45 Park Lane, London

“The Dorchester's luxurious new town house hotel next door”

Review by Fiona Duncan, published 28th January 2012.

To the reader who wrote exhorting me to visit more luxury places "for the vicarious pleasure it affords – one can do ordinary any day of the week", this is for you. Trouble is, I'm plainly not suited to the task. I had dressed, I thought, for the occasion, but the doorman of the Dorchester's new "town house" hotel was unconvinced, despite the fact that I had a suitcase. "This is 45 Park Lane," he said as I pushed open the door unaided. "What address might you be looking for?"

It was rough, but you can hardly blame him. A Londoner I may be, but I soon discovered that I was about as different in appearance from the rest of the guests as a Pearly Queen. They were mainly glossy, whip thin, foreign and either astonishingly beautiful or astonishingly dodgy. I stood out like a copper in a pile of shiny gold coins.

The staff, it must be said, rallied quickly. I was assigned my "host", the lovely Jenny, who acts as general fixer for her guests, a new concept that replaces the traditional receptionist/concierge and may, or may not, take off. Jenny was great, but I felt bad badgering her when, in short order, the suitcase went to my friend's room, I stupidly lost my key and my doorbell didn't work. This last had the effect of making my son, dropping by for a drink, convinced that I'd fallen to my death: I'd waved to him on the pavement from my eighth-floor balcony, but when, moments later, he reached my door, there was disconcertingly no reply.

My friend Tiggy and I kicked off with handcrafted cocktails in the glossy bar, with a divorcing couple ("I never could stand your mother") at the next table and charming service from our waitress.

45 Park Lane's restaurant, Cut, is US celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck's first European venture, decorated with Damien Hirst's dazzling Psalm series. You need to like steak, especially when the raw cuts are first brought to you on a platter so that you can be educated. The cooked versions were jaw-droppingly expensive though pretty special, as were the starters, including a divine tartare of tuna. The waiters were friendly, prompt and well-tutored in the art of beef (thank you Archie for listening so patiently to Tiggy recounting her experiences in the Argentinian Pampas).

Time for bed. Cleverly styled to appeal to all tastes – airline lounge with attitude, you might say – the spacious, mildly Art Deco rooms and suites are fabulously comfortable. Lights and blinds operate at the touch of a screen; each room has an iPad; the beds and pillows are dreamy; the showers and baths the best. And my lovely wraparound balcony (from which I could not have fallen if I'd tried) had a show-stopping view over Hyde Park and far beyond.

I wallowed, luxuriated, and, yes, felt glamorous, and who cares what the doorman thinks? If you happen to have a spare few hundred pounds, there are worse ways of spending them. But let's face it, the Sultan of Brunei's pads aren't really for the likes of us.

  • 45 Park Lane, London W1K 1PN (020 7493 4545; 45parklane.com). Doubles and singles from £395; breakfast from £20. Access possible for guests with disabilitie

Fiona's Choice

45 Park Lane's restaurant, Cut, is US celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck's first European venture, decorated with Damien Hirst's dazzling Psalm series. You need to like steak, especially when the raw cuts are first brought to you on a platter so that you can be educated. The cooked versions were jaw-droppingly expensive though pretty special, as were the starters, including a divine tartare of tuna. The waiters were friendly, prompt and well-tutored in the art of beef (thank you Archie for listening so patiently to Tiggy recounting her experiences in the Argentinian Pampas).

Time for bed. Cleverly styled to appeal to all tastes – airline lounge with attitude, you might say – the spacious, mildly Art Deco rooms and suites are fabulously comfortable. Lights and blinds operate at the touch of a screen; each room has an iPad; the beds and pillows are dreamy; the showers and baths the best. And my lovely wraparound balcony (from which I could not have fallen if I'd tried) had a show-stopping view over Hyde Park and far beyond.

I wallowed, luxuriated, and, yes, felt glamorous, and who cares what the doorman thinks? If you happen to have a spare few hundred pounds, there are worse ways of spending them. But let's face it, the Sultan of Brunei's pads aren't really for the likes of us.

The Hotel Guru verdict

Rooms
5 out of 5

The last word in comfort

Service
4 out of 5

Great staff and the doorman, I hope, has learnt his lesson

Character
4 out of 5

International, glossy, glamorous; love the Art Deco exterior

Food and drink
3 out of 5

Fine dinner but a disorganised and disappointing breakfast

Value for money
3 out of 5

Suites wildly expensive, of course, though the lead-in price is kinder

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