DUKES London is a Luxury Hotel that Treats You Like Royalty

DUKES London is a Luxury Hotel that Treats You Like Royalty

Simon Wittenberg enjoys an overnight stay at DUKES London, a beautiful 115-year-old boutique hotel tucked away in the heart of London’s Mayfair.

DUKES London is a luxurious 90-room five-star hotel in a small, quiet cul de sac off of St James’s Place, a few streets down from London’s busy Piccadilly thoroughfare.

Dating back to 1908, this elegant red brick property is steeped in history and underwent a multi-million-pound refurbishment a few years ago. Today, it’s owned by the privately-owned Dubai-based Seven Tides business.

The Christmas tree inside the luxury hotel

From the moment you climb the steps and pass through the front door, DUKES London – a dog-friendly hotel- reveals itself as a quintessentially British experience full of old-fashioned charm and character rather than a showcase of modern architecture and technology.

With more than a century of heritage, this hotel has welcomed many extraordinary and famous guests across the decades, spanning royalty to the composer Edward Elgar.

A photograph of the inside of one of the Superior Rooms

There are three classes of accommodation at DUKES London, ranging from the 22 square-metre Superior Room (above) to the larger 29 square-metre Executive classification, all suitable for hosting up to a couple of guests.

The next echelon up is the Suites, which are designed for three or more occupants, and this hotel is perfectly set up for welcoming little ones, with cots furnished with soft white linen and a cuddly “Dukesy” soft toy dog.

Inside one of the hotel's classically British bedroom suites

The 32 square-metre Junior Suite with a Super King bed is the starting point, followed by the slightly larger 35 square-metre Studio Suite, which was the subject of our review.

Spearheading this category, however, is the flagship Duke of Clarence Suite on the fifth floor, where complimentary airport or train station transfers are included as part of the package and where you are looking at prices of up to around £2,500 per night for a weekday stay.

In a nod to this property’s origins, there is no swiping a plastic card to enter any rooms at DUKES London, but instead, there’s a physical key, which is given out from a traditional wooden holder behind reception – a dying breed these days, but a nice touch that this hotel has retained such a “tradition”.

Our Studio Suite, Room 17 to be precise, was situated on the ground floor, which is ideal if travelling with a buggy and plenty of luggage, and cost the equivalent of £995 (without breakfast) for a Saturday night in November.

Admittedly, there was not much of a view out onto Little St James’s Street – an office block, in fact, but this didn’t matter, as this spacious room was a cocoon of luxury and comfort, which is what ultimately counted.

The main “living space” fixtures included a comfy orange sofa and a writing desk furnished with goodies, including DUKES’ homemade brownies, fresh fruit, macaroons, and some chilled champagne. The suite also had a marble-effect ensuite bathroom, complete with a bathtub and a relatively sensitive shower lined with Noble Isle dispensers.

Breakfast in bed in one of the hotel's Deluxe rooms

When passing through the archway, this is when you arrive at the plush King Bed, complete with plenty of pillows and cushions gracing the crisp white bedding.

What was also particularly noticeable at DUKES London was the high-speed Wi-Fi, which you would assume would be a given these days at a luxury hotel; plus, it came without the fuss of a long registration form – another factor contributing to a seamless guest experience.

The Slow Cooked Cumbrian Lamb Neck dish

Great British Restaurant, also known as “GBR”, is the main eatery at DUKES London, although there are other spaces for guests to enjoy, such as the Drawing Room (for afternoon tea, for example), or indeed, the DUKES Bar, where a “Martini Experience” awaits.

A photograph of the mirrored walls in the dining room

GBR is situated on the lower ground floor, dressed with mirrored walls and a reflective ceiling, to deliver a spacious feel for what is a relatively intimate and cosy space.

It’s capable of serving up to around 60 covers at any one time when full through its sectioned-off alcoves around the outside and a plethora of small black stone tables. Large groups can also be accommodated, as we saw during our visit.

This restaurant celebrates the best of British cuisine, as the name would suggest, and the à la carte has a fair share of meat and fish options. The added benefit of GBR is that the dishes listed on the reasonably priced menu can be served as an entrée or a main, which may facilitate some decision-making.

A photograph showing the bar area, which is adjacent to the main dining room

The selection of drinks is also comprehensive, with a good choice of wine (i.e. sparkling, white and red), plus 12 different cocktails. We headed for a refreshing Virgin Mojito and Virgin Mary with a spicy kick of Tabasco sauce, which emerged as a refreshing accompaniment to our meals.

The Oxford Blue soufflé dish sampled by Simon

For a starter, I opted for the twice-baked and fluffy Oxford Blue soufflé (£18), which arrived on a matt black plate with caramelised walnuts, small pieces of celeriac and sweet Comice pair, completed with whisps of white flavoursome sauce.

My other half decided on the equally tasty smokey aubergine (£12), which came garnished with pomegranate seeds and a helping of seeded crackers to make this entrée a little more comprehensive. Other possibilities at this stage of the meal include duck terrine and pork tenderloin.

The smokey aubergine dish

With an adequate pause before the mains, and as the evening rolled on, GBR filled up pretty much to the brim, highlighting its popularity amongst staying guests and visitors, so a prior reservation is advised here.

The service provided by the hospitable staff at GBR, like in the other areas of Dukes London, is also efficient, friendly, and attentive, meaning it did not overstep the mark for being intrusive.

There’s equally a dedicated kids menu at this eatery, which is a more simple array of “run-of-the-mill” staples for children, such as macaroni cheese, and fish and chips, which are also nicely prepared and can be served earlier than the adults’ food to help avoid any rumbling stomachs.

The Cornish Pollock dish experienced by Simon

It was the Cornish pollock (£18) that was my next port of call, and it didn’t disappoint. Firstly, because the presentation was exquisite and full of colour, starting with the saffron yellow pumpkin oil with sunflower seeds, on which sat purple cabbage, followed by the moist fish fillet, and culminating with a wedge of orange squash, and a light kale crisp seasoned with caviar salt.

The dish was superb on literally every level and was one of the highlights of our visit to GBR.

My wife went for a grass-fed medium to well-done fillet of steak (£49), which was beautifully cooked and came with a divine texture. Sides are needed if you have a substantial appetite, and we went for some hand-cut chips (£6) and creamed Maris Piper potatoes with mustard and an herb butter sauce (£6) – the perfect complement, and adequately filling.

Dessert was just as tempting, and there were many mouth-watering possibilities at this stage of proceedings, spanning a cheeseboard to Bramley apple crumble.

The Yorkshire Rhubarb dessert

I decided on the “Yorkshire Rhubarb” (£8), which was similar to a deconstructed pavlova, where the vital ingredients were a light and sugary meringue infused with ginger, clotted cream, rhubarb compote, and tangy rhubarb sorbet.

The Vegan Chocolate Dessert

As a dairy-free alternative to sorbet on its own, my other half had some delicious vegan brownies, which form part of the afternoon tea.

From 7 am onwards, breakfast at GBR (for a supplementary cost) is a nice buffet on the restaurant’s bar, with the option of ordering off the à la carte for hot dishes. I enjoyed a cheese and spinach omelette (£12), with my wife starting her day with crushed avocado and poached eggs on sourdough toast (£16.50).

The hotel's toy stuffed dog Dukesy placed one one of the guest beds

In summary…
DUKES London is a brilliant five-star hotel and is ideal for those in search of a British and traditional experience and to revel in a spot of history. It is also ideally located to explore some of London’s best-loved monuments and landmarks thanks to its fantastic position, which also offers tranquillity away from the capital’s hustle and bustle.

It is a hotel where you feel valued and where it is evident that there is plenty of hard work behind the scenes to ensure that you have the best possible stay, which is exactly what we had.

The entrance to the hotel

DUKES London – Where and How?

For more information or to make a reservation at DUKES London, visit www.dukeshotel.com.

See the video highlights of our stay at DUKES London on the Luxurious Magazine Instagram page.

Read more travel features, guides and travel-industry news here.

A Christmas tree next to the entrance to the hotelDUKES London is a Luxury Hotel that Treats You Like Royalty 2

Simon Wittenberg

Senior Editorial Contributor

Born in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and now based in London, Simon Wittenberg is the senior editorial contributor to Luxurious Magazine® reporting directly to Paul Godbold. A specialist in the automotive sector, he has now expanded his repertoire to encompass all aspects relating to luxury and lifestyle. Simon has worked with some of the world’s most iconic marques such as Lotus Cars, Ferrari and Tesla Motors. His passions include luxury goods, motorsport, fine dining and travel.

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