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Quintessentially British luxury at DUKES London

by Emily Healey-Lynham

Where is DUKES London?

Convenient for London stays in the heart of the city, DUKES is tucked away from St James’ down a small alleyway secluded in its own quiet cobblestone cul-de-sac. Although DUKES is right in the heart of Mayfair and only a short stroll from Piccadilly, the West End and a five-minute walk to Buckingham Palace, it feels like you are in your own private area. Talking about royalty, rumours are that DUKES was once a favourite of the Queen Mother and Princess Diana and you can see why as it feels exceedingly English and stately.

Style of DUKES London

DUKES is quintessentially British luxury at its best, the entrance to DUKES is one of the capital’s most iconic with the redbrick facade sitting beneath a huge, billowing Union Jack flag; this is a classic British landmark that feels as though it’s come from a storybook vision of picture-perfect London.

DUKES London Reception 2

There is a vintage lift, with its bench for anyone too tired to stand, which whisks guests from the monochrome-tiled, dark-wood lobby, complete with grandfather clocks and oil paintings, including one of our beloved late Queen. 

It has been a hotel since 1908 and remains proudly independent, low key and by London standards quite compact, with some 90 rooms and suites. There is a hint of private club to it and everywhere there are hints of authentic tradition.

Staying at DUKES London

The St. James area has been the exclusive retreat of writers, musicians, politicians and royalty. It’s the buildings heritage which is the key to its long-term success. Dukes values of commitment to a warm, welcoming and exceptional service is first shown as we checked in with the pleasant Teodora on reception where old school keys are hung up behind a mahogany desk.

DUKES London Staircase

We stayed on the first floor in The Lord Nelson Suite; heritage style with spacious with sleek sofas, writing desk and tall windows in the lounge with fresh flowers adorning the dining table. You are welcomed by a comfy king-size bed in the elegant bedroom which has excellent storage with cupboards and drawers. 

The large old fashioned style bathroom was decked in obsidian marble and white panelling and full-size toiletries from Noble Isle, a UK Brand which fits in well with the truly English feel, we were also impressed with the hairdryer and selection of large towels. The bathroom’s ventilation system however is not equal to the task so be careful if having a warm soak! Luxurious flannel bathrobes and comfortable slippers are provided to lounge in your suite after a pleasant night of restful sleep on the snug pillows.


Rooms are comfortable and clean but some considerable distance from cutting edge, that’s not to say they’re lacking in some way, they’re simply rooms with antique furniture that truly belong in a classic building of Victorian origin so do not expect Smart TVs or High-Tech rooms with USB plugs. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, a nightly turndown service is provided and housekeeping is offered daily, dry cleaning and luggage storage are also on offer.

Food & Beverage at DUKES London

GBR (Great British Restaurant) on the ground floor of the hotel offers a menu of British dishes and flavours, it is a laid-back, peaceful atmosphere which is perfect for enjoying hearty English food. The walls are decked with mirrors and classy framed black and white photographs of matinée idols.  There’s also a bar with stools to perch on if you fancy a cocktail or two and a private dining room.

We dined there during our stay in the evening after a trip to the Theatre and were treated like VIPS by Lucas, Razvan and Simone. The menu has lots of choice and options can be served as starter portion or main size. 

gbr dukes

We started with the New Season Asparagus from Portwood Farm in Norfolk with Brixham brown crab mayonnaise, lemon and thyme dressed white asparagus, sourdough crumb this was wonderfully tasty and uniformed in size with the green and white asparagus. We also had the Hispi Cabbage, Bagborough Farm goat’s curd, roasted hazelnuts, thyme and orange infused oil the mix of flavours was divine and both starters were really good portion sizes.

Our first course was paired well with Gavi on Simone’s recommendation, the Gavi worked well with the starters as the taste was vivid and refreshing with delicate aromas which paired well with the light starters, it was aromatic, zesty with apple and pears, lime and passionfruit creating a refreshing, satisfying mix with the food.

For Mains after our delicious starters, we shared the Fillet Steak with Peppercorn sauce and French fries. This was cooked to perfection and the sauce was not too overpowering, it was delicate and creamy. There is also an array of sides you can order like Chard, Green Beans, salads and more.  

Simone came up with a wonderful wine choice in Gusbourne Rose, not only is the wine stunning in taste the crystal-clear elegant bottle was sealed with a clear glass stopper which was unique and pretty. In the glass, the wine is pale pink in colour with enticing aromas of summer berries like strawberries, raspberries and redcurrant and orange zest. There are floral notes of blossom and a little ginger spice too. It is crisp fresh and fruit driven, gloriously accommodating when it comes to food pairing.

To finish our evening we had the Cheeses From The British Isles: Golden Cross, Blacksticks Blue and Sussex Charmer, served with Seeded Crackers and Fig Relish. All the cheeses and suggested pairings are delicious, a cheese board is always a decadent treat and worked well with Simone’s recommendation of Leacock’s Saint John Full Rich Madeira.  It had a characteristic bouquet of Madeira with dried fruits and notes of toffee, sweet and smooth in the mouth. The excellent finish of oak and notes of chocolate worked well with the different tastes and styles of the cheeses. 

IMG 4980

The service was excellent at GBR and the food glorious, this venue would be nice to come on a date night or a pre theatre meal not just when staying at DUKES.

Breakfast is also served in GBR and the morning menu and table service includes a selection of specially prepared to order fruit salads, cooked breakfasts, dessert and drinks. The perfect way to start the day. The staff again in the morning were superb with a repeat visit from Razvan who looked after our morning requests and Ujwol who also added to our wonderful stay with the same kindness we had received from all members of staff.

Room service is available at DUKES 24 hours and if you are feeling alfresco the hotel is next to some of the best parks in London! Picnics can be arranged to be delivered to you in next door Green Park which is a lovely touch. Afternoon tea is also served in the Drawing Room, offering a selection of dainty cakes, crustless sandwiches and a selection of artisan teas.

DUKES Deluxe Room Twins 3

Why visit DUKES London

The lasting impressions are that you will feel, in both your room and throughout the hotel, quiet and serenity, a real luxury in the heart of the capital. An all-time classic London hotel experience, Dukes is right up there with the best with their high standards in service, food and drink. High efficiency and lots of charm with the complete 5* experience.

DUKES London
35 St James’s Place
St. James’s
United Kingdom


  • Emily Healey-Lynham

    Emily has been involved in the media industry for well over 10 years from working on film sets to journalism and PR. Emily is a strategic, energetic Editor who has been with Bespoke since the start heading up the Culture department. Being a fan of all art forms from the theatre to films, literature to exhibitions Emily is usually found in the stalls of a theatre telling you where the cast have been seen before without looking in the programme or fact finding in an art gallery, failing that she will be sipping champagne at the bar regaling stories of "glory days" of the West End!

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