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The Dorchester versus Claridge’s: who wins?

by Rajul on June 26, 2009

Executive deluxe room at the Dorchester

Executive deluxe room at The Dorchester

Assume you’re in the market for the ultimate London hotel experience.  You’ve narrowed it down to these two titans of ultra-deluxe hospitality.

Will you opt for the discreet elegance of the Dorchester or the glamorous “buzz” of Claridge’s?

It’s a nice problem to have!

As I’ve personally met management at both hotels and have no vested interest, I hope this article helps you make your mind up.

The fact is: both hotels will probably give you a superb experience.  Quite frankly, they have to given the room rates they charge!

Indeed, if you have any complaint at all, either hotel is absolutely duty-bound to address it during your stay.

Location-wise there’s not much between the hotels, though perhaps Claridge’s just edges it being a bit closer to the West End’s shopping and nightlife centres by foot.  But there’s not much in it.


Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's is highly-regarded and typifies the hotel's glamour and glitz

Despite similar room rates, each has its own individual character.  Here are some positive reasons as to why you may opt for one over another:

Reasons to choose the Dorchester:

  • Discreet and refined atmosphere.
  • Nicely-furnished rooms and suites often in traditional English “country-house” style, many with views over Hyde Park.  Thick curtains, heavy carpets and big chairs.  Luxurious marble bathrooms.
  • Underwent a complete refit in 2003.
  • The Dorchester’s spa (possibly the best in London) is famous for massages and other treatments.  Perfect for a pampering escape!
  • Good at handling anniversaries and special occasions.
  • Nice location if you want a morning jog in Hyde Park across the road, returning for a sumptuous breakfast.
  • Decent venue for celebrity-spotting – almost all seem to stay there!
  • Several very nice “roof suites” – just like the advertised premium beer, these are “reassuringly expensive”!
  • Indulgence with a capital “I”.

Check the best rate for The Dorchester from 30+ hotel booking sites

The "Spatisserie" at The Dorchester provides lovely treats, teas, biscuits, cakes and light lunches: all in moderation of course!

The "Spatisserie" at The Dorchester provides lovely treats, teas, biscuits, cakes and light lunches: all in moderation of course!

Reasons to choose Claridge’s:

  • Conscious eye for detail and desire to please the guest.  They remember details (and have excellent processes behind this).
  • High repeat visit rate gives proof that their formula works.
  • Bustling bars and restaurants, arguably even better than the Dorchester (e.g. Gordon Ramsay restaurant gets rave reviews).
  • The lobby area with its winding staircase and chandelier is stunning.
  • Staff thrive on the challenge of meeting high expectations.  Amazingly, they remember guests by name.
  • Choose between different room styles, many in keeping with the distinctive 1920s Art Deco style that is the hotel’s hallmark.
  • Imaginative themed events e.g. Chef Master Classes and Wine Dinners.
  • Stunning Brook Penthouse – one of London’s most expensive rooms.
  • Great afternoon tea.  There are 30 teas to choose from, though be prepared to pay top dollar!
  • Has a historic reputation for entertaining royalty from all over the world.
  • “Luxury” with a capital L.

Check the best rate for Claridge’s from 30+ hotel booking sites

So you pay your money (rather a lot of it in fact!) and you take your pick.

Speaking of money, our ultimate advice in choosing between the two is to keep an eye on special offers.

For example, Claridge’s currently has some specials which you need to call them direct for on +44 (0)20 7107 8842.

1920s-style comfort at Claridge's

1920s-style comfort at Claridge's

Finally, there are two other ultra-deluxe options in London you should consider: The Lanesborough (you’ll even get your own personal butler!) and the newly-refurbished Langham Hotel already featured on this blog.

If you’ve been lucky enough to stay at either The Dorchester or Claridge’s please let us know what you thought of your stay.

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Photo credits: The Dorchester (Dorchester Collection), Claridge’s (Maybourne Hotel Group).

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