Dorchester Group


020 7629 4848

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The Dorchester Group owns and manages a small and exclusive collection of historic grand hotels in gateway cities in Europe and North America. The five-star properties are all members of the Leading Hotels of the World consortium.

The company takes its name from the first hotel to join its line-up, the Dorchester hotel on Park Lane, London.

The group is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, the investment arm of the Government of Brunei’s Ministry of Finance.

The Dorchester Group was initially set up to manage the agency’s portfolio of luxury hotels but has, over time, assumed formal ownership of the properties.



  • 1929: Civil engineering contractor Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons buys Dorchester House in London’s Park Lane from Lord Morely for £500,000. The acquisition is made on behalf of Dorchester House Syndicate, a joint venture between McAlpine and Gordon Hotels, which intends to rebuild the property.
  • April 1931: The rebuilt Dorchester hotel opens its doors.
  • March 1937: McAlpine sets up Dorchester Hotel Ltd to buy out Gordon Hotels’ stake in the property.
  • 1976: The Dorchester hotel is bought by a consortium of Middle Eastern businessmen.
  • 1987: The Sultan of Brunei buys the Dorchester hotel and the Beverly Hills hotel, which was built in Los Angeles in 1912.
  • December 1998: The Dorchester hotel closes for a major revamp and reopens in November 1990.
  • 1991: The Sultan transfers ownership of the Dorchester Hotel to the Brunei Investment Agency.
  • 1995: The Beverly Hills hotel reopens following a $100m refurbishment.
  • 1996: The Dorchester Group (initially known as the Audley Group) is set up as an independent UK-registered company to manage the European and American hotels owned by the Brunei Investment Company
  • May 1997: The group acquires Hôtel Meurice in Paris, which dates back to 19th century regional postmaster and coach operator Charles-Augustin Meurice. Meurice established coach inns in Calais in 1771 and Paris (the first Hotel Meurice) in 1817 to cater for British travellers. HôtelMeurice moved to its current location in 1835.
  • July 2000: Hôtel Meurice reopens after an extensive two-year restoration programme.
  • February 2001: The Dorchester Group takes over the management of the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, which was built in Paris in 1911. The Brunei Investment Agency bought the property from Brunei’s Prince Jefri who acquired it from Granada in 1997 for £45m. Over time, the Dorchester Group buys the leasehold and, in December 2003, the freehold on the hotel.
  • February 2002: The Dorchester hotel announces a £10m-plus refurbishment programme, its first in more than 10 years.
  • June 2003: The group buys the Hotel Principe di Savola in Milan for €275m (£189m) from Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The property, which was part of Starwood’s Ciga chain, dates back to 1927.

Key People:

Global development director: Ricci Obertelli
Group operations director: Francois Delahaye (also general manager of the Hôtel Plaza Athénée)


“The Dorchester Group’s mission is to own and manage, or manage, a small and impeccable portfolio of the finest “grand” hotels in Europe and the United States, with a commitment to preserving and maintaining the highest possible standards of service and excellence.

Its intention is to bring together, over a period of time, a select number of the world’s premier hotels, cultivating their reputations for individual character, friendly and caring staff, beautiful and comfortable accommodation with the highest quality food and service in superb locations.”

Source: company website, December 2005

Operating Data:

Total number of hotels: 5
Total number of employees: around 2,200
Number of employees at the Dorchester hotel: just under 500

The Dorchester hotel, Park Lane, Mayfair, London
250 bedrooms (including 55 suites)
General manager: Christopher Cowdray

The Beverly Hills hotel, Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, USA
203 bedrooms and suites (including 21 bungalows)

Hôtel Meurice, Rue de Rivoli, Paris, France
160 bedrooms (including 28 suites)

Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Avenue Montaigne, Paris 
188 bedrooms and suites
Restaurants are overseen by multiple Michelin-star holder Alain Ducasse

Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milan, Italy
404 bedrooms


3 Tilney Street