Dubai's latest hotel opening is a thoroughly British affair. Lisa Haynes checks into Dukes Dubai for a slice of London on the Palm

I'm 3,400 miles away from my doorstep but the familiar Liberty print
gracing my bedspread is making me feel right at home.

I've checked into the newly opened Dukes Dubai and as well as the
cacophony of Liberty florals clashing perfectly on the bed, I'm greeted
with freshly baked pink macaroons sitting pretty in a glass bell jar and
a sausage dog statue (Dukesy, the hotel mascot) holding a personalised
welcome card in his mouth.

Tired and hungry after travelling, I open the mini-fridge to discover a
daily free bar of chilled Dairy Milk. I'm in heaven.

I'm in one of 20 exquisitely appointed rooms on the ladies-only Duchess
floor, specifically aimed at women travelling solo. And unless given
advance warning (I need a tweak from an air-con engineer), the only
staff servicing your rooms are female.

On day two, my housekeeper, Sushma, whips up the most extravagant towel
animal I've ever seen in the shape of Dukesy the dachshund.

Dukes Dubai is the new Emirati sister of Dukes London, a Mayfair hotel
steeped in British charm, which celebrates its centenary next year.
Located on the super-luxe artificial archipelago Palm Jumeirah, the
hotel may have stepped up the glamour in line with the more-is-more
Dubai aesthetic - think acres of white marble and jaw-dropping
chandeliers - but it retains its British backbone and sense of

Walls are lined with black-and-white images of London landmarks and old
school phone boxes, while lobby bookshelves house leather-bound
traditional works, such as Oliver Twist and the Waverley Novels.

"We've really brought a quintessential British experience to Dubai,"
says Debrah Dhugga, managing director of Dukes Collection, who's flown
back and forth monthly between Dukes London and Dubai for two years to oversee the launch.

"In Dubai, there will always be the glitz and the glam, but Dukes Dubai
is more about the level of service and attention to detail."

Dukes has gone to (London) town to source a best-of-British offering for
hotel guests who want a slice of home during their stay. Luxe bathroom
toiletries are by Floris London (aka Her Majesty's official perfumer),
cheese has been drafted in from one of London's oldest cheesemongers,
Paxton and Whitfield, and the breakfast spread is made even more
decadent with English bone china from William Edwards.

But the hotel hasn't gone overboard with everyday items like bottled
water, which is sourced locally.

Head chefs at GBR - the Great British Restaurant brasserie that's new
across Dukes Dubai and London - aren't afraid to introduce subtle local
flavours to traditional British cuisine, either. My freshly baked, warm
bread arrives peppered with a dark red spice that I can't put my finger
on until I'm informed that it's sumac, a Middle Eastern spice that gives
off a citrusy taste.

"Our most popular dishes so far seem to be the British comfort foods,
like Lancashire hotpot, cottage pie and fish and chips, which isn't
necessarily what you expect in Dubai," says Graeme Dodrill, head chef of

"We want to reflect seasonality in the dishes, too. We definitely make
good use of produce like English asparagus when it's in season."

I indulge in a British triple whammy of prawn cocktail starter, Dover
sole main (another bestseller) and Walnut Whip dessert. Shaken but not
stirred by a full tummy, I retire to the bar in search of another Dukes
London signature export - the famous dry martinis, said to be the
inspiration behind James Bond's favourite drink.

Bar staff have been meticulously trained by Duke London's head barman
Alessandro Palazzi to serve up the perfect Dukes martini - all with a
dash of theatre from a tableside trolley.

If you can prise yourself from that Liberty bedding (not easy), you can
continue the London-meets-Dubai experience with a trip to Fortnum &
Mason - their first overseas store sits opposite the Burj Khalifa, the
world's tallest building.

But then Dukes Dubai has the whole tea-and-scones thing licked, too.
Though I arrive during the soft-launch phase, Dhugga gives me a sneak
peek at the hotel's tea lounge, cigar lounge and hair salon headed up by
yet another British export, Toni&Guy. Traditional Indian restaurant
Khyber is also scheduled to open this month.

Though not all the staff at Dukes Dubai are British, there is a familiar
mix of accents - from cut-glass English through to Mancunian - that make you feel a bit like royalty. Right up until you say "cheerio" at


:: Lisa Haynes was a guest of Dukes Dubai ( As a
special opening offer, standard rooms start from 959 Arab Emirates
dirhams (just over £200) per night, including breakfast for two.