Remember the impressive long Georgian street that always pops up in Jane Austen TV adaptations and films like Vanity Fair? That’s Great Pulteney Street, which is where Dukes is situated; only five minutes from the city centre. The entrance is on Edward Street as the hotel is on the junction of that road and Great Pulteney Street.
I love the bedrooms in Dukes – they are warm and old fashioned, but don’t feel fussy or dated. There are 17 rooms – five are doubles, six are master doubles, four are suites and two are four-poster suites. My favourite double room is the Marlborough, which is decorated in deep reds (even in the bathroom) and has an oriental feel. All have retained their period features, but Richmond and Bedford are a lot more modern and simplistic.
It’s a similar case with the larger master doubles: Rutland would suit traditionalists with its drapes above the bed, whereas Argyll also has the red walls and black wood style of Marlborough. Suites come with a sitting area – Beaufort is my favourite (Asian inspired again), but Wellington’s floral materials and dark woods will appeal to fans of Georgian splendour. The chintz-o-meter is turned up a notch in the four-poster suites: Athol is decorated in ‘classic Louis XVI’ style and Beccleuch is garnished in ‘English Botanica’ – they are both Marmite rooms that guests will either love or hate. I love them.
Dukes’ lounge is super comfy with plush leather sofas, floral curtains, rows of leather-bound books, displays of china plates and a huge gold-framed oil painting. It sounds a bit like overkill, but in reality it’s a very cosy and welcoming place to sit and relax.
Eating and drinking
Dukes’ Cavendish restaurant has been awarded two AA rosettes and the menu focuses on modern British cooking using seasonal produce. Downstairs from the main hotel the restaurant is simply designed (no chintz!) and split into two smallish dining rooms – one opens up onto the pretty terrace garden.
Reception staff are very polite and professional – they’ll also give you a hand with your bags, which is an offer worth taking up as there are lots of stairs.
Who stays there
Lots of American guests, who are here for the traditional English experience, and couples on romantic weekends away.
Mid-week specials are available on top-floor rooms, which are smaller and more modern. Inclusive weekend packages that include dinner in the restaurant are also available. Free parking permits and internet are included.
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Mature travellers
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Pretty and central location
- Grand bedrooms
- Chintz-o-rama style not for everyone
- No air conditioning