Dukes Hotel

35 St James's Pl, London SW1A 1NY

Tucked away among the wine merchants and gentlemen’s outfitters of St James’s, the quintessentially British Dukes appears as part of a more traditional, civilised world. Yet for all its gentility, the hotel is unstuffy, with friendly staff skillfully balancing heritage comforts and mod cons.

There are 90 elegant bedrooms and suites but the public areas are where it’s really at. Ian Fleming was a regular visitor to the bar, which is reportedly where he came up with Bond’s classic ‘shaken, not stirred’ line, and the martinis remain noteworthy. Alternatively, take afternoon tea in the Drawing Room or retire to the secluded Cognac and Cigar Garden. Book a Duchess Room if you’re after something more feminine. These beautifully designed spaces have more elegant touches and are tailored towards female business or leisure guests. The food here is excellent. Chef Nigel Mendham has built quite the reputation for his modern British menus featuring pristine seasonal ingredients at restaurant Thirty Six.

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