Shepherd’s Bush may not spring to mind as a number one destination for a family-friendly hotel but, thanks to the newest opening on the block, The Dorsett Hotel, what was once a hugely characterful but slightly shabby corner of West London is now a place to book in, kick back and enjoy a luxurious stay with children. There is no doubt the entire area has been experiencing a wave of gentrification and this latest opening, perched as it is right on the green next to the old Walkabout bar, secures Shepherd’s Bush on the map with its perfect proximity for great shopping destinations, parks and airports.
The sparkling lights and warm, contemporary reception area of The Dorsett make for a welcoming respite from the outdoors. For me, there was something inherently odd about checking in to a hotel in central London as although I now live in the South West of England, Shepherd's Bush is only moments from where I grew up. We all soon settled in, however, to a delicious supper in the hotels’ restaurant and realised, we could have been anywhere in the world.
After a gigantic dinner we flopped into bed in our room, (adult) bellies full of red wine and (everyone's) a hearty winter supper. The views across the green and into Central London are superb and the deluxe rooms, though not enormous, are warm and creamy in colour: the windows are draped with a silky luminescent fabric that warms the room throughout and the interiors are contemporary but inviting. The hotel kindly put a foldaway bed at the base of our bed so that Lola (our three and a half year old) could have her own space. We had a deluxe room which, like all of them, had touches of Chinese design smattered about. However, should my husband and I have wanted some privacy, it wasn’t going to happen with Lola at the base of the bed. If you check in for an extended Central London stay and you can afford it, book a suite so there is room and space for everyone.
What to do
Being so well located to the gorgeous parks of London, you’ll have your pick of visiting peacocks in Holland Park, exploring the enormity of Hyde Park and browsing into Green Park without travelling far from your hotel. The endless London galleries, eclectic Portobello Road, and the Science Museum and Natural History Museum are all within easy reach. And from July 2015, there will also be a Kidzania on the doorstep, opening in the shopping Mecca that is Westfield London only a stone’s throw away. KidZania London will be an educational entertainment experience, offering kids the opportunity to learn over 60 unique and exciting professions within a 75,000 square foot, life-like city. For example, on arrival children will enter a British Airways branded airport terminal. As they progress through boarding, all will be met with the body of a real A319 aircraft in which the Aviation Academy and Cabin Crew Training School are housed. From there they can study fashion in the H&M sponsored design studio, make their own juices at the Innocent smoothie factory, learn to change tires in the pit lane sponsored by Renault and, of course, learn about housekeeping skills and front of house management, thanks to the partnership between Kidzania and Dorsett Hotels. It’s all about learning while playing, and it promises to be a huge hit.
For parents the spa on the top floor of the hotel isn’t to be missed. A beautifully designed and very serene space, one feels instantly more relaxed for just stepping through the doors of this gorgeous spa where massages, beauty treatments and facials can be enjoyed high above the chaos of central London below.
Where to eat
Pictures is the hotel’s in-house restaurant, and it serves up a menu to compliment the nods towards Asia that dot the hotel’s interior. The head chef, when we were there at least, was Malay so there were lovely options such as chicken satay, which delight both parents and kids alike. Steaks, salads and fish dishes abound for adults, while there is a specific children’s menu offered to smaller guests who are staying the night. The Atrium Bar, a funky and inviting space adjacent to the hotel’s reception area, has innovative menus that change frequently and the hotel offers a classic afternoon tea each day, which never fails. And while Shepherd’s Bush may not have a reputation as a culinary hotspot, the local environ of the Westfield shopping centre has an impressive array of restaurants that will, no doubt, cater to every taste and age.
When to go
Any time of year is fabulous in London and, with so much to do, both indoors and out within the local environment of the Dorsett Shepherd’s Bush, this hotel makes a great option for those heading into central London for a weekend stay at any time of year.
How to get there
We had our car with us and the hotel has a fantastic parking facility. You drive into the entrance that sits to the right of the hotel’s front doors and a concierge takes your keys. Your car is then moved to underground parking in nearby Westfield so it’s safe and secure (there isn’t much in the way of street parking in the area). Alternatively, the hotel is a short walk from Shepherd’s Bush station and, if you come into London by train, Paddington is a ten-minute taxi ride away.
Room rates at the Dorsett Hotel, Shepherd's Bush start at £130 per night.
To book or to find out more you can contact the hotel directly on +44 (0) 203 262 1026.
Freelance travel writer Cass Chapman is the founder of luxury family travel website, Kodomo.com
Cass was also an esteemed judge at the Junior Design Awards 2014