London, October 2011 – The Ballroom Suite at The Dorchester reopened last week following a restoration to recapture the opulence of Oliver Ford’s original 1930s design, internationally recognised for its impeccably elegant and understated style. Always the location of numerous sparkling events attended by royalty and the international glitterati, such as the launch of Elizabeth Taylor’s ‘White Diamonds’ perfume in 1991, the newly restored rooms have already seen strong demand in 2012.
The restoration of one of London’s most elegant destination ballrooms – which included the Park Lane entrance, Crush Hall, Silver Room and The Gold Room – was overseen by international interior architectural design studio, Alex Kravetz Designs Ltd. The company was briefed to restore the rooms to their former glory in keeping with the existing palette of cream, white, blue and gold, whilst at the same time adding a lighter more contemporary touch to appeal to modern tastes. Underpinning the surface design, additional technology and lighting was added to ensure even greater value for clients.
On arrival at The Ballroom’s main entrance the improvements make an immediate impact with a widened more welcoming staircase, and the replacement of carpet with luxurious marble by Italian company, Santucci, extending through to the Crush Hall. Gilding has also been refreshed with warm, contemporary shades of white-gold leaf and ceiling lights have been replaced with Viennese ‘Lights of Vienna’ chandeliers to compliment the restored wall lights.
Moving through to the Crush Hall, pineapple motives (considered the symbol of hospitality) have been retained within the interiors which feature antique mirror panelling complimented by hand-painted friezes. The Silver Room and The Gold Room, previously separate spaces, have been joined into one room to provide a more fluid pre-function space.
In The Ballroom three large crystal chandeliers have been returned to the room’s iconic ceiling domes inspired by the 1930s originals, enhancing the play of light across the ballroom’s antique mirror wall panelling. The original 16 four-meter high pillars made from a blue semi-precious stone (sodalite) provide the room its overall hue, enhanced by a new hand-made champagne toned carpet and custom made Venetian drapery. An integrated audio system has been installed and lighting can now be controlled remotely to enable dedicated spotlights for each table in any configuration.
From a celebratory dinner for 500 people to cocktails for 1,000, the Ballroom Suite’s versatility is one of its attractions. In the past year, Executive Chef Henry Brosi also extended a three-course à la carte menu offering in The Ballroom, a service rarely included in such large functions due to the high skill involved in grand scale production. The Ballroom is now the only venue in London to offer a la carte dining for up to 500 guests.
Director of Group and Event Sales, James Partridge, who oversees a total of 16 event rooms across Dorchester Collection’s three UK hotels, commented “In current times, clients look for outstanding venues with excellent service and stunning design. We are delighted to offer back to London a space which exudes the glamour of the hotel’s founding era and is yet understated enough to offer guests a blank canvas for any type of event.”
The restoration of the Ballroom Suite comes during celebrations of The Dorchester’s 80th anniversary this year and follows shortly after the announcement of its UK Group and Events restructure to offer an even more seamless event enquiry and booking process. The restoration is also part of the hotel’s commitment to continuous renewal. In the past five years several of The Dorchester’s 10 event spaces including The Crystal Suite, The Krug Room and The Park Suite have been renovated, and the coming months will also see the renovation of 23 suites under the design direction of Alexandra Champalimaud, who designed the three Rooftop Suites in 2007.