Category Archives: England

Duke’s Hotel • London, England

Traditional elegance in London

Duke’s Hotel - Lobby

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Dating from the Edwardian era, the elegant Duke’s Hotel evokes an era of ladies and gentleman assembling for candlelit dining and an air of gentility very rare in this modern era.  Although luxe in every way, it is an underplayed and subtle emphasis on comfort, not glitz, an emphasis that has brought guests who return through the years.

Duke’s Hotel - Exterior

Renovated in 2007, Duke’s Hotel guest can now have modern technological conveniences along with their port.  And speaking of port, the world-famous Duke’s Bar has been a cozy gathering place since the turn of the century.  Especially renowned at the bar are the excellent martinis, best sipped while ensconced in the deep softness of the blue velvet armchairs.

The dining room at Duke’s Hotel concentrates on British favorites and has an extensive wine collection that features some remarkable reds.

The renovation has made the guest rooms at Duke’s especially comfortable. They feature rich fabrics and carpets, designer lighting, individually controlled air conditioning, wireless broadband access, satellite channels with flatscreen TV.  Guests are also treated to complimentary newspaper, bottled water and shoe shines.

Duke’s Hotel - Dining room

Duke’s Hotel
Location: 35 St James Place, London, United Kingdom SW1A 1NY; 90 rooms; 16 miles from Heathrow.

Luxury style: Tradition reigns here, but it is of the most comfortable sort.  The straightforward care for guests’ well being has led to several prestigious awards for service, an indicator of true luxury.

What we’ve heard: Duke’s Mayfair location is ideal for shoppers, in the midst swaths of fashionable shops. A long day of sightseeing and shopping can end in the legendary Duke’s Bar, a landmark in its own right.

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Gidleigh Park • Chagford, England

The ultimate country house hotel

Gidleigh Park, Chagford, England

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This magnificent country house dates from 1928 and was the private residence of an Australian shipping baron. The estate was converted to a hotel in the 70’s and began its tradition of hospitality on the highest level. Surrounding the house are the wilds of Dartmoor, lending a contrast between untamed and civilized landscapes.

Enlarged in 2006 to 24 guest rooms and featuring a complete renovation, the decor is inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement that flourished around the time the manse was built.

Guests will enjoy the warmth and comfort of fine wood paneling, richly textured drapes and upholstery and comfy easy chairs and sofas. The verdant views and manicured lawns provide a calming backdrop. The one-of-a-kind flavor of the rooms are complimented by all modern technological conveniences including WiFi and HD flat screen TVs. Bathrooms are marble and graced with Occitane toiletries.

Gidleigh Park, Chagford, England

A highlight of a visit to Gidleigh Park is dining at the hotel’s Michelin 2-star restaurant. The gourmet meals and extensive wine list bring the Gidleigh Park restaurant into the upper tiers of haute cuisine. The blend of modern and classic European cuisine has brought Gidleigh Park countless awards.

Activities on-site include hiking, lawn games, jogging and tennis. Guided walks of the wild and thrilling moor are available. A tour of the 45-acres grounds and gardens of Gidleigh Park can also be arranged. And, of course, breathing the fresh country air is available everywhere.

Gidleigh Park, Chagford, England - golf course

Gidleigh Park
Location: Devon, United Kingdom TQ138HH; adjacent to Dartmoor National Forest.

Luxury style: The relaxed yet traditional luxury of country living is carried out to perfection at Gidleigh Park.

What we’ve heard: A meal at the Michelin-rated restaurant is an experience not to be missed.

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Sanderson Hotel • London, England

A zen-like retreat into a world of fantasy . . .

Sanderson Hotel London, England

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Okay, I’ll admit it. My idea of romantic bliss can be found in Jean Cocteau’s ethereal film of Beauty and the Beast (which has nothing to do with the Disney version). I don’t know what that reveals about me — a yearning to embrace a hidden wildness? — but those surrealist candelabras get me every time. Imagine my delight to learn that there’s a hotel that embodies all of these fantasies and beyond.

Conveniently located in London’s West End, the Sanderson Hotel is set in a landmarked 50’s building. That may not sound so exciting, but it is. You see, the hotel has been transformed by Philippe Starck into a fantastical Cocteau-like dreamworld that doubles as an oasis of comfortable calm. The Sanderson epitomizes a hip “new luxury” that is tempered with a soupçon of wit – a hotel with modern-day sex appeal.

Sanderson hotel lobby

It also boasts a lushly landscaped interior courtyard garden, which may as well be enchanted. It serves as home to Suka, a restaurant created by acclaimed New York chef Zac Pelaccio. Suka offers traditional Malaysian dishes with a dash of influence from the west — in other words, not your usual London fare. Other restaurants include Spoon+ which serves an eclectic mix-and-match menu. Feeling thirsty? The Purple Bar serves cocktails and 150 types of vodka. The Lobby Long Bar offers appetizers, cocktails and martinis. The on-site Agua Spa specializes in hydrotherapy, yoga and massages.

Each of the Sanderson’s 150 guestrooms are uniquely beautiful. They feature sleigh beds, a rug inspired by Voltaire’s handwriting and oil paintings of soothing landscape scenes that are hung on the ceiling. The private bathrooms are encased in a floor-to-ceiling glass box, draped with layers of sheer curtains. All guestrooms boast luxurious 450-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets and pashmina bedthrows. Wireless internet access is available throughout the hotel.

Sanderson hotel bedroom


Sanderson Hotel
Location: 50 Berners Street, London, United Kingdom W1T 3NG; Heathrow International Airport is 24 kilometers away.

Luxury style: Hip, sophisticated, vibrant and unique. You’ve never seen anything like this — except in an art film. Guestrooms are zen comfortable with sleek, understated luxury.

What we’ve heard: Great for solo travelers and couples looking to have a fantastical experience. The comfortable beds ensure your dreamworld experience will continue through the night. The central location is convenient to many tourist attractions including Oxford Street, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus. The stylish staff is attentive and friendly. The English breakfast is especially praised. Words of wisdom: the seating in the Purple Bar is more chic than it is comfortable. For the full experience, upgrade from a standard room — it’s worth it!

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