In St James’s, a neighborhood not wanting for luxury boltholes, Dukes sets itself apart with coziness and clubby service. It’s virtually hidden near Green Park in a tight lane beside Spencer House—so no views—which makes this 1908 classic feel like it exists in a world of its own. Beds are big and soft; bathrooms have those fancy mechanized Asian toilets; hallways wind and creak the way you’d want them to. Make a table reservation for the deservedly popular bar—Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, is often said to have been a regular, so tourists flock to it. Potables are freshly mixed on a wooden trolley at your table, but do not order your martini the Bond way—“shaken, not stirred”—because it's widely considered a recipe for ruining the vodka. Drinks in there are £21 (but skimp on nothing); the rooms upstairs, however, are much more affordable than they ought to be. To think that Premier Inn sometimes charges the same prices (before VAT) as this pocket miracle—it boggles the mind. Let this be our secret.
35 St James’s Place, SW1
Our Rating Neighborhood St James's Phone 020/7491-4840 Prices Rooms from £260–£345 Amenities Restaurant; bar; fitness center; morning newspaper; free Wi-Fi (superfast Wi-Fi is extra) Units 90 units Web site Dukes Hotel