Earlier in July, we were lucky enough to stay at Dukes London, in Mayfair. If you are an avid Dapper Chapper follower you may have noticed that we’ve been attending and promoting a lot of events around the St James’s area recently so this stay was perfectly timed.
Dukes is one of Mayfair’s most celebrated five-star hotels, but before our stay, I hadn’t stepped inside and it may well not be on your radar yet also. This could be because it’s tucked nicely away down St. James Place but once you do discover it you’ll have unearthed a real gem.
This year marks 110 years since the hotel opened its distinguished doors. I’ll include the links at the bottom of the blog but there is a fantastic offer running to celebrate the anniversary. You can follow in the footsteps of Dukes and aristocracy and help them celebrate this milestone by taking advantage of the significantly reduced room rate of £110 to celebrate 110 years, available every Sunday in September.
The venue is bursting with history and was built around 1890 and in 1908 became Dukes hotel. The historic court-yard at Dukes has been traced back to 1532 when King Henry VIII brought a convent at the bottom of the hill. In its place, he built St. James’s Palace as a hunting lodge and refuge from court politics.
Prior to our visit, I was aware of the history and heritage that comes with the venue but was interested to see what a multi-million-pound refurbishment had delivered. The Courtyard and lobby are both charming and showcases the boutique feel of the venue. Down a flight of stairs, you’ll find the fitness suite, which has everything you need for a workout along with a steam room. To the right, is the infamous Martini Bar which I’ll expand on later and elsewhere you’ll find the GBR restaurant. The hotel as a whole is not overwhelming in size which adds to the charm.
The hotel now boasts 90 bedrooms including 22 Deluxe Rooms, one of which we stayed in and it did not disappoint. The rooms are very modern yet elegant, the Interior designers have done a fantastic job managing to keep the traditional charm of the room with all the modern additions you would expect. The marble bathroom is filled with Floris products and even had a bath pillow to make you more comfortable.
We ate in GBR, the hotel’s signature restaurant. The menu is impressive but not overwhelming and is centered around sharing. All the dishes are available in small or large sizes, so you can mix-and-match. All the dishes were delicious but we would particularly recommend the Haggis Scotch egg and the Charlestown Mussels.
After a great night’s sleep in the very comfortable bed, we enjoyed an espresso on our private balcony before heading out to explore the area. The hotel is ideally situated with plenty to do locally as we have blogged about, especially following the development of St James’s Market. We spent a Saturday afternoon wandering around the shops, including a visit to Lock & Co, hat makers with a royal warrant. It was fantastic to see molds of everyone’s head from David Bowie to the Queen!
Afterward, we went for lunch at Ikoyi, which is a modern twist on authentic West African flavours and one of my favourite spots in the area. After a great meal, we went to St James’s Market where we enjoyed an afternoon sampling wine and cheese at the Wine Car Boot.
No stay at Dukes would be complete without sampling one of their world-renowned Martini’s in the Dukes bar. These legendary Martini’s include, wait for it, up to 5 shots so it is no wonder they advise a maximum of 2 per person!
Even if you’re not staying, it’s worth trying to book a table in the Bar to try the martini, which was the best I’ve had in London.