DUKES LONDON is a boutique luxury hotel nestled in the heart of Mayfair, just five minutes’ walk from The Mall and Buckingham Palace. My guest and I arrived at its doors on a crisp autumn morning, walking from the nearby tube station through Green Park and down a series winding streets and narrow alleyways. We were given a warm welcome by the door staff and shown to the check-in desk.
Inside, the interiors ooze quintessential British charm and sophistication. Dating from 1908, the hotel recently underwent a major makeover but remains grand and traditional, marrying the best of classical Edwardian-era and modern design. In the lobby, much of the original decor has been retained including the dark wood panelling on the walls and the brass-work of the bannisters and the light fittings. These features are tastefully offset with splashes of colour from oversized contemporary furniture, which gives DUKES a refreshingly up-to-date feel.
There are 90 rooms in total including three types of luxury suites and a penthouse, which features a private outside terrace overlooking the historic Clarence House and Green Park. Despite its size and being just a short walk from the bright lights of the West End, the hotel feels intimate and the first-rate service is personal and discrete. For guests travelling with a canine companion, there is even the option to choose a dog-friendly room, and dog sitting services can be arranged.
We stayed in a Deluxe room, furnished with a plush mustard-coloured velvet armchair and a matching two-seater sofa, as well as a large writing desk set against the wall and looking out of the window onto the quiet cul-de-sac below. The room also featured an opulent marble en-suite bathroom complete with a sumptuously-deep bathtub and spacious double wardrobes, where our luxury flannel bathrobes were hung. The bed was King size and cloud-like, dressed in crisp white cotton linen.
After a morning sightseeing tour, on which we learnt that the historical courtyard at Dukes St. James’ Place dates all the way back to 1532 when King Henry VIII bought a convent at the bottom of the hill, my guest and I returned to DUKES to relax and unwind before dinner. In the basement, there is a well-equipped gym which is free for all guests — the perfect place to work up a sweat before visiting the hotel’s in-house Private Members Health Club and treating yourself to something from the luxurious range of treatments on offer, including classic massage, bespoke facials and essential grooming.
We enjoyed a drink in the DUKES Bar, world famous as the watering hole where James Bond author Sir Ian Flemming reportedly coined the catchphrase “shaken, not stirred” for his British Secret Service Agent, before moving on to the newly renovated Great British Restaurant for dinner. Overseen by Norfolk-born Executive Head Chef Nigel Mendham, the menu has recently been updated to offer traditional British dishes with a modern twist. The relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant and the attentive staff, as personable as they are professional, instantly put us at ease, and the food was delicious and comforting, leaving us feeling warm and content.
We left DUKES the following morning after sound night’s sleep and a delicious Full English Breakfast from the restaurant and made our way back towards the underground station feeling refreshed and pampered. For a slice of luxury living in one of London’s most prestigious and historic districts, be sure to book a night or three at this gem of a hotel.
35 St James’ Place, London, SW1A 1NY