CHANGE UNIVERSE: Magazine Jewels
London | HotelJanuary 21, 2013

Dorset Square a new Firmdale

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In 1985 Tim and Kit Kemp opened their first property, the Dorset Square Hotel and in doing so introduced a new breed of luxury to the London hotel market. This marked the birth of Firmdale Hotels. It was sold in 2002 but the Kemps reacquired the hotel last year and embarked upon an extensive refurbishment stamping it with Kit Kemp’s signature style: bold colours and textures, bespoke and one-off pieces as well as original art collected from around the globe.

This beautiful Regency townhouse has 38 individually designed bedrooms many of which look onto the leafy private garden square which was originally the site of Thomas Lord’s first cricket ground. There is a sumptuous guest drawing room with a fireplace and a fun bar & restaurant which is open all day long. The hotel is situated in Marylebone, one of London’s most urbane and exciting residential areas. It is within easy reach of London’s theatre-land and financial district and surrounded by fashionable shops, cafés, restaurants and world-class galleries.

I have decided to stay a few days because of the interesting area around it most of all I like to run early morning on the Royal Garden circuit and do some interesting  and  shopping on Marylebone neighborhood.

The hotel entrance is quite charming and welcoming: Kit Kemp has created an all-new look and style for the Dorset Square Hotel drawing upon inspiration from the past as well as applying fresh design ideas.  I learn that the hotel has undergone a complete renovation - all bedrooms, bathrooms and public areas have been completely refurbished in a style more in-keeping with the Firmdale of today.

As the hotel is situated on the site of Thomas Lord’s original cricket ground there is a ‘cricket’ theme running throughout. From artwork and memorabilia to a stunning collection of bats and the tiny cricket balls used as closet handles in the bedrooms, there are fun and witty references everywhere. At the Dorset Square Kit has used more traditional colours to reflect the location’s Regency architecture - such as the ointment pink, heritage green and burnt sienna in the hotel’s drawing room. These combine beautifully with the Kit Kemp for Christopher Farr ‘bookends’ fabric made up as curtains and a beautiful dresser that houses the honesty bar. The hallways are lined with colourful bespoke wallpaper created especially for the hotel. Its inspiration came from a 1950’s French botanical school poster.

My bedroom is quite adorable, a few shots can be appreciated on joellestagram and the ceiling reminds me of my grandmother's home in Turquey So high....large vases of flowers in white over a dark gray background, mirrored framed aquarelles depicting vintage textiles, a small print of a bull watching over my bed facing the beautiful garden full of snow, of which I got a key if i Idecide to have that adventure picnic over the snow.

The Potting Shed (restaurant & bar) is light and airy with sage green walls, crisp white details and grey oak floors. Along one entire wall is an art installation by Martha Freud which has 198 small lights sat in ceramic cups that fade on and off spelling out famous cricket sayings. The bar is dominated by two Peter Rocklin paintings that draw inspiration from the hotel’s cricket history.

It's Friday night and we are stormed in. Nothing better that having dinner ' downstairs" at the Potting Shed.

Kit Kemp has designed a light and airy space mixing light green paintwork, fresh white detailing and grey oak floors. Upholstered banquette seating creates a warm and comfortable feeling and the long pewter bar is great for cocktails. The menu is inspired by the best of British cooking and some Mediterranean classics, using seasonal and locally sourced produce. Expect dishes such as the Potting Shed fish pie, grilled West Country lamb, and golden beet and Kentish goat’s cheese tart. There is a carefully selected wine list to compliment the menu which is also available by the glass. There are cocktails that take inspiration from the cricket heritage such as ‘Bodyliner’ and ‘Silly Middle Wicket’. Macaroni and cheese with truffle , grilled feta cheese over bed of quinoa, soups, fish of the day grilled with capers and cofeee creme brule!!!

The Potting Shed is open throughout the day for breakfast, more on Joellestagram, the granola is to die for, so the fresh orange juice, the chocolate croissants and capuccino.

Joelle's Picks:

Firmdale Hotels

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