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What happens behind closed doors could have serious consequences in Brunei.
The Dorchester Collection hotel group is coming under fire from the fashion world and it could mean the loss of some very high-profile, and high-paying, guests.
The LA Times reports that the owner of the luxury hotel collection is the Brunei Investment Agency, an extension of the Brunei government just upped the penalty for being a homosexual from 10 years in prison to death by stoning.
Shoe designer Brian Atwood was the first to call attention to this new penalty on Instagram , then other fashion designers and those well-connected in the fashion world began to boycott the hotel groups in Europe during Fashion Week. That includes Principe di Savoia in Milan, Le Meurice in Paris and the flagship Dorchester Collection. It also includes our personal fave, The Beverly Hills Hotel. You can see the full list of Dorchester Collection Hotels here.
Given that the Dorchester Collection has a major stake in the fashion world--they offer the annual Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize and they teem up with various designers for promotions and offerings--this could have some very serious ramifications.
The hotel group, however, is trying to reassure its guests and its bold-named clientele in the fashion industry by reminding them that the laws of Brunei do not apply to their hotels. Here’s the statement they gave to the LA Times:
As part of the ongoing celebrations of the city's centennial, five Beverly Hills hotels are particpating in a Suite 100 promotion where you can choose from five special anniversary suites reflective of different decades from the past 100 years. The Montage Beverly Hills, L'ermitage Beverly Hills, The Peninsula Beverly Hills and The Beverly Hilton are all on board, but here is an in-depth look at The Beverly Hills Hotel's The Golden Age of Hollywood Inspired by Marilyn Monroe suite.
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The Premier Suite
All 135 rooms and suites will be completed by the end of the year and once again interior designer Adam D. Tihany is overseeing the new decor. While we're sad to see the scene of the Troop Beverly Hills camping trip (go to 4:51) get changed, it's much needed. Here's what in store for the beloved "Pink Palace":
The many new features and amenities showcased have been designed to enhance the feeling of modernity while keeping a chic residential feel. The elegant palette features soft leathers, luxurious mohair, and opulent silks in light cream and taupe shades with silvery blue, green, and yellow accents. Rich, ebonized walnut and cerused oak furnishings complement the classic color scheme. Bespoke wall coverings and light fixtures, custom artwork in all suites, and gracious lounge seating further enhance the stylish new spaces.
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How much do you love the Dorchester Hotel in London? So much so that you would spend 125 GBP (or $200 US) on a special handmade mohair teddy bear dressed up as a Dorchester hotel chef? Or perhaps you fancy the doorman version instead? (It's also slightly cheaper at $145 US.)
Price tag aside, we're suckers for these little teddy bears. Maybe it's because their little uniforms are exact replicas of the staff uniforms. Or maybe it's because the hotel has only made 500 of these, making them limited-edition bears. Beside it totally beats another boring hotel candle.
Now if only they could make a teddy bear that exactly resembled HotelChatter's Hottest Chef in the World....
[Photo: Dorchester Hotel Shop]
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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.