SW1A 1NY Travel Guide
If you’re in London today, you’ll have noticed that not many other people are. You may also have noticed that most of the shops have sold out of food like we’re about to have an apocalypse. Two things that might make you venture over to Dukes for Christmas dinner.
Because this isn’t just any Christmas dinner. The restaurant, 36, is doing an eight bird roast - in the words of the hotel:
a turkey stuffed with a goose, stuffed with a pheasant, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a guinea fowl and so on!
Or as we outside of the five star hotel business say, a turducken.
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Following in the footsteps of Copenhagen's Bella Sky Comwell, who devised an all-female floor to cater to XX chromosome guests, another hotel is stepping things up for the ladies, this time in London. The Dukes Hotel has anointed some of its suites "Duchess Rooms," themed to attract women clientele.
While this kind of marketing ploy was recently ruled illegal in the Danish capital, London is willfully flaunting notions of political correctness by providing a package of clichéd feminine perks to "tempt single female travelers or groups of women," according to the NY Daily News.
It might be freezing in London right now but the DUKES LONDON (yep, all caps now) won’t let the cold stop its guests having a good time. The hotel has decided to keep its new Cognac and Cigar Garden open for the Winter. That’s right cognac cocktails and cigars outside, just make sure you bring your snowsuits!
The garden opens at 8pm and closes at midnight and don't fret about actually bringing ski clothes with you. The hotel assures us the outdoor bar is heated. But to be on the safe side, bring your thickest mittens just in case.
From now until January 31, guests who book the penthouse suite will enjoy a rare showcase of Herend porcelain ornaments. They will also receive free admission to the Royal Academy of Arts’ Treasures of Budapest exhibition.
The hotel is even renaming the suite “The Herend Penthouse”. We aren’t sure what James Bond would have to say about this and we’re not quite sure what to say either. We haven’t come across anything like this before.
On our last stop at the Dukes Hotel in London, we were most interested in the masterful martinis getting mixed there, but now we're ready to take a look at the hotel as a whole. So was the Irish Independent who gave it a pretty favorable review over the weekend.
They recommend booking the penthouse room if you can. It's 700 square feet of luxury with a 7 foot bed and a view over the park from a private balcony. With a rack rate of £1,100 (it's almost too scary to convert that, but it works out at almost US$2,200), the penthouse isn't for everyone, but it's always nice to dream.
Dukes is getting press right now because it's the 100th anniversary of James Bond creator Ian Fleming's birth--and Ian Fleming was a regular at Dukes. Get it?
A fairly tenuous link, but there's a big Bond exhibition tying in at the Imperial War Museum, plus the hotel's offering a Bond About Town package which includes room, a classy wet shave for him, a "Miss Moneypenny manicure" for her, dinner, breakfast, late checkout and--of course--a martini. The base rate for Bond About Town is £450 (US$890). But that's a really good martini.
The best hotel bartenders are really making the scene lately. First we had Mr. Hoy Wong the 89-year-old Algonquin Hotel bartender, now the Boston Herald's done a piece on a world-class martini-making charmer in London's Dukes Hotel. Tony Micelotta (featured in OK! magazine a few months ago) apparently whips up, up to 100 martinis a day. He'll make a great classic but if you're in the mood for something a little exotic, he'll probably recommend his saffron martini. Hell, the spice is worth more than gold so the drink ought to be good.
Micelotta's tips for the perfect martini include putting glasses in the freezer a few hours before use. Also, vodka or gin should be kept in the freezer at least 24 hours before serving.
Aside from the famed bartender, the Dukes Hotel is just one of those places with a great staff that is "purposely low-key (and not at all snooty.) But to be frank, this martini is going to cost you--nearly $30.00 so we for damn sure hope it's worth it.