Smythson’s illustrated Valentine notebooks

Charming love tokens – especially as part of a night at The Dorchester

Themost romantic and scandalous tales come out of hotels, from John and Yoko’s “bed-ins” to Marilyn Monroe’s 1960 affair with French idolYves Montand, conducted at the Beverly Hills Hotel as they filmed the most appositely titled movie Let’s Make Love.

However, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton remain the gold standard for hotelromances. After skipping Rome to escape the titanic falloutfrom their liaison during the filming of Cleopatra, Taylor and Burton movedinto The Dorchester, where the actress carved their initials into the pinkmarble wall of the bathroom in the Harlequin Suite, literally setting theirlegacy in stone. When the pair married, for the first time, at the Ritz-Carlton inMontreal, they gave the staff just two hours’ notice toprepare – and no doubt the general manager greatly raised blood pressure.

Thankfully,not all ardour need be so dramatic. And if such tales make you wantto escape to a luxe hotel with your lover for a romantic jaunt, you might want to look to a trio of TheDorchester Collection’s hotels, as the flagshipDorchester on Park Lane in London, 45 Park Lane, situated just opposite, andCoworth Park in Berkshire are participating in a special collaboration.

Toencourage all that is de l’amour, during February guests will be presented with a complimentary Smythson redleather notebook embossed in gold with the words Head over Heels (first picture). Darling and charming, inside it features a silver pepper-pot character from the 1909 Smythson catalogue,Le Chauffeur, tumbling down the pages, flipbook-style, with hearts cascading inhis wake.


Freepersonalised monogramming is also offered to mark Valentine’s at Smythson’s stores. Here, too, thenotebooks are available to buy from Wednesday January 15 as a limited edition of 500,priced at £65. There is also a second edition, Catch Me If You Can, a similarflipbook, this time with three illustrated imps endearingly endeavouringto catch a falling heart (second picture).

RichardBurton kept detailed aide-memoires of the affair the world remembers, whichwere recently made public in his letters. But perhaps for guests,these wonderfully romantic keepsakes should be kept as privateas a locked hotel room – with a sign requesting: do not disturb.