On a recent trip to London, we were invited to experience what has to be one of the capital’s finest Small Luxury Hotels, DUKES Hotel in Mayfair. Read on to see what we thought about this beautiful property located in the heart of the capital.
Ever since King Henry 8th built his palace here in the 16th Century, the St. James area has been the exclusive retreat of writers, musicians, politicians and royalty. It’s the buildings heritage which is the key to its long term success, once a favourite of the Queen Mother and Princess Diana. So you are in very good company when you stay at DUKES!
Tucked in its own quiet cul-de-sac, off St James, DUKES manages to balance the peace and serenity of a small luxury hotel, whilst being right in the heart of Mayfair and only a short stroll from Piccadilly, the West End and a five-minute walk to Buckingham Palace.
Arriving at DUKES Hotel is akin to arriving at a stately home, the entrance to DUKES is one of the capital’s most iconic; with cascading flowers covering the façade and and a courtyard make it feel like you are arriving at some great Aunt’s home, rather than visiting a hotel.
A warm welcome by the doorman, and your bags are whisked away by the bellboy to your room, check in at the lobby is swift and flawless. This service standard runs throughout the entire hotel nothing is too much trouble, this is DUKES after all.
With 90 rooms, including five deluxe suites and nine junior suites in addition a Penthouse with a balcony and views to Green Park, the small hotel packs in quite a lot of rooms, without it at any point feeling crowded. In fact one of the first and lasting impressions you will feel, in both your room and throughout the hotel, is quiet and serenity, a luxury in the heart of the capital.
Rooms are simple and elegantly appointed, crisp white bed linen on the beds, cream walls and beige carpets and some scatter cushions to add a burst of tasteful colour. Rooms are all spacious with arm-chairs, writing desk and queen or king sized beds, I can see why the Queen Mother liked it here.
I had a Superior Room on the second floor and I loved taking the original elevator up to my floor. I love technology but there is something just perfect about being given a ‘real key’ to your room in a traditional property rather than a modern swipe card.
A welcome note, fresh fruit and baked treats were in my room on arrival.
Keeping up to date with technology there is a coffee machine there for that morning caffeine fix.
All rooms also have a ‘Handy phone’ which acts as a city guide, mobile internet provider and phone, great for overseas guests wanting to connect to the internet while out and about. WiFi is also free throughout the hotel.
The generously sized bathroom featured Floris products, a rain shower and marble tiling as well as luxury flannel bathrobes and slippers.
Food and Drink
GBR (Great British Restaurant) on the ground floor of the hotel offers a menu of British dishes and flavours. The space has been recently renovated and the design team have done an incredible job creating an informal space, complete with gilt mirrors and parquet flooring, that fits perfectly with the traditional feel of the rest of the hotel.
Open for all day dining from breakfast through to lunch and dinner. They also do incredible cocktails (read our interview GBR bar manager Mary).
Looking for Afternoon Tea? There really couldn’t be anywhere more fitting for the occasion in the whole of London! DUKES Afternoon Tea offers a selection of dainty cakes, crust-less sandwiches, and a selection of artisan teas served in the Drawing Room.
Feeling alfresco, well why not you are next to some of the best parks in London! Picnics can be arranged to be delivered to you in next door Green Park, after which leftovers will be packed up and taken away without you having to lift a finger. (Read more about their Picnics in the park here).
Drinks at DUKES Bar is something of an occasion, the legendary bar is internationally renowned for its famous martinis and personalised cocktails. The bar features velvet chairs to sink into, pale taupe walls hung with portraits and prints from the DUKES collection. The space is cosy and relaxing with the atmosphere enhanced by the original marble fireplace and mahogany panelled bar. Once you have finished your cocktails, you can retire to the Cognac and Cigar Garden next to the bar.
Gym and Spa
The Private Members Health Club at DUKES features an Italian marble steam room, a modern gym with the latest Techno gym equipment and a beauty treatment room using Temple Spa treatment products. (view the treatment list here).
If you are coming to London and looking for that fairytale London you see in the movies you will most certainly find it here. DUKES is quintessentially British luxury at its best which is why it is featured in our best luxury hotels in Mayfair guide.
Address: 35 St James’s Pl, St. James’s, London SW1A 1NY