Tried & Tested

Hotel check: 45 Park Lane

26 Nov 2011 by Tom Otley

BACKGROUND Open on Mayfair’s Park Lane since September, this Dorchester Collection member is a modern, luxurious boutique hotel that combines the intimacy of a smaller property with the facilities of a much larger one, courtesy of having the Dorchester just across the road. Guests may cross-sign bills from the Alain Ducasse and China Tang restaurants in the sister property, for example, as well as dining in Cut by Wolfgang Puck at 45 Park Lane.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The nine-floor property is on the former site of the Playboy Club and has had tens of millions of pounds spent on it, though much of the luxury is understated. The building looks fabulous from the outside at night, each floor lit with a golden light illuminating horizontal “fins”. The exterior is art deco-style, while the interiors – by New York-based designer Thierry Despont – are intended to create a club-like feel, which they do in terms of the intimacy of the spaces, the comfortable colours and lighting, and the use of leather and suede (this is the first time I’ve come across suede-lined wardrobes in a hotel room).

Art is prominent throughout, with a guide to London galleries in each room, original works on the walls, black and white photography in the corridors, and several outstanding pieces in the public areas by artists such as Bruce McLean and Christian Furr. The staff were excellent – there were several teething problems with the reception computer both at check-in and check-out, but they were handled well.

ROOM FACILITIES As the name suggests, there are 45 rooms – 11 of which are suites – that range from 30 sqm for a standard-category Superior room to 170 sqm for the top-floor Penthouse suite. All have park views, bathroom mirrors with integrated TVs, Bang and Olufsen Beo Vision TVs (these are huge, with giant speakers under the screen), Blu-ray players, safes with internal power points, bespoke amenities by Aromatherapy Associates, and free water and fruit juice. Low-speed wifi is free (fine for accessing emails and surfing the web for news), while wired/wifi internet access is £19.50 per 24 hours.

The blinds, lighting and air conditioning are operated from an LED screen on the phone panel – it was fairly easy to work but did present some problems since it was either not responsive enough or too responsive, so proved difficult to get the lighting right. Also, when pressing the LED screen to check the time, it remained illuminated for at least 20 seconds, which was annoying when trying to go back to sleep. The lights in the bathroom hallway kept flickering once they had been turned off, and the sound from the giant TV was distorted on the BBC channel. That said, the room was very quiet (an achievement on Park Lane), the bed comfortable, and the whole room luxurious without being gaudy.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS Located on the ground floor, just beyond reception, Cut by Wolfgang Puck is a modern American steakhouse that seats 70 guests. The hotel’s central staircase leads to a mezzanine floor featuring a small open library area and Bar 45, offering bar-dining for 30 people. I didn’t eat in either, instead ordering two salads from room service, which came within seven minutes and were delicious.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES Also on the mezzanine floor is a media room available for bookings of ten people, with more Bang and Olufsen equipment, including a 103-inch 3D television, 3D glasses and surround sound. There is also a small gym on this level, or guests may use the Dorchester’s facilities, which include a spa. They may also borrow one of 45 Park Lane’s purple Brompton bicycles.

VERDICT A gorgeous hotel that has all the advantages of a boutique property while benefiting from the history and service culture of the Dorchester. The bar is great and the location perfect. The in-room lighting is overcomplicated – perhaps you have to stay a few days to get used to it.

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in February started from £594 for a Superior room.

CONTACT 45 Park Lane; tel +44 (0)20 7493 4545;

Tom Otley

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