century building, and quickly had it demolished. Sir Owen Williams & William Curtis Green
William Curtis Green
William Curtis Green was an English architect.Green was born in Alton, Hampshire. He studied engineering at the technical school at West Bromwich and architecture at Birmingham School of Art. Articled to John Belcher from 1895 he studied part time at the Royal Academy. In 1897 he joined the staff...

 were commissioned to design the new hotel, using reinforced concrete
Reinforced concrete
Reinforced concrete is concrete in which reinforcement bars , reinforcement grids, plates or fibers have been incorporated to strengthen the concrete in tension. It was invented by French gardener Joseph Monier in 1849 and patented in 1867. The term Ferro Concrete refers only to concrete that is...

 to allow the creation of large internal spaces without support pillars (Sir Robert's nickname was "Concrete Bob", due to his love for the new building material). The construction was carried out by Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, with the upper eight floors erected in just 10 weeks, supported on a massive three feet thick reinforced concrete deck that forms the roof of the first floor.

During the Second World War, the strength of its construction gave the hotel the reputation of being one of London's safest buildings. Cabinet Ministers, such as Lord Halifax and Duff Cooper
Duff Cooper
Alfred Duff Cooper, 1st Viscount Norwich GCMG, DSO, PC , known as Duff Cooper, was a British Conservative Party politician, diplomat and author. He wrote six books, including an autobiography, Old Men Forget, and a biography of Talleyrand...

, stayed there during this time, as did Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, who had a wall built to add privacy to his balcony, which still exists. General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 took a suite on the first floor (now the Eisenhower Suite) in 1942 after previously having stayed at Claridge's
Claridge's is a luxury hotel in Mayfair, central London. It is located at the corner of Brook Street and Davies Street.-History:Claridge's is a traditional grand hotel. Its extensive and old connections with royalty have led to it being referred to as an "extension to Buckingham Palace"...

. Diners at the Dorchester from cultural circles during this period included Cyril Connolly
Cyril Connolly
Cyril Vernon Connolly was an English intellectual, literary critic and writer. He was the editor of the influential literary magazine Horizon and wrote Enemies of Promise , which combined literary criticism with an autobiographical exploration of why he failed to become the successful author of...

, T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...

, Harold Nicolson
Harold Nicolson
Sir Harold George Nicolson KCVO CMG was an English diplomat, author, diarist and politician. He was the husband of writer Vita Sackville-West, their unusual relationship being described in their son's book, Portrait of a Marriage.-Early life:Nicolson was born in Tehran, Persia, the younger son of...

, and Edith Sitwell
Edith Sitwell
Dame Edith Louisa Sitwell DBE was a British poet and critic.-Background:Edith Sitwell was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, the oldest child and only daughter of Sir George Sitwell, 4th Baronet, of Renishaw Hall; he was an expert on genealogy and landscaping...


On 3 June 1982, Shlomo Argov
Shlomo Argov
Shlomo Argov was a prominent Israeli diplomat. He was the Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom whose attempted assassination led to the 1982 Lebanon War.-Attempted assassination:...

, the Israeli
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

 to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 was shot and seriously injured in an assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

 attempt as he left The Dorchester. The attack was the immediate cause for the 1982 Lebanon War
1982 Lebanon War
The 1982 Lebanon War , , called Operation Peace for Galilee by Israel, and later known in Israel as the Lebanon War and First Lebanon War, began on 6 June 1982, when the Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon...


In 1988, the hotel closed for two years for a major refit. The hotel was completely updated and the Promenade, Grill Room, and the Oliver Messel
Oliver Messel
Oliver Hilary Sambourne Messel was an English artist and one of the foremost stage designers of the 20th century....

 Suite were meticulously restored, to reopen in 1990.

The Dorchester is owned by the Dorchester Collection
Dorchester Collection
Dorchester Collection is a luxury hotel operator owned by the Brunei Investment Agency , an arm of the Ministry of Finance of Brunei. Dorchester Collection owns and manages 9 luxury five star hotels, The Dorchester, The Beverly Hills Hotel, Plaza Athénée, Hotel Meurice, Principe di Savoia, Hotel...

, which in turned is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency (BIA), an arm of the Ministry of Finance of Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

. The Dorchester Collection owns luxury hotels in the United Kingdom, the United States, France, and Italy.

High profile celebrities who have stayed at The Dorchester over the years have included Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian
Kimberly Noel "Kim" Kardashian is an American socialite, television personality, model, actress and businesswoman. She is known for the E! reality series that she shares with her family—Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and its spin-offs including Kourtney and Kim Take New York...

, Britney Spears
Britney Spears
Britney Jean Spears is an American recording artist and entertainer. Born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, Spears began performing as a child, landing acting roles in stage productions and television shows. She signed with Jive Records in 1997 and released her debut album...

, Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews
Dame Julia Elizabeth Andrews, DBE is an English film and stage actress, singer, and author. She is the recipient of Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy, BAFTA, People's Choice Award, Theatre World Award, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award honors...

, Kim Basinger
Kim Basinger
Kimila Ann "Kim" Basinger is an American actress and former fashion model.She is known for her portrayals of Domino Petachi, the Bond girl in Never Say Never Again , and Vicki Vale, the female lead in Batman . Basinger received a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture...

, Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty
Warren Beatty born March 30, 1937) is an American actor, producer, screenwriter and director. He has received a total of fourteen Academy Award nominations, winning one for Best Director in 1982. He has also won four Golden Globe Awards including the Cecil B. DeMille Award.-Early life and...

, Yul Brynner
Yul Brynner
Yul Brynner was a Russian-born actor of stage and film. He was best known for his portrayal of Mongkut, king of Siam, in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor for the film version; he also played the role more than 4,500 times on...

, Richard Burton
Richard Burton
Richard Burton, CBE was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role , and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid...

 and Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor
Dame Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor, DBE was a British-American actress. From her early years as a child star with MGM, she became one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age...

, Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. She made her recording debut with the release of her eponymous studio album in 1990, under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, whom she later married in 1993...

, Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

, Judy Garland
Judy Garland
Judy Garland was an American actress and singer. Through a career that spanned 45 of her 47 years and for her renowned contralto voice, she attained international stardom as an actress in musical and dramatic roles, as a recording artist and on the concert stage...

, Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp
John Christopher "Johnny" Depp II is an American actor, producer and musician. He has won the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor. Depp rose to prominence on the 1980s television series 21 Jump Street, becoming a teen idol...

, Will Ferrell
Will Ferrell
John William "Will" Ferrell is an American comedian, impressionist, actor, and writer. Ferrell first established himself in the late 1990s as a cast member on the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, and has subsequently starred in the comedy films Old School, Elf, Anchorman, Talladega...

, Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe
Russell Ira Crowe is a New Zealander Australian actor , film producer and musician. He came to international attention for his role as Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 historical epic film Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor, a...

, Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston was an American actor of film, theatre and television. Heston is known for heroic roles in films such as The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, El Cid, and Planet of the Apes...

, Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman
Nicole Mary Kidman, AC is an American-born Australian actress, singer, film producer, spokesmodel, and humanitarian. After starring in a number of small Australian films and TV shows, Kidman's breakthrough was in the 1989 thriller Dead Calm...

, Joan Collins
Joan Collins
Joan Henrietta Collins, OBE , is an English actress, author, and columnist. Born in Paddington and raised in Maida Vale, Collins grew up during the Second World War. At the age of nine, she made her stage debut in A Doll's House and after attending school, she was classically trained as an actress...

, James Mason
James Mason
James Neville Mason was an English actor who attained stardom in both British and American films. Mason remained a powerful figure in the industry throughout his career and was nominated for three Academy Awards as well as three Golden Globes .- Early life :Mason was born in Huddersfield, in the...

, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, investor, and politician. Schwarzenegger served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011....

, Peter Sellers
Peter Sellers
Richard Henry Sellers, CBE , known as Peter Sellers, was a British comedian and actor. Perhaps best known as Chief Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther film series, he is also notable for playing three different characters in Dr...

, and Kenneth Horne
Kenneth Horne
Kenneth Horne was an English comedian and businessman. The son of a clergyman and politician, he combined a successful business career with regular broadcasting for the BBC. His first hit series Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh written with his co-star Richard Murdoch arose out of his wartime service as...

 (who died in the hotel). Other famous entertainers who have been guests include Morrissey
Steven Patrick Morrissey , known as Morrissey, is an English singer and lyricist. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock band The Smiths. The band was highly successful in the United Kingdom but broke up in 1987, and Morrissey began a solo career,...

, Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. Referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records...

, The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

, Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beaton
Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton, CBE was an English fashion and portrait photographer, diarist, painter, interior designer and an Academy Award-winning stage and costume designer for films and the theatre...

, Noel Coward
Noël Coward
Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise".Born in Teddington, a suburb of London, Coward attended a dance academy...

, Peter Kay
Peter Kay
Peter John Kay is an English comedian, writer, actor, director and producer. His work includes That Peter Kay Thing , Phoenix Nights , Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere , Britain's Got the Pop Factor... and other independent productions which have included two sell out tours.-Early career:Peter Kay...

, Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford , born Lucille Fay LeSueur, was an American actress in film, television and theatre....

, Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich was a German-American actress and singer.Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself, professionally and characteristically. In the Berlin of the 1920s, she acted on the stage and in silent films...

, Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions...

, Prince
Prince (musician)
Prince Rogers Nelson , often known simply as Prince, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Prince has produced ten platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles during his career. Prince founded his own recording studio and label; writing, self-producing and playing most, or all, of...

 (musician), Somerset Maugham, and Lady GaGa
Lady GaGa
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta , better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American singer and songwriter. Born and raised in New York City, she primarily studied at the Convent of the Sacred Heart and briefly attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before withdrawing to...


In popular culture

The Dorchester is mentioned in an episode of hotel comedy series Fawlty Towers
Fawlty Towers
Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom produced by BBC Television and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. Twelve television program episodes were produced . The show was written by John Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth, both of whom played major characters...

when a guest asks about the new chef Terry (played by Brian Hall
Brian Hall (actor)
Brian Charles Hall was an English actor perhaps best known for his role in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers where he played the hotel chef Terry.-Career:...

). Sybil answers: "He used to work at the Dorchester", which leads the guest to expectingly think he worked at The Dorchester. Sybil then gives the precision "No, in Dorchester".

The hotel was also featured in ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

's X Factor
The X Factor (UK)
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. Created by Simon Cowell, it began in September 2004 and is contested by aspiring singers drawn from public auditions. It is the originator of the international X Factor franchise. The seven series of the show to date...

, in October 2006, as the location for Sharon Osbourne
Sharon Osbourne
Sharon Rachel Osbourne is an English television host, author, music manager, businesswoman and promoter as well as the wife of heavy metal singer-songwriter Ozzy Osbourne....

's bootcamp stages of the competition.

In Mr Jolly Lives Next Door
Mr Jolly Lives Next Door
Mr Jolly Lives Next Door is a 1987 comedy film made for British television as part of The Comic Strip Presents... series and was originally broadcast on Channel 4.-Plot:...

, the unnamed characters played by Rik Mayall
Rik Mayall
Richard Michael "Rik" Mayall is an English comedian, writer, and actor. He is known for his comedy partnership with Ade Edmondson, his over-the-top, energetic portrayal of characters, and as a pioneer of alternative comedy in the early 1980s...

 and Ade Edmondson spend an evening at the hotel with Nicholas Parsons
Nicholas Parsons
Nicholas Parsons OBE is a British actor and radio and television presenter.-Early life:...


The hotel room featured in the conclusion of 2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey (film)
2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, and co-written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, partially inspired by Clarke's short story The Sentinel...

was modelled after The Dorchester.

Swedish new wave band The Sounds
The Sounds
The Sounds are a Swedish Indie Rock band. Formed in Helsingborg in 1999, the group's musical style has been compared to New Wave acts such as Blondie, The Cars, the Epoxies and Missing Persons....

' fourth track on their 2009 album Crossing the Rubicon
Crossing the Rubicon (The Sounds album)
All music and lyrics by Jesper Anderberg and Félix Rodríguez except:Track 1: Lyrics by J. Anderberg, F. Rodríguez, F. Nilsson, M. IvarssonTrack 6: Lyrics by J. Anderberg, F. Rodríguez, M. Ivarsson...

is named after the hotel.

Roger Sterling mentions parties at The Dorchester with stewardesses to Don Draper
Don Draper
Donald "Don" Draper is a fictional character and the protagonist of AMC's television series Mad Men. He is portrayed by 2008 Golden Globe winner Jon Hamm. Until the third season finale, Draper was Creative Director of Manhattan advertising firm Sterling Cooper...

 in an episode of Mad Men
Mad Men
Mad Men is an American dramatic television series created and produced by Matthew Weiner. The series premiered on Sunday evenings on the American cable network AMC and are produced by Lionsgate Television. It premiered on July 19, 2007, and completed its fourth season on October 17, 2010. Each...

describing how the latter imagines working for McCann Erickson
McCann Erickson
McCann Erickson is a global advertising agency network, with offices in more than 130 countries. McCann is a subsidiary of the Interpublic Group of Companies, one of the four large holding companies in the advertising industry....

 on the Pan Am account.

In Jeffrey Archer award winning book the hotel is spoken about several times in A Prisoner of Birth
A Prisoner of Birth
A Prisoner of Birth is a mystery novel by English author Jeffrey Archer, first published in 6 March 2008 by Macmillan. This book is a contemporary retelling of Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo.-Plot summary:...

The lobby, bar, and a guest room of The Dorchester are featured in "The Mapping of Love and Death," a novel in the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear
Jacqueline Winspear
Jacqueline Winspear is a mystery writer, author of the ‘Maisie Dobbs’ series of books which explore the aftermath of World War I. She has won several mystery writing awards for books in this popular series....

External links