Where do you begin to find the words to describe a love affair? Intimate? Naturally. Personal? But of course. Sumptuous. Enchanting. Pleasurable. Yes, Yes and YES.
There is a wealth of words which could be used, but I want to add one more to the dictionary. I'd like to place it right between paradise and pleasure. Are you ready for it? OK, here goes -----cue the drum roll------ Dukes Hotel. From the moment my cabby backed his car down the narrow alley into their private courtyard, I knew I had great pleasures in store for me. What I didn't know was it was the beginning of a lifelong love affair.
Considered by many to be one of London's most civilized hotels Dukes is the recipient of many top accolades including being a member of The Small Luxury Hotels Of The World, 'Top 50 Europe Hotels' in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards Reader's Survey, '2005 and 2006 Gold List of World's Best Places To Stay' by Conde Nast Traveler.
In the heart of London, Dukes occupies its own courtyard in an ultra-quiet street between Mayfair and Green Park It is five minutes' walk from Bond Street, and a 30-minute taxi ride from Heathrow Airport. Conveniently located in the heart of Mayfair it is ideally situated for London's finest restaurants, most fashionable shops, exciting galleries and theatre productions.
Privately owned Dukes Hotel was originally built in 1780 as a private home and opened as a hotel in 1908. David Naylor-Leyland's acquired the hotel in 1994, he is currently partners with Alasdair Hadden-Paton. They have put in $10 million to refurbish and modernize the hotel.
Dukes has 90 air-conditioned rooms including six suites, some with views of Green Park, and a penthouse with its own terrace and private dining area. They have their own private and permanent art collections which embrace both contemporary and antique works in canvas and sculpture. Despite the past and recent trends of modern minimalism in hotel decor, Dukes has embraced the return of a comfortable, classic English style. Their interiors are all done in an unpretentious traditional, luxuriously chic and sophisticated style.
Their scrumptious rooms feature many amenities like air-conditioning; marble bathroom with rainforest shower, iPod speakers, wireless Internet connection, direct dial telephone, CNN, private bar, personal safe, completely separate sitting room with private dining area, plasma screen television, 24-hour room service, express and overnight laundry service, valet, one-hour pressing, same day dry cleaning, complimentary shoe shine, full concierge service, and valet parking.
Their dining room is informal and in the morning offers a full English breakfast as well as traditional breakfast menu choices and a large continental breakfast. The restaurant is also open for lunch tea, and dinner, where the menu features seasonal modern British cooking. They also offer an extensive menu in-room dining.
They also offer five additional spaces for meetings, private dining and weddings.
One of the gems of the hotel is their beautiful conservatory overlooking a Zen garden courtyard with a bubbling fountain. The Conservatory is a charming relaxed environment, where you can go sit and unwind or enjoy breakfast, proper afternoon tea, or a sandwich or smoothie, anytime.
If you've indulged in too much afternoon tea you can work it off in the 24 hour modern and well-equipped gym with high-tech cardiovascular equipment, and on-call or in-house specialists in personal training and therapeutic body treatments. If you prefer to be outdoors, Dukes provides jogging routes around neighbouring Green Park and St James's Park.
After which you can go to the Health Club where you can indulge in beauty and therapeutic treatments featuring Dermalogica skin care products or indulge in the hammam (Turkish style steam bath.)
Well-being treatments include: Jet Lag treatments, massages, Classic Facial and Hydro Enzymiatic Sea Mud Wrap.
Dukes Bar is legendary and has been said to have inspired James Bond creator Ian Fleming in coming up with the line 'shaken, not stirred'. Sophisticated and stylish you can sip on a classic cocktail or try one of the legendary dry martinis made by head barman Tony Micelotta, who is an award-winning martini maker. The bar also stocks some of London's oldest Napoleon Cognac. Click here learn how to make your own Legendary Dukes Martini.
Words and pictures don't adequately describe the experience of staying at Dukes Hotel. You just have to go there yourself. I can't recommend it enough. If there were such a thing as a 6 star hotel this one would be a 10. The staff was incredible; professional and friendly. In just a couple of hours it seemed everyone knew my name and were eager to serve me. I was treated like royalty and didn't have to lift a finger to do anything. The ambiance was metropolitan, luxurious and extremely comfortable. It is a distinguished, tranquil and delightful oasis right in the heart of London, yet miles away from the bustle of the city. I didn't want to leave my room and I certainly didn't want to have to leave the hotel. Alas, as they say, all good things must come to an end and they had to drag me out kicking and screaming. But if they ever want to invite me back, I'm just a phone call away.
35 St James's Place
London SW1A 1NY