“Elegant Georgian townhouse hotel featuring Kit Kemp's superb interiors and a brasserie restaurant, close to Regent's Park and Baker Street”
Formed from 2 adjoining townhouses, Dorset Square Hotel feels like a well-to-do friend's (very stylish) residence. There's a carefully curated drawing room with honesty bar on the ground floor - but that's it for common rooms outside the restaurant.
So the rooms are, despite some being compact, very carefully designed to be havens of comfort, charm and character. From the smallest category (officially known as Single rooms although they can easily take a cosy couple in standard double beds), to the largest (the ground-floor Dorset Square and Marylebone rooms have living areas), all have been beautifully finished in fabrics of the highest quality.
Not only are well-sprung beds dressed in high-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, the carpets, curtains, cushions, coverlets and chairs all display Kit Kemp's clever combinations of colours and patterns, along with witty details - we loved the miniature cricket ball door handles on our cupboards in the smart grey Marylebone Room. Headboards and tailor's dummies are all part of the game, upholstered in matching textiles.
Some of the Luxury and Deluxe rooms look out opposite to Dorset Square itself, while the 2 largest rooms (Dorset Square and Marylebone, more like junior suites) are best for families as these have sofabeds. Rooms on the top floor have sloping ceilings and feel almost Parisian.
All have black-out curtains, wide-screen TVs with satellite channels, a helpful hotel directory, radios, slippers and laundry bag. Some rooms have iPod docking stations, but you can also request them if booking one of the other categories. Granite and glass bathrooms have heated towel rails, Frette bathrobes, complimentary Kit Kemp toiletries, sewing kit and hairdryer.
In the basement you'll find The Potting Shed and bar. Skylights in the ceiling provide natural light (and a view of passers by). An intriguing bespoke installation by Martha Freud fills one wall; it features different cricketing quotes as porcelain tealights are illuminated in turn. Walls are a soft fresh green enlivened by plaster mouldings and further cricketing memorabilia.
Open all week and all day and evening, the restaurant serves a no-nonsense English brasserie-style menu (with plenty of vegetarian options). The top order includes a classic Dish of the Day: on Tuesdays chicken, ham & leek pie; Wednesdays, haddock and salmon fishcakes; Saturdays it's Lobster Thermidor! My husband bowled at the crab & chilli linguine followed by lamb cutlets, I caught the crab cakes and a divine beet and goat's cheese tart with watercress and hazelnuts. We were almost stumped by a treacle tart and a gooseberry fool, but managed to drive them both to cover.
Breakfast is both buffet and a la carte, with plenty of choice. I had the Potting Shed breakfast which meant any cooked item (Eggs Royale in my case) plus a sweep on the buffet; my husband was more restrained, opting for the fruit plate followed by smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. Our baby son wolfed down the porridge, our daughter was only just defeated by the stack of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup.
Afternoon tea is served on request. Rare and speciality teas are on offer, as well as Champagnes, and there's a good choice of dainty dishes including Victoria sponge, chocolate tiffin, roulette scones and sandwiches. The hotel has its own blend of English Breakfast tea created by The Rare Tea Company.
Room service is 24 hour. Food options are in the same brasserie style as the restaurant: crab cakes, grilled halloumi, aubergine and pepper panini, Potting Shed burgers and club sandwiches, and creme brûlée.
There's an extensive wine list, featuring some British labels as well as French and New World wines. And we started our evening meal at the bar, managing to forego the enticing bar snacks, but succumbing to the Silly Mid Off and Bodyliner cocktails.
London is a terrific place to bring children all year round - plentiful public transport, heaps of things to do and see, (mostly) helpful locals, organised facilities and amenities. Dorset Square Hotel is ideally suited for families with a plethora of fun places to go (the zoo! Madame Tussauds!) and a lovely park on the doorstep. The helpful front desk staff can make bookings and organise everything from babysitters to special meal requests. There's a children's menu available and the breakfast buffet has plenty of kid-friendly options. Children also get the luxury of their own bathrobes and kids' toiletries are placed in the bathroom. The gift you score for booking through i-escape can be individually tailored for the guest - for us a box of branded pencils for example, designed for our daughter to enjoy. She also received a welcome pack of a princess drawing book and coloured pencils, which kept her happy with the babysitter while we enjoyed a delightful dinner in The Potting Shed.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
The 2 biggest rooms - Dorset Square and Marylebone - are more like junior suites in layout, and good for families with more than one child as they have space for a cot and have a sofabed. All Deluxe rooms can fit an extra bed or a cot; all Luxury rooms can have a cot added. Two Deluxe rooms and 2 Luxury rooms have baths.
There are adjacent rooms which can be taken together for larger family groups but do not interconnect as such - there's a Single (Room 107) and a Luxury (Room 108) off a landing which can create a family only space when the outer door is closed.
Available on request
Available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
A relatively busy road is next door to the hotel