Up Close on Dorsett's London Expansion

(Photo by Dorsett Hospitality International)

Dorsett Hospitality International (DHI) is one of Asia’s fastest-growing international hotel groups. The Hong Kong-based company began in 2007 and have quickly amassed a portfolio of 56 hotels across 27 cities with the three core brands: Dorsett Hotels & Resorts, d.Collection, and Silka.  Dorsett came to London in 2014 with the launch of the 317-room Dorsett Shepherds Bush and launched its second London hotel, the 276-room Dorsett City, in May 2017. Both hotels are chic, four-star properties with subtle Asian aesthetics, lauded Chinese eateries Shikumen, and the buzzy Jin Bo bars, somehow managing to cater to a mix of Millennial execs and families on holiday.  With the city as a continued focus for Dorsett expansion, London correspondent Emily Goldfischer sat down with Mark Heyburn, director of operations - global brand marketing for Dorsett Hospitality International, to learn more. 

Where is Dorsett expanding?

London is a key market and we have three new properties in the works in all areas of the city. First up, in west London, next door to the Dorsett Shepherds Bush, we are building 74 serviced apartments, a mix of studios and one-bedroom units with kitchen facilities, a shared working space and gym. Located next to the massive Westfield shopping center and easy access to London’s transport, it is a convenient base for exploring London.  Like the Dorsett Shepherds Bush, we think it will be a big hit with families and executives wanting apartment-style living for longer stays. The property is slated to open in 2020.  

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In north London, we are building the 68-unit Dorsett Hornsey Town Hall, part of a vibrant new mixed-use development set to open in 2021. The Grade II* listed Hornsey Town Hall, originally designed by Reginald Uren, was London’s first Modernist building when it opened in 1935. It was a thriving cultural center, and, fun fact, where (rock band) Queen held their first concert. The council ran out of money in the 1980's and the building sat dormant for some 20 years. Now it’s all being completely restored and redone to include a new arts centre and our 67-unit, apartment-style hotel in the landmarked Town Hall, together with an improved public square and new residences. The hotel’s decor will be a combination of old and new; some rooms will include original ironmongery and wood panelling, paired with complementary modern lighting and terrazzo-inspired worktops. The historic building will also have a theatre, recording studios, co-working spaces, two restaurants, two cafes, and a rooftop bar.  Located in Crouch End, a trendy residential area, with good transport links to central London via bus to Finsbury Park tube station, it is also just east of Hampstead Heath, one of London’s most stunning parks. 

In east London, in Canary Wharf, we are building the 231-room Dorsett Alpha Square, part of another new mixed-use development, this one with a much more modern feel, comprising three tall towers around an open piazza, set for completion in 2023. Our hotel will be in a 20-story tower with a piazza-side cafe, restaurant, gym and conference facility at the lower levels and a rooftop sky bar. Within 10 minutes walk to the Canary Wharf tube, Dorsett Alpha Square will cater more to business professionals, though we expect strong leisure on the weekend as the hotel is not far from attractions on the south side of the Thames--the O2, Greenwich and Tate Modern

Who are the target customers for Dorsett Hotels?  

Our hotels have an energetic vibe; guests really love our cultural driven partnerships, our Dorsett Discoveries, where concierges dole out advice on everything from the best cup of coffee to local indie music spots, and our Dorsett “Your Rewards Program,” where guests can accumulate points to redeem against everything from room rates to perks such as breakfast, welcome drinks, and room upgrades.  In London, and our Asia properties, Dorsett properties are family friendly. We offer family rooms with connectors and kids' play areas, and in Hong Kong, Dorsett Wanchai and Dorsett Tseun Wan, which just completed a major renovation, now have family rooms with three beds. In London, we have an exclusive partnership with Kidzania, an indoor mini-city where children learn about working in various jobs through role play.

Of the hotels in Asia, which are most interesting to American travellers? 

Malaysia and Singapore, both destinations are strong with American travelers. Dorsett Singapore is in a top location, right above the Outram Park MRT station in historic Chinatown, yet the 285-room property is in a modern glass building, so it has become something of a contrasting landmark. Nearby are fashionable bars, cafés, restaurants, and all the Instagram-worthy spots along Keong Saik Street. Malaysia is becoming more popular with American tourists, who use our two hotels in Kuala Lumpur as a jumping off point for exploring the country.  

Dorsett Hotels offer travel agent commissions; for more information contact Mark by email [email protected]

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