Hotels of Hate: the Sultan of Brunei's 10 Properties to Avoid
By Neal Broverman
Everyone from the U.N. Secretary General to Sharon Osbourne is reeling after Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei greenlit Sharia law in his country, which means gays can soon be stoned to death and women can be publicly flogged. The sultan is a part-time hotel magnate and owns the luxury Dorcester Collection, which runs 10 of the most opulent hotels in the world. Ellen DeGeneres has already tweeted she will not step foot inside the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air, both Dorcester properties, until this is resolved (as in sell them, sultan). Gay and feminist groups have already pulled out of events at the BH Hotel, while Sharon Osbourne and British actor-writer Stephen Fry have said they will not patronize the sultan's businesses. A protest is planned for May 5 at noon outside the BH Hotel. Here is a list of the 10 Dorcester properties, which are trying desperately to separate themselves from their tyrannical owner (a spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter, "The Dorchester Collection continues to abide by the laws of the countries we operate in and does not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind. … The laws that exist in other countries outside of where the Dorchester Collection operates do not affect the policies that govern how we run our hotels."). Mmmkay.
Beverly Hills Hotel (Beverly Hills): Possibly the Dorchester's most famous property, the "Pink Palace" was instrumental in the establishment of Beverly Hills a century ago and continues to play an outsize role in Hollywood wheeling and dealing, especially at its restaurant, the Polo Lounge. Don't expect to see Ellen there, though.
Hotel Bel-Air (Los Angeles): Not as renown as is sister property, the Beverly Hills Hotel, Hotel Bel-Air is still one of L.A.'s most prestigious hotels. It features a presidential suite with its own pool.
The Dorcester (London): One of the world's, and certainly London's, most luxurious hotels, this property in Mayfair features 250 rooms and 49 suits. It opened in 1931.
45 Park Lane (London): Another Mayfair hotel, 45 Park Lane is known for its striking architecture and younger, hipper feel (at least compared to the hopelessly stuffy Dorcester).
Coworth Park (Berkshire, U.K.): This late 18th-century country house was turned into a Dorcester Collection hotel-spa four years ago. Actor-writer Stephen Fry just canceled a stay there over the property's connection to the sultan.
Le Meurice (Paris): This five-star hotel in Paris's 1st Arrondissement is close to the Louvre. It opened in the late 18th-century.
Hotel Plaza Athenee (Paris): Another fancy Parisian palace, this hotel is near the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysees and opened over a century ago. It had a cameo in the last season of Sex and the City.
Le Richemond (Geneva): This hotel, located on the banks of Lake Geneva, boats one of the most expensive suites in the world and first opened in 1875.
Hotel Principe di Savoia (Milan): A cosmopolitan gathering place since the 1920s, this property is considered a Milanese landmark by many.
Hotel Eden (Rome): The Dorchester's second Italian property is in Rome's Old City, which features 121 rooms and over-the-top food like foie gras and smoked lobster.