So here is the gal in one of the world’s top luxury hotels, Hotel Bel-Air Los Angeles, about to experiment. This group has an Innovation Committee, which has produced Taste of Dorchester Collection. A small black folder holds individual cards, each offering a dish from one of the group’s hotels. Tonight must be English night, starting off with ‘A fresh idea from 45 – Butter lettuce salad, drizzled in a herb vinaigrette with Tuscan olive oil’. See the card, and see what arrived. It was gorgeous.
And after that came ‘A British classic, fish and chips, at The Barn, Coworth Park‘. I loved the way the beer-battered cod nuggets came with chunky chips and tartare sauce. I went on to ‘Wonderfully British bread & butter pudding, on The Dorchester menu since 1931 opening, made famous by Anton Mosimann during the 1970s’ – it is still his specialty, at Mosimann’s Club in Club. What are other dishes? The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel suggests a McCarthy salad, named for polo captain Neil McCarthy in the 1940s. The Eden, Rome, suggests Rigatoni alla Norma, for the Bellini opera, and Principe di Savoia‘s dish is Vitello tonnato, cold veal garnished with tuna sauce.
In summer, I would dine magnificently out on the terrace of suite 395, which thoughtfully not only has dining table and upright and lounging seating but a sizeable plunge pool to recover. Early in the morning I don my metaphorical explorer’s hat and after following various twisting walkways between buildings I pass the signature pale blue oval pool before reaching the spa, which has the gym above it. Gracious, there is a woman already working out, at this hour. I open the breakfast room – a request for plain yoghurt comes with a delightful bowl of mixed berries, gratis, and would I like coffee to go?
I am off, leaving this luxury hotel almost before I see it in daylight. I pass the same hydrangea on my way out, past the swans and a white cupola in the wedding garden, and the car is ready. Has this all been a fantasy, and where next?