A favourite of both the Queen Mother and Diana, Princess of Wales, the royal connection is still strong, and the hotel’s emphasis on tradition is one of its biggest draws. It’s also very popular with single travellers; the Duchess rooms scheme is aimed at women travelling alone.
Tucked away down a tiny alleyway off St James’, which is home to such established names such as Locks & Co Hatters, Berry Brothers wine merchants and White’s gentleman’s club, Jermyn Street is close by and the hotel is convenient for Piccadilly and the West End. If you ask the doorman he can direct you to a hidden short cut to Green Park.
Style & character
Old-fashioned – the hotel dates from 1908 but is far from stuffy – convivial and discreet. Modern touches are subtle. Impressive old school paintings on the walls of the lobby and in the bar; make sure to take a ride in the wood panelled lift with its heavy iron gates. Contrast this with the small but well stocked gym, steam room and massage treatment area downstairs.
Service & facilities
Unfussy and friendly, particularly in the bar and restaurant. The concierge can organise guided tours of heritage sites both in and outside London. Dukes bikes are available to hire and they will also prepare picnics to take to one of the London parks.
- Fitness centre
- Room service
- Steam room/hammam
The hotel has 90 rooms, many recently refurbished, including five suites, some with views of Green Park and some have a small balcony; there are four standard room types ranging from Dukes to Luxury. All are elegant, light and have subtle, muted tones which contrast with the darker antique furniture. Incredibly comfortable beds; spacious bathrooms with Ren products. Complimentary WiFi, and handmade chocolates.
Food & drink
Renowned for its martinis and bar where the current manager is the affable Alessandro Palazzi. Cocktails aren’t cheap (from £17) but they are worth it. “That would kill a horse,” said one guest admiringly after downing one of the Dukes signature martinis. Chef Nigel Mendham has run the hotel’s restaurant Thirty-Six since 2011 and is quietly making a name for himself. British dishes with an inventive twist is his style and the Tasting Menu is certainly worth trying. Great breakfasts. Atmosphere more subdued than elsewhere in the hotel. The brightly furnished PJ Lounge is an alternative for pre-dinner drink, and there’s also the canopy covered Cigar and Cognac Garden.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Ramps can be provided for the steps at the entrance and there is a lift to all floors.
Yes, but the atmosphere here is very grown-up. Cots and children’s menu available. Ask about the mini dukes and duchesses offer, whereby parents can book a room and get a second children’s room (up to 16 years of age) for free.
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