London’s storied hotel dame has undergone an extensive refurbishment of its ground floor spaces, including the lobby, Vesper Bar, The Promenade, and the new Artists’ Bar.
An icon of Mayfair since it opened in 1931, The Dorchester has unveiled the design of its new guest spaces on the ground floor, encompassing Vesper Bar, The Promenade, The Artists’ Bar, and the new Cake & Flower boutique.
The hotel’s new-look rooms and suites will be revealed later this month.
The most dramatic change can be seen at Vesper Bar, formerly known as The Bar at The Dorchester. Acclaimed designer Martin Brudnizki has wielded his vibrant, eclectic touch to transform the space into a colourful, lounge-like cocktail bar that wouldn’t look out of place in a Wes Anderson film.
Vesper Bar has been named for The Dorchester’s longstanding links with James Bond. Author Ian Fleming, who invented the Vesper Martini, stayed and dined at the hotel in the 1940s. In the William Boyd-authored novel Solo, Bond wakes up in a Dorchester suite on his 45th birthday. EON Studios, the production company for the James Bond films, had an office at the hotel in the ’60s and ’70s, and the hotel has hosted numerous press junkets for the films, as well as welcoming all six James Bonds as guests over the decades.
Interiors have been inspired by the spirit and elegance of the ’30s, with a 1930s Palladium leaf ceiling reflecting the different lighting and moods of the evening. A bright green DJ booth features mirrored bricks that match the wall panelling behind it. Furnishings are upholstered in shades of green, blue, and yellow with pink accents.
Signature cocktails served at Vesper Bar highlight the hotel’s illustrious history, created by award-winning head bartender, Lucia Montanelli. Busterkeys is named after Liberace’s first show name; the Bessie Mae is named for Elizabeth Taylor, who stayed at the hotel 37 times throughout her life. It comes with ‘bath bubbles’ floating on the top, a reference to when Taylor signed her contract for Cleopatra in the bath within the Harlequin Suite.
The hotel’s all-day dining space, The Promenade, has undergone a transformation by acclaimed Parisian designer, Pierre-Yves Rochon. The Promenade follows from the lobby, leading toward the hotel’s eateries such as chef Alain Ducasse’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant, but is a dining destination itself as the site of elevated breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, as well as the hotel’s famed afternoon teas.
With a design that draws from the British landscape, Rochon has used white and soft sage green, accented with gold leaf, while a collection of contemporary artworks take inspiration from the natural features seen in Hyde Park, opposite the hotel.
Furnishings include cornered blue sofas, chairs in yellow and deep pink, and dark oak tables. The bar has been renovated to feature as more of a centrepiece at the rear of the space, with a brilliantly mirrored piano, formerly owned by Liberace, creating an ambiance that is at once elegant and inviting.
New modern British menus have been curated by recently appointed culinary director, Martyn Nail (formerly at Claridge’s). Lunch includes starters such as a salad made with Cornish crab, generous superfood salads created with seasonal ingredients, and more classic plates made on the grill, such as lobster thermidor. Elegant afternoon teas are served with Champagne, fine English sparkling wines, or a selection of premium teas.
The Artists’ Bar
Champagne, seafood, and entertainment come together in the new Artists’ Bar, an opulent space also designed by Rochon to feature crystal designs by Lalique, a mirrored ceiling, and an original collection of artworks by British-based artists.
Artwork highlights include Ann Carrington’s piece inspired by the postage stamp of Queen Elizabeth II, which uses hand-sewn mother-of-pearl buttons to create a striking, large-scale silhouette. Ewan Eason’s aerial view map of London’s Hyde Park neighbourhood is rendered entirely in gold leaf, with The Dorchester at its centre.
A menu of six signature cocktails take their creative inspirations from the surrounding artworks, with options like the Stamp Duty, referencing Carrington’s piece, which features Doorly’s 3 Barbados rum, Drambuie, Oloroso sherry, lime, and homemade English breakfast tea butter syrup.
Martyn Nail’s menu focuses on British-caught seafood with options such as caviar, Irish rock and native oysters, potted shrimp, lobster cocktail, and seabass ceviche, along with a selection of sashimi and sushi.
Cake & Flowers
The latest addition to The Dorchester’s revamped ground floor spaces is the new Cake & Flowers boutique with its own entrance on Deanery Street. Conceptualised by the in-house designer florist, Philip Hammond, and executive pastry chef, Michael Kwan, the stunning shop has elegant interiors also created by Rochon.
Mirrors, marble counters, and mosaic flooring offer an opulent touch that remains light and airy thanks to large windows and light tones used throughout the space. Stunning feature window displays showcase seasonal themes, such as the current Easter display, while inside, delicate signature cakes, gift hampers, artisan chocolates, Champagnes, and floral bouquets are available for shoppers to treat themselves or a loved one.
A cake highlight is Kwan’s take on The Dorchester Rose, the hotel’s signature rose variety which was created by Hammond; and the signature Tree Cake, which changes seasonally to include flavours such as cherry blossom tea mousse and sour cherry.