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

 

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
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
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
    Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

    Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

    The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
    Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

    Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

    The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

    Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

    Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

    Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

    The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
    The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

    The Open 2014

    Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?