Room Service: Dorset Square, London

Regency revival in the capital

When Tim and Kit Kemp unveiled their first hotel project in 1985 – Dorset Square Hotel, in London's Marylebone – they shook up the capital's hospitality scene. This fine Regency town house, on a quintessential London square, provided the perfect showcase for their fun and stylish new approach to hotel design.

The Kemps blew a fresh breath of life through this beautiful building, filling it with bold colours and patterns and contrasting textures, as well as eclectic furnishings and ornaments handpicked from around the world. And so, Dorset Square set the tone for their portfolio, Firmdale Hotels, which, 28 years on, numbers seven properties in London and one in New York City.

Kit designs all the Kemps' hotel interiors, describing her style as "modern English". Her radical assembly of bright tones and striking patterns, natural materials and glorious flourishes, such as the oversized textile bedheads and presence of a dressmaker's dummy in each room (the company's motif), might seem riotous on first sight, but this magpie's nest is so elegantly put together it could never be described as cluttered. The effect is intriguing and begs closer inspection, which reveals that every tuft of carpet and weave of drape has been carefully chosen and layered to create a joyful space in which to reside.

The Kemps sold Dorset Square in 2002 but reacquired the property in 2011, reopening it to guests last June following a thorough refurbishment. It now offers a choice of 38 bedrooms, a drawing room with an honesty bar where afternoon tea is served (from £25), and the Potting Shed Bar & Restaurant in the basement, which has a mainly British menu, such as ham hock terrine with piccalilli and sourdough toast (£7.50), fish pie (£15) and rhubarb crumble with custard (£4.50).

For the revamp, Kit has found much to amuse and admire in her craft box: the wallpaper on the stairs is modelled on a French botanical poster dating from the Fifties; the trio of side tables in the drawing room, made from rough slate and a polished slice of tree stump, are irresistible to touch; while the Fuzzy Felt-style cushions in the bedrooms, with appliquéd tigers and elephants, can't help but raise a smile.

She has also incorporated a cricket theme, inspired by the fact that the square's private garden was the site of Thomas Lord's first cricket ground. Look out for witty nods to the sport, from the cricket balls that double as wardrobe handles in the bedrooms to the scoreboard numbers in the restaurant and the Silly Wicket cocktail served at the glamorous pewter bar.

Location

Dorset Square Hotel is a couple of minutes' walk from Marylebone station and five minutes from Baker Street Tube. Regent's Park (0300 061 2300; royalparks.org.uk) is on your doorstep, as is Madame Tussauds (0871 894 3000; madametussauds.com; £22.50), both five minutes on foot to the east.

Experience village life, London-style, on nearby Marylebone High Street (www.marylebone village.com), a 10-minute walk south-east, where you'll find upscale shopping and independent boutiques (agnès b, Fresh, Designers Guild), and top-quality dining (Orrery, Cotidie, The Providores). If you're visiting at the weekend, there's a food and artisan market on Saturdays (11am-5pm) and a farmers' market on Sundays (10am-2pm). Further south, you'll hit Oxford Street at the Marble Arch end (for Selfridges); from there you can head east to the heart of the West End.

Comfort

There are nine categories of room, from a single through a variety of doubles (their pricing reflecting the size of the room and whether you're overlooking the square), to the two main suites. The rooms are small; the largest suite, the Marylebone Room, is only 35sq m. But they are all luxuriously finished, with soft carpets and comfortable beds, chairs and sofas.

The bathrooms sparkle: they're encased in granite tiles, with a double vanity area, white porcelain and a free-standing glass-panelled shower. (Only three rooms have baths.) Toiletries are by Miller Harris and bathrobes come as standard. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, a satellite television, iPod docking station, Tivoli radio and a mini bar of snacks, wines and spirits.

Children get their own menu and toiletries; extra beds and high chairs can be organised too. Everything is dedicated to ensuring guests have what they require at their fingertips.

Dorset Square Hotel, 39-40 Dorset Square, London NW1 6QN (020-7723 7874; dorset squarehotel.co.uk)

Travel Essentials

Rooms ****

Value ****

Service ***

Doubles start at £235, room only

 

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Automotive Service Advisor - Franchised Main Dealer

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful, family owned m...

    Recruitment Genius: Product Advisor - Automotive

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to the consistent growth of...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Automotive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Renewals Sales Executive - Automotive

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ou...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable