History Timeline

Jan 1929

Before The Dorchester came into existence, the space was occupied by Dorchester House. Wealthy families vied to reside close to the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace

Jan 1929

Sir Malcolm McAlpine and Sir Frances Towle’s vision was to 'create the perfect hotel'. Work began in 1929 and completed by September 1930.

1931

The Dorchester opened its doors to the public on 18th April 1931. The occasion was marked with a private function and weeks of celebratory parties.

1939

The Dorchester became a central meeting place during World War II; it was considered one of the safest places to be in London.

1947

19 November 1947 – Prince Philip held his ‘stag night’ in The Dorchester’s Park Suite. His best man, the Marquess of Milford Haven and several press photographers attended.

1948

15 May 1948 - Princess Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Margaret attend a charity ball in The Ballroom at The Dorchester.

1952

Renowned theatre set designer Oliver Messel was commissioned to design new entertainment suite ‘The Penthouse and Pavilion’ and the ‘Oliver Messel Suite’.

1953

2 June 1953 – Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Day. The Dorchester was specially decorated for the Coronation by Oliver Messel.

1956

17 December 1956 – Louis Armstrong playing trumpet in his suite at The Dorchester as photographed for Picture Post Magazine, UK.

1958

17 June 1958 – Aristotle Onassis threw a lavish party at The Dorchester to celebrate the debut of Maria Callas in Medea at the Royal Opera House.

1962

Elizabeth Taylor accepted her contract to play Cleopatra in the pink marble bathroom of The Dorchester’s Harlequin Suite.

Jan 1964

The Beatles receive awards at ‘The Variety Club at Great Britain’ Annual Show Business Awards in The Ballroom

Jan 1964

Peter Sellers and Britt Ekland with family, pose for press while in London for their wedding. The couple met at The Dorchester.

Jan 1964

Peter Sellers and Britt Ekland with family, pose for press while in London for their wedding. The couple met at The Dorchester

1965

1 January 1965 – British journalist and broadcaster Richard Dimbleby with former American President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who positioned his headquarters at The Dorchester in 1942.

1970

15 April 1970 – Shirley Bassey stages her comeback posing for press on The Penthouse and Pavilion terrace at The Dorchester after two years away.

1974

Al Pacino meets press in a suite at The Dorchester for the press junket for Godfather Part II.

Jan 1975

Anton Mosimann, head chef at The Dorchester for 13 years, shares a glass of champagne with Charlton Heston in The Dorchester’s famous kitchens.

Jan 1975

10 November 1975 – Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton arrive at The Dorchester where she threw Burton’s 50th birthday party, photographed by the Evening Standard.

Jan 1975

10 November 1975 – Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton arrive at The Dorchester where she threw Burton’s 50th birthday party, as photographed for The Evening Standard.

1990

Lord Snowden views progress in The Penthouse during the hotel’s refurbishment. He worked as Oliver Messel’s apprentice in the 50s.

1993

11 November 1993 – The Queen and Princess Diana attend a banquet in the Gold Room at The Dorchester given by his majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.

1997

The Dorchester Plane Tree is named one of the “Great Trees of London”, deemed to be a “memorable sight in London’s Park Lane and a tree to give directions by.”

2000

2 October 2000 – Rolling Stones musician Bill Wyman, model Jerry Hall and ex-husband, singer Mick Jagger at The Dorchester for a party thrown for Hall by friends.

2001

9 December 2001 – Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Andy Garcia at The Dorchester to launch Oceans 11.

2002

14 Feb 2002 – Nicole Kidman in The Gold Room at The Dorchester for the London Film Critics Circle Awards 2002

2004

The Dorchester was chosen as a location for romantic comedy, Wimbledon, starring Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany. 60 hotel staff appeared in the film.

2006

Kate Moss photographed at the launch party of the new Bar at the Dorchester, redesigned by Thierry Despont.

2008

October 2008 - The Dorchester launches its annual Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in association with English National Ballet School.

Jan 2009

Renowned Fashion Illustrator, David Downton draws Cate Blanchett on the balcony of the Harlequin Suite at The Dorchester for the cover of Australian Vogue’s 50th anniv issue.

Jan 2009

May 2009 – Doors open to The Dorchester Spa, awarded Condé Nast Traveller Favourite UK Hotel Spa in the 2010 Reader’s Awards.

Jan 2009

May 2009 – Doors open to The Dorchester Spa, which was awarded Condé Nast Traveller Favourite UK Hotel Spa in the 2010 Reader’s Awards.

Jan 2009

2009 – World-renowned chef Alain Ducasse opens Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, which becomes an immediate success.

Jan 2009

14 October 2009 – George Clooney at The Dorchester for the Fantastic Mr. Fox press conference in the Ballroom.

Jan 2010

26 October 2010 -British fashion and the British Armed forces unite for charity event ‘Fashion for the Brave’ at The Dorchester

Jan 2010

January 2010 – Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester wins its third Michelin star, making The Dorchester the only UK hotel to have a three-starred Michelin restaurant, which is still true today.

Jan 2010

To celebrate it's 80th anniversary, The Dorchester announces plans to plant 80 trees in and around Mayfair and central London.

Jan 2010

19 October 2010 - Fashion Designer Thomas Tait wins the first Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize. Judges Panel included Manolo Blahnik, Yasmin Le Bon, Daphne Guinness and Stephen Jones.

Jan 2011

25 January 2011 – Dame Judi Dench wins The Dorchester Award for Outstanding Achievement at the 2011 South Bank Sky Arts Awards held in The Dorchester Ballroom.

Jan 2011

2011 - The Dorchester celebrates its 80th anniversary throughout 2011. A unique collaboration with international charity Trees for Cities will see the planting of 80 new Future Great Trees in London.

Jan 2011

The Dorchester celebrated its 80th anniversary with a unique collaboration with international charity Trees for Cities (TfC) by planting 80 ‘Future Great Trees’ in London.

Jan 2011

September 2011 – Under the guidance of international interior architectural design studio, Alex Kravetz Designs Ltd, the four-room Ballroom Suite at The Dorchester re-opens following a restoration to its 1930s classic, art-deco interiors, originally designed by Oliver Ford.

2012

September 2012 – With a fresh take on the eclecticism of the English spirit, interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud redesigns 22 new suites.

2013

13 March 2013 – Julie Walters wins The Dorchester Award for Outstanding Achievement at the 2013 South Bank Sky Arts Awards held in The Dorchester Ballroom.