"Dorchester Hotel" by Owen Williams
By kkeps @ 2010-09-09 19:02:29
The Dorchester is a luxury hotel on Park Lane in Mayfair, London, overlooking Hyde Park.
The Dorchester hotel opened on 18 April 1931. It was created by Sir Malcolm McAlpine and Sir Frances Towle. In 1929, they bought the old Dorchester House, a large 19th-century building, and quickly had it demolished. Sir Owen Williams was commissioned to design the new hotel. In the new edifice, the use of reinforced concrete allowed the creation of large internal spaces without support pillars. The construction, which was carried out by Sir Robert McAlpine, was completed in 1931.
During the Second World War, its modern construction gave the hotel a reputation of being a very safe building. Cabinet Ministers such as Lord Halifax and Duff Cooper stayed there during this time. General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived in 1942 after staying at Claridge's and stayed on the first floor (now the Eisenhower Suite). Winston Churchill had a wall built to add privacy to his balcony and it still exists today. Diners at the Dorchester from cultural circles during this period included Cyril Connolly, T. S. Eliot, Harold Nicolson and Edith Sitwell.