We really do love it when companies think outside the box and do things a little differently. With its Duchess rooms scheme for solo female guests, picnics in the park and the very bar that saw the conception of Mr Bond’s iconic ‘shaken, not stirred’ martini – well, the DUKES Hotel in Mayfair already likes to challenge expectations. So what’s else could London’s most charming boutique hotel roll out to impress us? How about a partnership with one of London’s most legendary milliners: Lock & Co. Hatters?
The world’s oldest hat shop, no less, Lock & Co. Hatters has been supplying all manner of headgear to the great and the good since 1676. Holding a Royal warrant, customers of the milliners include Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin – in fact, Lock & Co. actually invented the latter’s favourite, the bowler hat. And as Lock & Co. is but a short stroll from the esteemed front doors of DUKES – it’s a partnership that makes perfect sense.
“We feel the two have perfect synergy: both quintessentially British, both transcending the test of time to become a true classic in their respective industries,” say DUKES of the partnership. And so, hotel guests can enjoy a variety of complimentary hat-related services during their stay – ideal for those enjoying the activities of London’s busy social calendar, or perhaps dressing to impress for a wedding or garden party. Choosing a frock is complicated enough, but finding the right hat? If Lock & Co. can’t find that flawless finishing touch, no one can.
During your stay, we’d highly recommend a visit to the hotel’s elegant restaurant, Thirty-Six. Overseen by Nigel Mendham since 2011, the chef’s traditional British style focuses in the best of seasonal produce with an inventive twist and a hint of contemporary refinement. Everything is carefully prepared, beautifully presented and – unusually for a hotel restaurant in Mayfair – actually very competitively priced. If you do fancy trying Ian Fleming’s favourite tipple in the DUKES bar – definitely remember to book. It’s a favourite of non-residents and cocktail fans alike, and you’ve probably got more chance of tea with the Queen than scoring a walk-in table at the DUKES bar sans reservation. There’s a rather bijou Perrier Champagne Lounge though, should you miss out on martinis.
That said, if you do manage to book in a cuppa with Liz, Lock & Co. Hatters can certainly organise suitable hats and offer complimentary millinery services such as changing a band or bow, fitting headpieces or even top hat-shining. You won’t get that at just any boutique hotel. Lock & Co.’s expert staff can advise on styles to suit – whether it’s a pretty feathered fascinator or sophisticated wide-brimmed panama. Since we stopped wearing hats so often, there’s a real sense of occasion to them and to choosing one to match your social engagement. Hurrah for hats, we say!
Nightly rates in a DUKES room at DUKES LONDON start from £311 inclusive of VAT and breakfast, with complimentary upgrade to next room category. For more information please call 020 7491 4840 or visit www.dukeshotel.com.