Dorset Square Hotel

Longtime Kemp-watchers — there must be more than a few of you out there — might remember that the Dorset Square Hotel was Tim and Kit’s first venture, a sort of rough draft for their extremely successful Firmdale Hotels brand. It was eventually sold off, but not forgotten — now a decade and a half later it’s back in the Firmdale fold, and there’s nothing at all rough about it. Kit Kemp’s design sense is the Firmdale hotels’ most remarked-upon aspect, and it’s true that Dorset Square, visually speaking, is as stunning as you’d expect. But the partnership’s skills extend beyond the aesthetic dimension. You can count on the locations to be vibrant yet slightly unexpected, and this one, steps from Baker Street tube station in Marylebone, is no exception. Nor has the Kemps’ gift for creating convivial spaces deserted them — for as private as the rooms may be, looking out over the Dorset Square gardens, the Potting Shed, the hotel’s bar and restaurant, is generally buzzing with a lively mix of hotel guests and in-the-know Londoners. It’s a familiar picture, and the experience, it must be said, shares quite a lot with its siblings, from Covent Garden to Crosby Street. This is not a criticism; hospitality is largely about comfort, and to know in advance that the décor will be bold yet soothing, the physical luxuries first-rate, and the social spaces at once clu