wonderful roast beef
voted ten out of ten in a recent Time Out review of Sunday Roasts to be had in London, the roast rib of Aberdeen Angus beef is the main course in the Grill Room's excellent value (for London - there's 12 % service extra!) Sunday Lunch - £32 for three courses plus coffee and petits fours, in what is one of London's top hotels - and it did not disappoint (see below). A starter of chicken liver and foie gras parfait with green beans and truffle bits, with toasted brioche on the side was good too, as was the lemon tart dessert. You've to dress up a little for the occasion though (it's supposed to have a smart/casual dress code) and the Scottish baronial style decor is quite grand but perhaps a little of an acquired taste. The wine list is very very long but reveals a few finds ensconced among the seriously pricey stuff. Tender slices of really tasty medium rare beef (that's how we asked for it to be served to us), with all the trimmings: gravy, roast potatoes , parsnips, green beans and al dente broccoli, not to forget an impressive Yorkshire pud and dark gravy, and own made horseradish
Cerne Abbas is a lovely little village not so far from Dorchester It has so beautiful monastic buildings and is nice to wander through. Near the village is this huge chalk cut figure on the hillside. He is a fertility figure thought to represent the Roman god hero Hercules or a 2,000 year old iron age warrior.
Gorgeous hotel, gorgeous staff and gorgeous George Clooney..
I stayed here for a long weekend as a surprise from my husband and had I of read the other reviews first I would not have gone.
I dont know where you all stayed but The Dorchester was perfect for me, lovely, helpful staff, amazing food and HUGE bed and bathrooms...even better was bumping into George Clooney in THE LIFT!!!
The Dorchester is wonderful and if you can afford it go right now!!
I am always amazed that people can find something to criticise about the Dorchester. I've been lucky enough to stay there three times and every visit has been exquisite: beautiful rooms, furnished in a classic, English country house style. Incredible, incredible bathrooms. Amazing food. Wonderful service.
If you like sleek, modern rooms, you probably won't like the Dorchester. It's chintzy and frilly, the furnishings are oversized and the upholstery florid. But that's because of its style and the hotel's USP - every visit makes you feel like stepping back in time to around 1910. A spotless 1910, I hasten to add.
I've always had a room overlooking Hyde Park, which is perfect. But not all rooms have that luxury. That's because you're in a central London hotel, surrounded by shops and offices. I guess some rooms might have a less than perfect view. So request a park view if that bothers you.
The rooms aren't massive - unless you have a suite, in which case they're huge -but they certainly aren't mean. And the bathrooms make up for that anyhow.
The staff are absolute professionals who take the time to make sure you have a wonderful stay. Which is what you would expect for such a pricey hotel. But if you're in town for a special occasion, there is no finer place to stay.
Trouble with payments and truly awful service.
We had tea on sunday afternoon at the dorchester. It was embarassingly bad, really, truly, appalling. Basil Faulty could not have done better!
I was especially upset as it had been my idea. I have stayed many times at the dorchester's sister hotels for business, mainly The Principe, in Milan. I have always found it a delight. A respite from mindless business travel with a wonderful friendly staff. It has gorgeous big old fashioned rooms and a truly awesome spa and pool on the top floor. However, even with the fabulous surrondings, it is, to my mind, the staff that make the difference between a good and a great hotel.
The Dorchester obviously does not believe this.
The staff are arrogant, unpleasant and unhelpful. A previous reviewer put it very well when he said, that the staff regard the guests as a bother. I would concur with this completely.
At tea, we were treated as a bunch of annoying idiots. Who were bothering the staff. Imagine, we were so spoilt, we wanted our tea to be served! At nearly £40+ per person for tea, you would have hoped they might make a small effort... Don't count on it. You are upsetting their afternoon by being there. That's how they make you feel.
After a few glasses of champagne, we asked for our tea to be served. We would have liked our sandwiches to be brought to the table at roughly the same time as the tea, not when the tea was cold. That didn't happen. When we asked for hot tea we were told it was on its way. By the third time of trying to get some more tea we had to get up and ask the gentleman/manager at the service stand to bring it.
We ordered water, again it never appeared. I had to get up, physically stand infront of a waiter and ask for it. Guess what? Yup, it never appeared. The trick is to ask for everything three times, and then it arrives. But actually the really clever bit is finding someone to ask three times! Elusive is obviously a word they learn quickly!
When we asked for scones they arrived. We had only asked once! Hurray, it was a blip in the service. It was all going to be fine. Well....no. The scones arrived warm and wrapped in a lovely white linen napkin. Sadly by the time the butter, cream and jam arrived, the scones were cold.
The finaly insult was when we tried to pay. The bill arrived very very promptly. I duly handed over my switch card to pay. The man came back and informed everyone at the table, that my card was not acceptable - they don't take solo cards. I pointed out it was a switch card. He went away. He then came back in a loud voice informed us all that it had not been authorised. (I got home and checked my balance online, I had not been wippped out overnight!) So very unlikely, but I'm too old and have stayed in too many hotels, to be bothered by this stuff. Technology cannot always be relied on.
So I handed over my Visa card. He swiped it, returned the slip for signing. Then he returned, again, he said my card had not been authorised. Deja Vu! Even though the slip I had in my hand had an authorisation code on it, he said it was not authorised.
I just wanted to leave at this point. He became a bit belligerent and annoying and just keep repeating loudly that my card had not been authorised. I asked for my signed slip back, and gave him cash. They would not give me a cash receipt, I even asked him to sign a piece of paper saying he had said received £50 in cash. He would not.
Guess what? Yup. I had paid twice, I paid cash, and my visa card has indeed been charged. At the time of writing, I cannot be 100% sure they have not charged my switch card as well, as my bank inform me it can take up to 3/4 days for debits to go through.
I have spend a whole morning sorting out a payment for a small amount of money. I have eventually contacted the hotel, G.M., (general manager) and he assures me they are sorting it out. He has, in their defence, been charming, and as good as his word. He has phoned me back, and assures me not only that my card has been credited, but they are crediting me with the cash I paid. So I may, have ended up not paying at all.
However, I still feel, it should not have happened in the first place. And when I called yesterday to sort it out, the Food and Beverage Manager should have taken care of it. They didn't. Hence I bounced it up the GM. (Go to the top if there's a problem!)
My advice. Go somewhere else. Claridge's is fabulous for tea. The staff are friendly, courteous and charming. Sadly The Dorchester, even with a charming GM, does not deserve our hard earned cash.
Its the best in London.
The afternoon tea is better than the Ritz, even though you have to squat on low chairs. All round its better.
The Spa is first rate. Good barbers and excellent hairdressers.
The security is ham-fisted. They are pretty obvious if your aware and if they can't make you out, they 'talk' to you out of the blue. Kinda strange at first, but after they recognise you (if you visit more than once) your OKed.
Taking about the Doorman, he actually made a quip about where I was going when he pulled the cab over, as if to say "Now we know where you go".
What do expect with the bombings and superstar guests, the security have got to be on their toes.
Shame about the decor
I have been going to The Grill Room for some time.I enjoyed the tranquil surroundings and the 3 course meal for £38 including service.Very good value for money.when i went in October i was disturbed to find that it was closed for refurbishment.I went back recently.What have they done to the place!The walls are now covered by garish Rob Roy figures,supposedly to highlight the new Scottish influenced menu.Alas this means that the old fixed price menu has gone out and in comes a menu which is almost twice as expensive.There is no longer a desert trolley but you are handed a menu with about 6 desserts from £8.Petite fours and coffee are no longer included and they of course add 12 1/2% service charge on the bill.The food itself is less interesting and i have to say vastly overpriced.So i will not be going back there.So if you think that you are going to get anything special at The Grill Room ,well it will only be the bill.Alas this is no longer a venue i shall visit.
Toll house, Dorchester-on-Thames
Southern English Gardens in September
I'm visiting England the first week in September, and I plan to visit Hidcote Manor, Blenheim Palace, and Stourhead Gardens. I'm wondering whether late summer flowers are still in bloom in this area at that time of the year? I'm a little afraid that I'll be too late for summer flowers, but too late for fall colour.
As an aside, has anyone visited Abbotsbury in Dorset, or has anyone taken walks in the countryside surrounding Stourhead?
RE: Southern English Gardens in September
Oops! Typo correction--I meant too "early" for fall colour. :)
RE: RE: Southern English Gardens in September
It will be too early for autumn colour (hopefully). Leaves do not usually strat to turn until the end of Sept/beginning of Oct. There will still be plenty to see though; large gardens such as Hidcote etc are specifically designed to have 'waves' of plant events throughout the growing season, and plenty of flowers bloom into September.
Haven't been to Abbotsbury, but Dorset is a very pretty county with lots of 'typically English' countryside (thatched cottages etc). Try to fit in a visit to Maiden Castle just outside Dorchester; absolutely stunning huuuuge hill-fort, free to wander round, wonderful views from the top and a very exhilarating walk........
RE: Southern English Gardens in September
I know Abbotsbury. It's lovely - main attraction is the garden and also the Swannery - the only one in England I think. Also it's very close to Chesil Beach which is fantastic. And Lyme Regis - they should have finished the sea defences by now (it was a bit of a mess last year)
Re: Southern English Gardens in September
There is quite a difference between the flowering times in England.... the Southern parts of England bloom earlier and remain longer (most flowers). The area where you will be visiting should still have lots of flowers in bloom in September.