The Dorchester hotel unveils first part of historic renovation

The Dorchester hotel in London reveals glamorous interiors of the first phase of its revamp

The Dorchester hotel's rendering of The Promenade bar by Pierre-Yves Rochon
The Promenade bar by Pierre-Yves Rochon
(Image credit: The Dorchester)

There are certain buildings that exist as microcosms of the cities they are in, with their own history a reflection of the larger world outside them. The Dorchester hotel in London is one such place and now, thanks to a historic renovation, it is about to embark on a new phase of its history in keeping with the ever-changing city it inhabits. 

Since it opened in 1931, the luxury hotel in the heart of Mayfair has played host to a particular subset of London society: from writers like Somerset Maugham and Cecil Day-Lewis in the 1930s, to General Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip in the 1940s and 1950s, to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton throughout the 1960s and 1970s. 

Now, The Dorchester’s latest renovation is ushering it into a new era. 

Artists' Bar at the dorchester with black stone and gold bar

The Artists' Bar 

(Image credit: Mark Read)

The Dorchester hotel reimagined 

Artists' Bar at The Dorchester with Liberace’s legendary mirrored piano

Liberace’s piano at the Artists’ Bar

(Image credit: Mark Read)

Upon first stepping into the new Dorchester, visitors will be greeted by an exuberant display of opulence. The entrance lobby, a long hall flanked with black marble and gold columns, and with pastel-painted walls stretches down to the Artist's Bar, where guests can sit at a high-top bar of black stone, gold, and glass to drink in their surroundings and their champagne. 

In between these two bookend points is The Promenade a dining area where hotel guests and Londoners alike can gather for breakfast, lunch and dinner on plush, pastel chairs and settees reminiscent of the furniture in Marie Antoinette’s Versailles. From this vantage point, they will be able to see the 18 works of art that line the entire length of the hall. Each of the artworks is by a different artist, with a strikingly different style, and has been commissioned by The Dorchester specifically for the space. All of the artists are British-based and 16 of the 18 are female, each work a response, in its own way, to the theme of English landscapes. 

The Promenade at the Dorchester with paintings and pastel seats

The Promenade

(Image credit: Mark Read)

A new menu starts with a decadent breakfast of lobster casserole and buttermilk pancakes, and spans to lighter lunches of superfood salads, as well as traditional afternoon teas. In the evening, canapés such as quail egg tartlets and lobster arancini with truffled eclairs start things off, before mains such as The Dorchester’s signature chicken and langoustine pie or Delica pumpkin and sage risotto. 

The Promenade lunch at The Dorchester

The Promenade lunch 

(Image credit: Tina Hillier)

Unsurprisingly, every detail of the new Dorchester has been considered. The table dressings in the dining area will be changed according to the time of day, and range from table sets decorated with a pattern that reflects the moulding and gliding on the ceiling to bright pink tea sets designed in correspondence to one of the paintings. 

The open layout of the new space is guaranteed to make the new Dorchester a theatre showcasing a particular kind of London luxury. Whether perched on one of the Artists’ Bar stools or snuggled into of the dining area’s seats, visitors will be able to take in a vivacious display of unabashed style, all of it refracted in Lalique crystal finishes and mirrored ceilings, and soundtracked to music played every evening on Liberace’s legendary mirrored piano. 

The Promenade at The Dorchester

The Promenade

(Image credit: Mark Read)

Speaking about the renovation, general manager Luca Virgilio says, ‘We wanted to create a space that still attracted people who loved this hotel for many years, but we also wanted to start speaking a different language. So we will still have the established sophistication but we will have a bit more vibrancy and make it a bit more captivating, not only in the design but in the design of our uniforms and our service style.

‘I like to say it will be sophisticated without snobbery, elegant without excess, curious but without judgement. So a place that is very reflective of London.’ 

The newest edition of The Dorchester will be open to the public soon. (opens in new tab)

Beauty & Grooming Editor

Mary Cleary is the Beauty & Grooming Editor of Wallpaper*. Having been with the brand since 2017, she became an editor in February 2020 with the launch of the brand’s new beauty & grooming channel. Her work seeks to offer a new perspective on beauty, focusing on the pioneering personalities, product designs, and transformative trends within the industry.