London has provided both setting and role in Hugh Grant's best films: Four Weddings and a Funeral (in which Grant plays a lovelorn London bachelor), Notting Hill (London bookseller seduced by Hollywood star), Bridget Jones's Diary (London boss/cad), and, out this month, About a Boy (rich, childless Londoner who invents a son to help him meet women). The setting is apropos, for "Londoner" has always been Grant's real role in life. Born and bred in the suburb of Fulham, he was educated at Oxford and worked as a salesman at Harrods and as a London copywriter before becoming an actor. Today, his star shines internationally, but for Grant, there's no place like home.
"I've never stayed in a hotel in London in my life, because I live there. But I've certainly visited people who look like they're having a very luxurious time at The Dorchester and at Brown's, which always struck me as a romantic, special place. They're both historic. The Dorchester is the huge one on Park Lane, and I'm told by my American friends that it has the fastest and most delicious room service in the world. You haven't finished ordering by the time they're actually knocking on your door. I have some British friends who go for dirty weekends at Brown's even though they live in London. It's very Old World, romantic, tucked away in the heart of Mayfair."