35 St James's Place, London, England, SW1A 1NY
- Recommended for:
- Business travellers, Couples, Mature travellers, Singles, Escaping the crowds, History, Romance, Shopping, Sightseeing
Expert review of Dukes Hotel
Opened in 1908, Dukes is one of London's secret addresses. I love bringing visitors to the capital here as the hotel is so beautifully hidden away amid the wealthy streets of St James's. There's a further surprise when you learn that this very English establishment has 90 rooms - where do they put them all? - along with a historic cocktail bar and a quietly elegant restaurant. If you're looking for a refined and restful retreat that's also dead central, this could be the answer.
Tucked away in a private courtyard off St James's Street, Dukes is well-placed for visiting the posh shops of Mayfair, the leafy lung of Green Park, the blockbuster exhibitions of the Royal Academy and the theatres of the West End.
Rooms come in four categories starting with a Dukes with a queen-size bed - if you are there for a special occasion go for the more spacious Luxury, or a suite. All rooms have a marbled bathroom with a bath, and offer a contrasting mix of light, natural-coloured walls and fabrics with dark wooden doors and antique furniture. They are well-lit, comfortable and luxurious but without pizazz.
With a mighty Union Jack hanging outside the entrance and a lobby decorated with assorted portraits of Dukes, it's immediately apparent that this is a hotel with a proud history. A gracious staircase, venerable wood-panelled lifts and a subdued palette of greens and creams create a mood of understated luxury.
Dukes Bar is renowned for its small and historic cocktail bar specialising in martinis that are prepared at your table by genial bartenders in white jackets. The drinks are terrific, but the bar can get very busy in the pre-dinner hours when I find it is just too dark, slow and claustrophobic to be satisfactory. Visit at another time, or settle down in the brighter Drawing Room - also a popular venue for Afternoon Tea - or, in summer, the al fresco Cognac and Cigar Garden. Specialising in classic British dishes, the Dining Room is an enjoyable, though often quiet, venue with apricot-hued chairs and walls covered in a jumble of pictures. It's a good place for a leisurely catch-up with an old friend, or a business meal. A fine breakfast is also served here - and for once, commendably, it is not a buffet.
The lower ground floor Health Club houses a small gym (open 24 hours), steam room and treatment room offering massages, facials and beauty care. Walkers and joggers can also head to nearby Green Park.
Dukes comes with a small army of uniformed staff who are alert, attentive and welcoming. Concierge and turndown services are included.
Generally business travellers from Monday to Thursday, moneyed couples at weekends. The hotel is a good choice for single travellers and runs a 'Duchess Rooms' programme that caters to the needs of women travelling alone.
Rates generally do not include VAT or breakfast (£17 Continental, £22 English, excluding service). WiFi is complimentary.
More information on Dukes Hotel :
- Price from:
- 35 St James's Place, London, England, SW1A 1NY
- Fitness Centre, High-Speed Internet, Restaurant, Room Service
- St James's