The Harlequin Penthouse Suite vanity table with make up on display and bedroom in background
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Elizabeth Taylor’s love of The Dorchester

April 04, 2022

The Dorchester featured in many special moments in Elizabeth Taylor’s extraordinary life. As one of the most influential women of the 20th century, it’s an honour to share this wonderful history with you.

How it all began

Elizabeth Taylor first stayed with us on a family visit when she was 17. Her parents were regular guests and Elizabeth soon established her own love of The Dorchester. Throughout her life as a world-famous actress, activist and philanthropist, our beloved hotel continued to play a starring role.

Timeless allure

In 1955, Elizabeth Taylor commissioned Cecil Beaton to take some family photos. After posing with her husband Michael Wilding and their two young children, she had her own private photoshoot in her favourite suite, which is now officially known as our Elizabeth Taylor Harlequin Suite. These portraits show her at her most glamorous and one of images can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery.

Elizabeth Taylor portrait shot
Photo courtesy of Cecil Beaton
Bathroom inside the Harlequin Suite at The Dorchester

Bathe like a star

In this same suite, a pink marble bathroom gleams with old-school Hollywood glamour. This standout piece was personally requested by Elizabeth Taylor. It’s believed that in 1959 she received a phone call from the bath saying she’d won a record-breaking deal to star in the Hollywood epic, Cleopatra.

Birthday celebrations

Elizabeth Taylor celebrated many of her birthdays and important family occasions at The Dorchester. This photo from 1963 shows her leaving the hotel for her 31st birthday party at Pinewood Studios, where her and her husband Richard Burton were filming The V.I.P.’s, whilst staying at The Dorchester.

Elizabeth Taylor leaving the hotel for her 31st birthday party
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton attending Richard's 50th birthday celebrated in the Orchid Room

Richard Burton’s turns 50

In 1975, following their second honeymoon, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton travelled to London from Botswana to celebrate Richard’s 50th birthday. His party was a lively occasion, hosted in our elegant Orchid Room. The couple can be seen here en route to the event, with Elizabeth wearing the Bulgari sapphire and diamond necklace he bought her for her 40th birthday, which she also celebrated at The Dorchester.

There’s nothing like a dame

HM Queen Elizabeth II made Elizabeth Taylor a Dame Commander in 2000, in recognition of her work raising awareness for HIV and Aids. This memorable photo captures her on the hotel forecourt, about to set off for Buckingham Palace. After the ceremony, Dame Elizabeth Taylor returned to The Dorchester for a celebratory lunch at The Grill, followed by entertainment on the balcony of The Penthouse & Pavilion.

Elizabeth Taylor on the hotel forecourt before receiving Damehood
The living room inside the Harlequin Suite at The Dorchester

All in the name

Glowing with glamour and celebrity intrigue, our Elizabeth Taylor Harlequin Suite reflects her love of this unique rooftop suite. Design details include a portrait of her starring as Cleopatra, and books showcasing some of her favourite jewellery. Having led such an exceptional life, Elizabeth Taylor still has the power to capture our imagination. We trust that her favourite suite will continue to enchant our guests in the same way it did the star herself.

We have so many stories to tell at The Dorchester. Join us for a history tour to learn more about the secrets of the hotel.

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