Westminster set to okay Dorchester roof extension

4 mins read

In an endeavour to enhance its iconic stature, The Dorchester, one of the world’s most illustrious hotels, is on the verge of receiving approval for an extensive roof extension by Westminster council. Plans, meticulously crafted by the esteemed hotel specialists Reardon Smith Architects, call for a substantial redevelopment of the top floor of this Mayfair establishment. The ambitious blueprint envisions the creation of a new restaurant, complete with a retractable roof, while simultaneously breathing new life into the Grade II-listed Art Deco structure. As per the planning documents, the objective is to “future-proof” this legendary hostelry, a favoured haven for luminaries like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton during their sojourns in London during the 1960s and 1970s.

The proposal, hailed for its ambition, encompasses more than just culinary extravagance. Besides the culinary addition, the plan outlines the establishment of a new luxury suite, the refurbishment of an existing one, and the installation of a new dome skylight. Furthermore, it includes an array of upgraded circulation areas, designed to elevate the guest experience.

Notably, the revered £7,500-per-night Harlequin suite, an abode cherished for hosting Elizabeth Taylor during the filming of “Cleopatra” in 1963, along with five of her honeymoons, will remain unaltered. This distinguished 10-room suite, featuring its iconic pink marble bathroom, occupies a pivotal position on the ninth floor, commanding splendid vistas over Hyde Park. The planned extension work is strategically slated to unfurl on either side of this historic suite.

To the north of the Harlequin suite, the 123-square-meter Terrace Penthouse suite is poised for an extensive transformation, as its multiple rooms will be seamlessly merged into a grand open-plan space. Meanwhile, on the northwestern corner of the edifice, currently housing water chilling units, a new triple-aspect penthouse suite is set to materialise, affording awe-inspiring views of Hyde Park, Westminster, and Marylebone.

Turning our attention to the southern front, the existing Audley Penthouse suite is destined to yield its space for two rooms allocated to security personnel. Moreover, the iconic Regal Lift, an original 1931 elevator enveloped in an ornate metalwork grille, is poised for a vertical extension from its current termination on the 8th floor to the 9th floor.

The south-eastern quadrant of the top floor will see the transformation of the existing rooftop lounge bar, making way for an expansive restaurant featuring a vaulted roof with full retractability. Adjacent to this culinary masterpiece, a private dining room will open onto a terrace, providing patrons with panoramic vistas of the illustrious West End.

The esteemed Westminster council’s planning officers have voiced their recommendation in favour of this visionary scheme, setting the stage for a pivotal planning committee meeting scheduled for September 19th. Notably, The Royal Parks, a charity entrusted with the stewardship of Crown-owned parks in the capital, including the illustrious Hyde Park, had expressed reservations regarding the massing of the proposed roof extension. However, the discerning planning officers, after a thorough assessment, have asserted that the extension would not adversely impact views from Hyde Park and would duly align with local planning guidelines.

The project consortium boasts a lineup of renowned entities, with Gardiner & Theobald assuming the roles of cost consultant and project manager, Montagu Evans as the planning consultant, HLN Group handling structural engineering, and PSH Group overseeing the MEP engineering aspects of this grand venture. The prospect of a revitalised Dorchester Hotel poised to grace London’s skyline has ignited anticipation and fervour amongst connoisseurs of luxury and architecture alike.