The Dorchester London is once again in the spotlight as the hotel debuted its new Vesper Bar, formerly The Bar at Dorchester, on January 23.
London-bound travellers can now enjoy cocktail hour at one of the city’s most legendary addresses, offering an innovative menu of classic and modern libations created by Lucia Montanelli, the award-winning head bartender at The Dorchester. And James Bond fans will appreciate that the bar pays homage to Sir Ian Fleming and his most famous fictional character, whose go-to drink was the Vesper Martini.
All about the new Vesper Bar in London
But 007 — and the actors who have portrayed him — are far from the only celebrities who frequented the Mayfair landmark. Elizabeth Taylor, who stayed here more than 35 times, is honoured with the Bessie May cocktail, a coconut rum and Sri Lankan arak-based drink topped with “bath bubbles.” However, the menu isn’t just about the past. Gilded Three, a pineapple-infused rum, mezcal, and honey cocktail, references contemporary artist Sophie Coryndon, whose gilded honeycomb-inspired artwork hangs in the hotel‘s lobby. Another highlight is the Busterkeys in reference to Liberace, whose piano now sits at The Dorchester’s Artists’ Bar.
And speaking of the décor, design enthusiasts have a lot to be excited about, too, as the Vesper Bar marks another successful project in the British capital by Swedish interior designer Martin Brudnizki (who is also behind the interiors of another London landmark, Annabel’s). Brudnizki drew inspiration from the glamorous 1930s when the Dorchester was established. The bar’s gold-hued ceiling shimmers above plush seating in deep chlorophyll green, exquisite light fixtures, and wooden tables. The walls are lined with British photographer and illustrator Sir Cecil Beaton’s celebrity portraits and drawings that defined the 20th century. The bar also has a dedicated entrance on Park Lane and a balcony overlooking Hyde Park.
“The hotel was built in 1930, and at that time, you had the bright young things [the nickname the British press gave to a group of young socialites in the 1920s] and a very creative group of people like Cecil Beaton and [theatre set designer] Oliver Messel,” Brudnizki told Travel + Leisure. “And when the hotel opened, they created a book called ‘A Young Man Comes to London.’ It’s the story of a man who arrives in London, and it was made for the opening of the hotel, that they gave to all the guests,” Brudnizki explained that the tome served as an inspiration for the décor. Brudnizki also considered the groundbreaking work of interior designer Syrie Maugham, known as the “The Princess of Pale,” who worked during that era and whose radical style included painting rooms all white.
“So we took that inspiration and created a space that could have been from the 1930s, where all the colouring like the blue and the green adds quite a modern strong colour,” he explained. And those dramatic Palladium leaf ceilings?
“Well, you want this to be the most glamorous bar in London. And it will be,” he said.
The Vesper Bar is part of The Dorchester’s most extensive renovation in over 30 years. In December last year, the hotel unveiled the new look of its lobby-level Promenade and the Artists’ Bar.
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com
Main and Feature Image Credit: Courtesy of The Dorchester Collection