John and I, aka the Madcap Cottage design duo, are huge fans of London, and we pop across the pond whenever possible. In fact, we recently realized that we probably know London better than New York City where we have lived for the past twenty-odd years.
Usually, John and I rent an apartment in London as we love to live like locals and hit the grocery store and market and make coffee. Sometimes, though, we splurge on a hotel, and no one does it better in Londontown than Firmdale Hotels. Of course, we are enamored of Firmdale properties such as the Covent Garden and Haymarket, but our new favorite of late is the Dorset Square Hotel. The Dorset Square is a jewel box of a property with only 38 rooms that is situated a bit off the beaten near Regent’s Park and Lisson Grove. John and I love the Dorset’s tucked-away location, the vest pocket-sized rooms that are packed with pizzazz (wallpaper and delicious design details will make any small room look that much larger), the cozy Drawing Room for guests only, and the attentive and warm staff. The hotel’s basement-level Potting Shed Bar & Restaurant is a charmer, too. And we are simply over the moon for the cricket theme (the sport, not the insect) that carries throughout the hostelry: Think framed cricket bats, cricket balls employed as door pulls, and vintage photographs throughout of famed cricket players of yore.
The exterior of the Dorset Square Hotel in London. On our last trip to London, we stayed in the room just above the front door, and the space was a delightful riot of color and pattern with terrific wallpaper and detail-driven upholstery. We also loved the massive window that looked onto the clipped-just-so boxwood in the lead planter on the narrow balcony.
The Potting Shed Bar & Restaurant sits in the basement and is partially built under the sidewalk, but co-owner-designer Kit Kemp imbued what could be a dark and dank space with gobs of light (a glass roof), soothing tones, and heaps of flowers. The tiny restaurant packs in a lot of look.
The Dorset Square has a charming bijoux bar with beautifully upholstered bar stools that call to mind an Eton-styled school jacket. I love the pairing of yellow-and-green leather.
The Drawing Room at the Dorset Square Hotel is a study in eclecticism. Fowler Pink walls mix with an African-styled pendant light and organic stone and wood coffee tables. Note the cricket bat-like sculpture that sits upon the mantel. And how about that bespoke upholstery and striped rug. The mix is exhilarating. Vertiginous glamour.
A guest bedroom mixes patterns to dramatic effect. The pattern play makes the hotel’s small rooms seem much larger and airier than they really are. The towering window treatments carry the eye up and open up the scale of the room.
Menswear-inspired fabrics add a clubby feel to a library –like space in the hotel. The wood coffee table with its modern lines helps soften the grey flannel and houndstooth, as do the multicolored books that pack the shelves.