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The next time you’re checking into The Dorchester and they ask you to state your name, you could just say, “Bond. James Bond.”
With the release of William Boyd’s new 007 novel, Solo, a few short weeks back, you can—quite literally—insert yourself in the story at The Dorchester. The London hotel is the setting for the opening scene of Boyd’s new Bond book, in which 007 is described as treating himself to a 45th birthday breakfast in 1969. In the book, Bond’s breakfast at The Dorchester consists of “four eggs, scrambled with pepper sprinkled on top, half a dozen rashers of unsmoked bacon, well done, on the side and a long draught of strong black coffee.”
If you order Bond’s birthday breakfast, the hotel will help set the scene by offering you an iPod loaded with hits from the 60s, giving you an extract from a national newspaper and the menu from 1969, and serving your breakfast silver service-style in keeping with the 60s. Once a week, a table will be chosen at random to be charged The Grill's 1969 price, a sum just short of £2 ($2.70).
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Here’s an interesting titbit we picked up last week: the Dorchester Collection is trying to make a move on the Eternal City, having entered into discussions to acquire the Hotel Eden in Rome, currently branded under Starwood’s Le Méridien flag.
It would be the second Italian property for the group, joining the Principe di Savoia in Milan. The deal isn’t signed, sealed, delivered quite yet; the official line is that it is “currently in discussions with Starman, owner of the Hotel Eden in Rome, concerning the purchase of the hotel” with “an official statement [to follow] once the transaction is completed”. Given that the Sultan of Brunei is behind the Dorchester Collection and that the company is hoping to have 15 hotels in their portfolio by 2015 (currently they have 9), we’re sure they can work out something on the financial side.
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While The Dorchester London is tempting cognac connoisseurs with its rare Louis XIII flights, sister hotel and neighbor 45 Park Lane has a suggestion for car aficionados, particularly those with a penchant for the luxury Rolls-Royce kind. And lest you be concerned, there are cocktails involved too.
Book yourself into the Penthouse Suite at the 45-room hotel and you’re handed the keys to a brand new Rolls-Royce Wraith for the afternoon, the latest model carrying the illustrious British RR badge (we’ll forget about that whole German ownership thing for a second). After tooling around town, two specially made Wraith cocktails await in Bar 45, which are also made with Rémy Martin Cognac, with a choice of VSOP, Coeur de Cognac and XO.
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Polo season is in full gear in the UK and will be starting soon enough in the rest of the world. Whether it’s polo-inspired cocktail menus, training with the polo pros or exclusive access to top matches, these hotels want you to experience polo paradise.
Three of the world’s top polo matches take place in Argentina, so it’s a pretty big deal there. The new bar at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires pays homage to the sport and to the revered Argentinean polo team, La Dolfina. However, the Pony Line Bar and Lounge may be clad in brown leather and have a riding motif throughout, but it ain’t a sports bar as you know it to be.
It’s more for the urban sophisticate who wants to try the housemade chorizo and oxtail empanadas to go along with his or her artisanal locally-produced Stallion beer than the Bud Light and wings crowd. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that—we like a good stack of salt-and-pepper wings as much as the next guy or gal. We’re just sayin’.)
If you want to get an even bigger taste of the game, as a hotel guest you can visit La Dolfina Polo Ranch to learn more about the sport and why Argentina is reputed to be so good at it. Rates start at $595 in October.
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Last week we told you about LA’s Four Seasons offering up a ½ oz shot of the revered Louis XIII Rare Cask 42,6 cognac for a healthy $1,000 a pop. Now we’ve found out that The Bar at The Dorchester in London has fired a shot over their bow, so to speak, thereby upping the cognac war ante.
To celebrate the launch of the Louis XIII Rare Cask 42, 6, the house of Rémy Martin asked this Dorchester Collection hotel to create the ultimate “Louis XIII Dorchester Experience.” For the first time ever, you can taste all four Louis XIII ‘expressions’ side by side: Louis XIII, Louis XIII Black Pearl, Louis XIII Rare Cask 43,8 and the recently launched Louis XIII Rare Cask 42,6. With only 20 flights available and most of the Louis XIII Rare Cask and Black Pearl now sold-out worldwide, there’s no time to lose.
And it gets even better.
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If you can’t make it to Shanghai or Hong Kong for Chinese New Year on February 10, all is not lost. From an authentic “Year of the Snake” Cantonese culinary experience in London to an authentic Chinese Carnival in Paris to VIP access at San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade, hotels around the world are celebrating Chinese New Year in style.
The Dorchester Hotel in London is celebrating with a special “Year of the Snake” menu at the China Tang restaurant. If Snake Soup with Fish Maw is on your list of most favorite things to eat, then this is the place for you. The restaurant is reputed to have some of the best and most authentic Cantonese food outside of China, so you can bet that Peking Duck and Shanghai Smoked Fish are also on the menu. When you’re finally stuffed to the gills (we couldn’t resist!), then head over to the China Tang Bar for a classic digestif or a contemporary Asian one such as the yummy-sounding Xiao Mi Mi with Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh ginger root, a slice of orange, fresh lemon juice, cinnamon and orange syrup, and strawberry liqueur.
The Chinese New Year Package is only available on Sunday, February 10 and starts at £1,260 ($1,973) in a Junior Suite.
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There's tons of New York hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· CitizenM Times Square Is On Track For Summer 2013: European-based budget hotel chain CitizenM have been circling for a while now on a yet-to-open CitizenM Times Square property on 50th and Broadway. At the beginning of 2011, we were told the brand was shooting for a 2012 opening in Times Square (which obviously never happened). Now, CitizenM executive Michael Levie tells USA Today that construction is well underway, and that the 24-story, 240-room tower is set to open by next summer. What else? The company is also planning a second NYC location in Soho, set to open the following year.
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Last summer, we watched some pretty big-time hotels open all around the world. London made a contribution to the ultra-luxe Dorchester Collection. New York got its first unofficial skateboard hotel. Trump invaded Panama. And now, twelve months into the game, we can't help but let our curiosity get the better of us. What are these hotels up to a year later?
Right off the bat, we had a pretty good feeling about 45 Park Lane when the announcement was made, pre-opening, that the hotel would be housed in London's old Playboy Club. But this hotel has managed to wow in all the right places: excellent service, Hyde Park views, fully pimped out bathrooms, and free WiFi.
And the rates ain't bad, either.
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We popped into the hotel over the weekend to do breakfast in the Fountain Coffee Room downstairs and when we finished devouring that, we took a look around to check out the brand new lobby scene.
As we expected, the fussy old pink carpeting has been stripped. In its place is now a circular marble floor which is surrounded by stylish seating. The lobby also got a new chandelier, new pieces of art on the walls and a new coat of a soft white paint (not pink.) The reception area even got an upgrade with modern front desks and a mural on the wall behind them with the hotel's iconic logo and a map of its location.
But perhaps our favorite addition is the iMac next to the entrance for guests to use. Now that's bringing the hotel into the modern age!
Check out our snapshots below!
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Troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan is working hard (again) to redeem herself in the eyes of the general public. After pal-ing around with Lady Gaga on Twitter and wrapping a Liz Taylor biopic, Lohan took to the pool at the luxe Hotel Bel-Air yesterday to show off her bod in a white one-piece suit with a plunging sheer cleavage cutout.
Despite the totally staged photos that captured some questionable bruises and a pink pen stain on her legs, Lohan is indeed looking better than she has in a long time. Her time at the pool seemed pretty uneventful as well. There was nary a cigarette butt or a Red Bull vodka in sight! Instead, Lohan flipped through the pages of an O magazine before dipping her toes ever so daintily into the water.
Even if Lohan is back on track, we doubt she has the cash flow to cover the $500+ room rate at the hotel. But there is a way to enjoy the hotel's pool area without staying the night--For the first time ever, the hotel has opened the pool to its La Prairie spa guests.
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We snapped a picture of it but wrote it off as just another Beverly Hills-type event happening at the hotel, perhaps involving child actors. As it turns out, this is actually something for hotel guests and their little ones...because it's never too soon to start your kids on the red carpet?
The Little Legends package, available now at the hotel, includes a red carpet arrival for kids with sunglasses and a boa for girls and top hats for boys, an "autograph seeker" on hand to ask for their signatures, a paparazzi-style photo taken in front of a velvet rope and paparazzi wall and then presented in a keepsake frame, a VVIP card that offers them unlimited soda throughout the hotel, a personalized "Walk of Fame" chocolate star, an "I'm a Little Legend" t-shirt and the choice of an old-fashioned ice cream sundae or milkshake in the Fountain Coffee Shop.
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We stopped by the Beverly Hills Hotel the other day because we were curious about the ongoing renovations. Yet when we walked along the red carpeted entrance into the Pink Palace, there wasn't much for us to see.
A circular construction wall has been put up in the grand foyer, revealing absolutely nothing. Although we could tell that the carpeting had not yet been upgraded. There was also two lounge chairs and a table in the back of the circular construction wall and these looked somewhat newish. Perhaps a hint of the design to come?
Yet despite the renovations, the hotel is still going about celebrating its 100th anniversary. At check-in, there are detailed sings featuring the history of the hotel and there are specialty drinks in the restaurants and bars while guests can book various commemorative hotel and spa packages.