May 21, 2015 | By Carrie Wallace
I was definitely excited to join Andavo’s recent educational trip to London – it had been ages since I’d been and I very much looked forward to getting reacquainted with the city.
While our three days were packed, we had just a bit of daylight in which to fit some additional site inspections. I had met the lovely Victoria White, Assistant Director of Sales for The Dorchester Hotel and 45 Park Lane, the prior week at an event in Chicago, so these two hotels seemed ideal. Another plus: they were all of three minutes’ walk from Four Seasons Park Lane, where we stayed. Victoria graciously organized an impromptu visit for five people at 5:00 PM on a Friday afternoon on all of 36 hours’ notice.
The Dorchester Hotel
Our first visit was to The Dorchester Hotel, right on Park Lane, overlooking Hyde Park. I don’t know quite what I expected, perhaps something more sedate, more staid, but in fact, I found the opposite. This hotel has energy! It has buzz, it has caché. As you enter from the street, the lobby stretches back away from the doors, giving an arcade-like quality to the space. Shops, restaurants and services line each side, while the center plays host to smart-looking people having tea, enjoying drinks, and socializing. This is a place you’d love to be seen, absolutely.
I very much liked the rooms, done in Art-Deco style with well-curated pieces such as mirrored credenzas and gorgeous wallpapers. All regular rooms were spacious, and while most did not have the highly-coveted views over the park, those that did were particularly stunning. All rooms were comfortable, stylish, up to date, and yet had a touch of old London. And, who would not appreciate a bath with natural light, as some rooms had?
We saw some of the newly redesigned dining venues as well – just off the lobby, with windows to the center core (so you can see both out and in), the interior design was terrific. While it wasn’t quite dinner hour, we’ll definitely be back for a meal next time!
To me the standout aspect of The Dorchester was the atmosphere; those who love to be part of “where it’s at” will be very happy here. Add to that the epicentral location, and you have a great choice in the heart of London.
45 Park Lane
Less than a block in distance, but in fact eons away in terms of ambiance, is 45 Park Lane. It’s hard to believe they are sisters, they have so little in common other than their fab Hyde Park location. From the pop art adorning the lobby walls, to the funky furniture, the feel is entirely different. Very quickly we discerned this was THE place for the creative set, for people who are tech entrepreneurs, for perhaps a younger but not exclusively Millennial crowd. Cool-looking people with some serious London style popped in and out of the lobby, and texted their friends while enjoying a cocktail in Bar 45.
Rooms are not overly large, but clearly designed around the latest technology. IPads at your disposal to request anything you may desire, immense flat-screen TVs with enormous speakers, no less than 3 phones, and cool lighting would keep even the most ADD technophile engaged. I liked their cozy atmosphere, and for Park Lane, they’re a good value. My favorite was the Park Lane Suite, with wrap-around windows featuring views to Hyde Park. They would be perfect for entertaining, for a brainstorming session, or even for a family.
I personally loved the ambiance of the restaurant and the bar. The Restaurant, Cut, is a steakhouse by Wolfgang Puck, with an open ambiance, lots of natural light, and soaring ceilings. Alas, once again too early to dine! Upstairs, at the very sexy Bar 45, there is an overlook into the restaurant, so one feels connected. We arrived just at the point where the hotel’s smartly attired General Manager, Christophe Hilty, was holding a Friday afternoon department head meeting (with wine). Finally our timing was right and we shared a glass with Christophe and his team – a great way to start the weekend!
I think we were all glad to visit these two properties, in large part because they represented different stylistic and demographic points of view. What became obvious during the course of our travels in and around London is that there really are fantastic accommodations options for everyone, it’s just a matter of finding the right fit. And with the right fit comes a great London city experience.