There's been a lot written about the rise in holidaying on U.K. soil, and with the weather we've been blessed with this summer I'm all in favour. Actually, it was last week the weather took an ugly turn in true British style, but we couldn't have cared less as we packed our bags – all three of us – in preparation for a truly decadent mini-break. We took the closer to home idea to its extreme with a stay at Dukes in St James's for our first wedding anniversary; total travel time 15 mins via Uber. There's something really quite luxurious about checking into a hotel when it isn't at all necessary...
Dukes is all kinds of opposites rolled into one. Charmingly English – Winston Churchill was a neighbour at one point – but not in the least bit stuffy; masculine, dark wood accents are softened by eye-catching, all-white bouquets; and perhaps most pleasingly it lies smack in the middle of St James's yet cleverly tucked away down a sleepy mews followed by another didn't-even-realise-it-was-there turning into an unassuming London pocket.
Dukes opened its doors to four-legged friends as of last autumn, meaning Luna was able to get in on the celebrations too. Actually in a big way: cue ginormous bed waiting for her in our room with a hamper brimming with goodies (the soft toy dog called Dukesy is now number 1 favourite toy at home). Tapping into the love us lunatics have for our furry sidekicks, whilst simultaneously showing a softer side to the hotel is a clever move... Dukes, you're getting this very right.
Luna was treated to her own hamper of goodies,
but it didn't mean she didn't have her eye on ours too
Holidaying on your doorstep gives you license to be a tourist in your own city and stop to appreciate some of London's wonders without rushing woman syndrome. We took hotel bikes past Buckingham Palace and round St James's Park, Green Park (disclaimer: as I left the park I'm pretty certain I saw a sign saying there's a fine for cycling so definitely check that out first – thank god a bike traffic warden didn't put a damper on our stay!) And later that evening we walked along Pall Mall to Covent Garden for a surprise dinner Ols had booked at the newly opened Henrietta Hotel (the head chef is Oliver Dabbous and it is sensational).
Having a check in time of 2pm and checkout of midday the next day made all the difference in being able to make the most of the hotel. Whilst we could revel in a slow start Monday morning with a massive breakfast in bed and some fascinating childrens TV (it's literally another world), we also had time to squeeze in a trip to the health club for a speedy steam room session.
I'm planning a few more closer-to-home excursions to (fingers crossed) savour the British rays in the next coupe of months and putting the time and funds towards further afield escapes later in the year (with exciting New Years plans already taking shape). Watch this space...
Thank you for having us Dukes and looking after us so well. All opinions, styling etc my own.