Smythson’s illustrated Valentine notebooks

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

The most romantic and scandalous tales come out of hotels, from John and Yoko’s “bed-ins” to Marilyn Monroe’s 1960 affair with French idol Yves 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 hotel romances. After skipping Rome to escape the titanic fallout from their liaison during the filming of Cleopatra, Taylor and Burton moved into The Dorchester, where the actress carved their initials into the pink marble wall of the bathroom in the Harlequin Suite, literally setting their legacy in stone. When the pair married, for the first time, at the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal, they gave the staff just two hours’ notice to prepare – and no doubt the general manager greatly raised blood pressure.

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

To encourage all that is de l’amour, during February guests will be presented with a complimentary Smythson red leather 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 in his wake.


Free personalised monogramming is also offered to mark Valentine’s at Smythson’s stores. Here, too, the notebooks 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 similar flipbook, this time with three illustrated imps endearingly endeavouring to catch a falling heart (second picture).

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