Intimate glamour at 45 Park Lane, London
Dorchester Collection’s ninth hotel, 45 Park Lane opened just opposite the Dorchester in 2011. The original building was by Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius. The revamped façade is now covered in bold horizontal ‘fins’ in powder coated aluminium, emphasising the art deco curve of the building and a wall panel hangs vertically across seven floors. The design for the intimate-sized hotel was modelled on a private residence by New York designer Thierry Despont, working closely with the British firm of executive architects Paul Davis + Partners. They utterly succeeded in creating a feeling of cossetted intimacy with complete discretion and privacy.
Art exhibits at 45 Park Lane
Checking-in one cold January evening, we were greeted by the buzz of a bustling fashionable crowd of art lovers. Drink in hand, clad in trendy-chic attire, they had gathered in the Hotel lobby for an art opening, one of the many events scheduled during the Season. Presented in association with Ackerman Studios, ‘Emerging artists: An Edit’ is a selection of the most talented artists in the U.K. The show celebrates new talent and new beginnings with all artworks exhibited available for sale.
A beacon of contemporary culture, 45 Park Lane is an invigorating blend of art and landmark architecture in the middle of classical London. Thierry Despont, responsible for the interior design is an architect, curator, intellect, artist and designer. Taking inspiration from his own idiosyncratic world of art, curiosity cabinets, astronomy, history, technology, and design, he has created a deeply personal living environment that provides the canvas for a collection of art by current British artists.
Both the London location and the intimate size of the hotel defines the overall character, while interiors are decorated in a contemporary style with Art Deco influences such as rich dark natural materials, contrasting with light colours and sensual textures.
A striking central staircase leads to a mezzanine featuring BAR 45, a resident’s Library and the restaurant’s private dining room, the Media Room.
The dynamic atmosphere of BAR 45 attracts people in the know as the perfect venue for cocktail sipping and people watching.
Swiftly swept to our suite, the panoramic views of dusk setting on the Park left us speechless. Every glance reminds you of the prestigious location, providing a moment of calm. The handsome rooms are polished with modern luxury. Clean lines and bold design give shape to buttery soft fabrics, sensual curves reflect in glinting mirrored corners.
Set on the living-room coffee table, an assortment of fruits, nuts and treats including the most irresistible homemade ‘guimauve’ tempted our taste buds. Our attentive butler was back within minutes, bringing a chilled bottle of Welcome Champagne wine, and the mood was set for a sumptuous evening!
The ‘Big Bunny’
The beautiful building has lived various lives, including one particularly glamorous adventure as the Play Boy Club. Nicknamed ‘the hutch on the park’ this was a fashionable hangout for Swinging London’s rich and famous during the 1960s.
In 1965, following legalisation of gambling in the United Kingdom, Hugh Hefner opened the first Playboy’s British casino in London. In 1981, the casino at 45 Park Lane was the most profitable in the world.
Hefner was a notorious user of private aviation. His Playboy Club’s Douglas DC-9 jet airliner executive aircraft was based at Chicago O’Hare International airport. Dubbed ‘The Big Bunny’, it was used for transporting guests and staff. Hefner bought the jet new from the Douglas factory in 1969 and had it customized into a flying party bus. The DC-9 32 was a state-of-the-art plane at the time, the stretched version of the DC-9 that had marked the company’s debut into twin-engine jets and competed directly with the Boeing 737. Painted in a black livery the airplane featured a theatre, a living room, dining room, bathrooms with showers and even a ‘disco area’. The flight attendants, referred to as ‘Jet Bunnies’, were actual ‘Bunnies’ from the Playboy Clubs in Chicago and Los Angeles, and trained by Continental Airlines. Hefner called this airplane “a great toy, and a great gift to give,” having lent it to Elvis Presley and Yul Brynner. The jet was retired later in the 1970s.
CUT at 45 Park Lane
Positioned at the very heart of the hotel, CUT at 45 Park Lane is a lively delight. Executive Chef David McIntyre’s menu features the widest and finest selection of Wagyu or South Devon Angus beef available in London. Also on the menu are the famous pan-roasted lobster or the risotto of Angel Hair Pasta with French black truffles alongside an assortment of seasonal salads.
Wolfgang Puck created his first flagship restaurant Spago in 1982 after having established a reputation at Ma Maison, in West Hollywood in the late 70’s. His creations now span the world. He opened CUT, his first restaurant in Europe in London in September 2011.
We had Dorset Crab & Lobster ‘Louis’, in spicy tomato-horseradish for starters, a tasting of New York sirloin consisting of USDA Prime Black Angus, South Devon Angus and Australian Wagyu/Black Angus, cooked to perfection for a main course, with a bottle of 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape.
A full moon rose above Hyde Park, as on cue for the perfect evening!