London’s Dorchester hotel is set to hold the first auction of its treasures in its 91-year history, ahead of a grand reopening later this year.
The five-star Mayfair hotel, known for its classic old-world interiors, is currently undergoing its biggest renovation since 1989 including a new entrance by Pierre-Yves Rochon and new bar by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio.
The revamp, to be unveiled in September, also covers two floors of the hotel’s 250 guest rooms and suites, as well as the Promenade lounge designed by architect and designer Thierry Despont.
As the Dorchester prepares for its next chapter, it is putting 2,000 items up for auction. The lot includes many items from the distinctive Promenade lounge, such as its pink silk curtains (starting bid of £500 each) and round banquette seating upholstered by Pierre Frey (£700).
The auction will be happy hunting ground for furniture fans with lots including a gold Louis Phillipe-style love sofa (starting bid of £800) and a pair of 19th century French Louis XVI style giltwood armchairs (£400).
The entire bar is going too, with its round tables and neoclassicical-style mahogany bar stools, upholstered in olive green and starting at £80. Luxury Italian lighting and chandeliers from Laudarte and Barovier & Toso will be auctioned, and there will be fine furniture by Restall Brown.
Hoteliers looking for a bargain can bulk-buy room safes (£30) and even the Dorchester’s mattresses, which start at £400.
Simon Rose of Pro Auctions, the hospitality auctioneers leading the sale, said it contained many exciting items and some beautiful reproduction furniture designed in Georgian style. “These pieces will sell for a fraction of the originals but nothing is lost in the quality or style.”
“Of course, there are offerings for the more practical buyer: cushy ottomans upholstered in velvet and trimmed with fringe, marble-topped coffee tables, and a gilded furniture once housed in the famous promenade. Fans of European history will delight in seeing items from the Eisenhower Suite up for grabs—though they are likely replicas and not originals from the generals home.”
Since it was opened by Sir Robert McAlpine in 1931, the Dorchester has attracted celebrity and royal guests. The Harlequin suite, which overlooks Hyde Park, was Elizabeth Taylor’s “home from home” in the 1960s and its pink marble bathroom was custom built at the request of the Hollywood star.
Prince Philip hosted his bachelor party on the eve of his wedding to Queen Elizabeth II in the hotel’s Park Suite while more recent guests have included Kate Moss, the Kardashians, Mariah Carey and Tom Cruise.
Over the years the hotel has enlisted the world’s top interior designers to update its look for the era and it remains open while its latest facelift takes place. Rose added: “Every luxury piece for sale at The Dorchester Hotel auction has its own unique story. It’s what makes them so special.”
Pro Auction will be leading the sale, set to take place on 21 and 22 June. Bidding will take place in person and via a live webcast, starting at 10:30am each day.