Lifestyle Review: British Staycation at Dukes
Should you have ever fancied yourself as being in a James Bond movie, but not ever fancied either (a) being spray-painted gold and murdered or (b) being lobbed into a swimming pool full of hungry-looking (aren’t they all?) sharks, then let us take this opportunity to point you in the direction of Dukes Hotel.
Freshly opened on the Palm, just next door to the Fairmont, it offers all the glamour of something out of 007, shares a lot in the way of its DNA, and essentially guarantees you will also leave it, well, alive. Being a Bond girl for the weekend? "We thought you’d never ask," we said when we were invited for a stay recently. And here’s all the intel we managed to dig up (in between bouts of being generally indulged and lazy, and stuffing our faces, of course).
There’s an argument that James Bond would never have existed were it not for Dukes Hotel. Or, at the very least, wouldn’t have been half as cool. It was at the bar at the original Dukes, in London’s Mayfair, that Bond author Ian Fleming would sit and write his hugely popular novels. And it was at this bar where, famously, 007’s iconic, shaken-not-stirred beverage of choice was first invented. Hence the amazing bar set-up in its Dubai sister hotel (the only one of its kind outside of London). But we’ll get to that in a bit.
Dukes is a hotel brand that has long been synonymous with the A-list, in particular those looking to relax away from the glare of the paparazzi flashbulbs. We once spent a week in the London version with Mickey Rourke, who claims it is his favourite hotel. During Mickey’s stay he was kept away from prying eyes and – surprisingly – managed to cause minimal damage. By our count, just one plant pot, and our sanity.
Dukes Dubai has lashings of proper British grub, and proper tasty prices, and with proper British ingredients. As Executive chef Martin Cahill tells us, “We won’t compromise on our ingredients. We have flown in the best of the best, whether that’s the salmon or the lamb.” In terms of the menu, think along the lines of the Ivy, but with bells on. From classic ‘70s prawn cocktails to belting roasts to delicious sticky toffee pudding, this place is like a home from home - if your mum was, like, a professional chef. Opening soon is also an Indian restaurant, Kyber, which will sit high up above the swimming pool that lies between the two main towers. And there’s also an afternoon tea lounge and West 14th steakhouse on offer, too. Yum.
Sat just next to West 14th is a cracking bar and pool, while inside the hotel, the stunning and spacious rooms are wall-to-wall with all the latest gadgets (appropriately enough). And then there’s that beautiful bar serving 007’s drink of choice, on the mezzanine floor. Oh, and what’s right next to that? Toni & Guy, so you can pamper yourself and chill at the same time. Factor in a great kids’ club, a terrific family BBQ brunch and a classy cigar lounge, and this is a place that caters for not only your needs but everyone else’s too. Mission accomplished indeed. INFO: Prices vary, Dukes Dubai, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, 04 455 1111, dukesdubai.com