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Covid-19 Latest Updates

Thursday, 21st May 2020

Dear DUKES LONDON friends,

As we continue to navigate our way through the daily challenges the pandemic throws at us, I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones remain healthy. Perhaps you are managing to improve your levels of fitness with daily exercise which the Department of Health is actively encouraging us all to do because of the positive effects it can have on one’s physical and mental state, which are particularly important to look after during the lockdown period.

After almost 8 weeks of full-scale lockdown, the past week’s Covid-19 recovery strategy announced by the UK government highlighted a schedule which is intended to guide businesses on how to adapt to a new way of operating ahead of lockdown rules soon being relaxed. This brings both relief and a new set of challenges as we can now begin to prepare to reopen DUKES LONDON. Sadly it is still too early to confirm an actual date when we can reopen our doors to welcome you back, however, the good news is that the hardest times seem to be behind us and we are just setting out on a slow but steady road back to recovery.

As Winston Churchill, himself a onetime local St James’s resident, famously said:

“If you’re going through hell, keep going”.

In anticipation of opening our doors again, we would like to invite all of our DUKES LONDON friends to respond to this newsletter and share your favourite memory of a recent stay with us. Was there a specific member of our team who made your visit to the hotel extra special? Did one of our staff go above and beyond? Or did you celebrate a memorable occasion in our GBR (Great British Restaurant) or DUKES Bar? If so we would love to hear from you so that we can share it with our team & boost their spirits, as they wait to return to work.

Whatever the happy memory, we would love to hear your stories of those personal and cherished moments at DUKES LONDON, and if you have any pictures to accompany your story we would love to see them.

As a thank you for you sharing your favourite DUKES LONDON memories with us, the best entry will win a complimentary two night stay for two guests, with Full English Breakfast and a welcome cocktail & canapés at GBR and subject to availability, we will upgrade your stay to one of our Luxury Suites.

This competition closes on 1st June 2020 and the winners will be announced on 2nd June 2020.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming you back to DUKES LONDON, which with everything going to plan, will hopefully be in July 2020. All the latest updates will be posted on the website so please do keep an eye out. Until that day, stay well, and stay alert. With warm wishes from the DUKES LONDON team.

We are in this together.

Paul Skinner
General Manager
DUKES LONDON

Thursday, 7th May 2020

Dear DUKES LONDON friends,

As we enter the month of May, I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are both safe and well, as we continue to adapt to a new way of life.

It saddens me that today’s newsletter marks seven weeks to the day that DUKES LONDON has been closed to the public, as a result of the global impact of COVID-19.

Thankfully, the media have reported that in parts of Asia some hospitality businesses are starting to reopen their properties which give us some light at the end of this tunnel. There is also some indication that in parts of Europe, hotels, restaurants and bars are intending to reopen for business in the coming weeks. I am therefore at least able to draw some comfort from this news and turn my attention to the new processes and measures we will need to have in place at DUKES LONDON so we are best prepared to reopen our hotel when it is considered safe to do so, ensuring that our colleagues and customers well-being is paramount.

I anticipate that certain social distancing measures will remain common place for some time to come. It will be critical to the success of our reopening that extra safety measures are in place to give our colleagues and customers the assurance and confidence that we are providing the necessary level of cleanliness and personal protection.

Since DUKES LONDON first opened its doors to the public back in 1908, we have built our reputation on providing a traditional warm, friendly and people focused style of luxury hospitality. When the day comes for us to reopen and welcome you back, you will notice that we will have introduced a number of best practice standards to ensure the safety of colleagues and customers, without compromising on our service values. We hope you will be able to adapt to these changes with us.

With the team's support the following new best practise initiatives and standards (but not limited to) are being developed for all our well-being and safety.

New Best Practise Initiatives and Standards

  • Extra disinfection of the most frequently touched guest room locations, light switches, door handles, TV remotes, bathroom taps and thermostats
  • Sanitizing of the DUKES LONDON traditional bedroom door keys every time they are returned to the Reception team
  • Touch free hand sanitizer stations in the lobby and public areas of the hotel
  • Furniture in public areas and outlets to be re-arranged to allow more space and distancing
  • De-clutter paper amenities in bedrooms, removal of pens and pads of paper, guest directories and magazines, these items would be available upon request
  • Restrict the number of guests allowed to travel in the lifts to one at a time unless known to one and other
  • Room Service orders only delivered to your bedroom door
  • Disposable menus and takeaway options available
  • Resident guests to book a time they wish to have their room serviced, only whilst they are out of the room and turndown service only upon request
  • Necessity to book a time slot to utilise the Health Club
  • After every guest departure an ozone machine will be placed in the bedroom to effectively sanitize the whole space.
  • And other best practice standards to ensure our general equipment is maintained to the highest level of sanitation

As our industry moves forward, we will no doubt come under extreme scrutiny to ensure that we deliver the highest possible level of cleaning and sanitation. I am therefore immensely grateful and proud that DUKES LONDON has such a dedicated Housekeeping team, superbly lead by KK Prabakaran. With his wealth of experience in the industry at the highest level, his work with the UK Housekeepers Association (UKHA) along with his recent personal achievements in 2019, notably being shortlisted for ‘Housekeeper of the Year’ in the Hotel Cateys .

We have the necessary personal to ensure that our hotel will continue to be maintained to the very highest level of cleanliness and sanitation.

Earlier this week, I spoke to Lorraine Dale, National Chairperson at the UK Housekeepers Association (UKHA) , to hear her thoughts on the future of Housekeeping in the hotel industry.

Here is what Lorraine Dale has to say on the topic:

Interview with Lorraine Dale

What initiatives are you and your colleagues at the UKHA currently working on?

As an Association we want our members to feel supported throughout this very challenging time and we may not know the answers but we do know that we will all pull together. We want to instil public confidence and give assurance that the hospitality industry will embraced a “new normal” level of rigorous cleanliness and hygiene measures.

As an Association we do not make the policies as some of the larger organisations/brands however we are there to try and support every one of our members.

As National Chair I am working closely with several different Industry organisations to see how we can help and coordinate rigorous cleanliness and hygiene measures - which will allow our guests to make an informed choice based on confidence in the new cleanliness standards.

Whilst we understand that some of the large organisations may be leaps ahead we want to support all of our Housekeepers to share ideas and to work together to get through these unusual times.

We will all be questioning our cleaning methods whilst trying to protect all of our staff this will be through webinars, forums and joint discussions.

We want to look at ways to support staff in the cleaning industry whilst giving our customers the reassurance that it is now requires and to ensure the safety of our team members which is paramount at this time.

What makes this specific sector of our industry so special?

Our Housekeepers and their teams have a huge a passion for Housekeeping and providing a clean safe environment for staff to work and guests to stay and we want to keep this feeling alive, we don’t want them to be frightened to return to work.

This can only happen if we make it safe from the time we enter the building until the time they go home.

How do you anticipate the future of our industry to look like?

The UKHA wants to open these conversations up to our members and to encourage being open-minded, be ready for change.

We need to understand that our guests will now want to see us in the workplace as this will reassure them.

We also understand that this will have an impact for a variety of reasons: Guest perceptions, budgets and time, and most importantly on our staff. This is now an ideal opportunity for us to raise the top, raising our profiles by just doing what we do best - caring for our guest.

Over the next few weeks we will be looking to start a UKHA Webinar to host Q and A’s, talk about good practices and returning to the new “norm” (but not limited to).

At this stage we are all in the brain storming stage as we don’t have the answers. It’s currently a developing area and we are all learning or at least trying to understand the next steps.

We are not the decision makers in this however we are working with like-minded people and other agencies to ensure we have a well round overview.

Please keep looking at our website for further updates.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming you back to DUKES LONDON when it is safe to do so, until that day, stay well, with warm wishes from our DUKES LONDON family.

We are in this together.

Paul Skinner
General Manager
DUKES LONDON

Monday, 27th April 2020

Dear DUKES LONDON friends,

I sincerely hope that my message finds you both safe and well despite the challenging times we are facing in our personal and business environments.

During this unusual time we find ourselves in, staying at home for what seems like weeks on end may feel frustrating, tiresome and repetitive to some. I, for one, have certainly at times lost track of which day it is. However, I am taking this opportunity to pause and appreciate some of the good things in life; such as spending more time with my family, connecting with long distance friends and the arrival of Spring. This month, in the Greater London neighbourhood, instead of experiencing the usual April showers, we have been enjoying some unseasonably fine weather, a sign of new beginnings to come perhaps. Blue skies, blue bell woods, birds nesting, yellow rape fields and new-born lambs are all familiar signs that in the face of uncertainty, Mother Nature will continue to flourish and support us. The longer days and warmer temperatures are increasing our energy levels, and helping us to feel more vibrant, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

In the words of Audrey Hepburn, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”.

DUKES LONDON is busy preparing for the day when it is safe once again to open its doors. At GBR (Great British Restaurant), Executive Head Chef Nigel Mendham and his team are refreshing all our menus which will take you on a tour of the British Isles offering a taste of the most authentic regional dishes.

Likewise, our Meetings & Private Dining, Drawing Room and In-Room Dining menus are being revisited to reflect the wonderful and diverse seasonal produce our British farmers work hard to produce throughout the year. This also goes to our renowned ‘Picnic in the Park’ offering and this year, for the first time, we will be joining forces with a very exciting partner soon to be announced, taking your Picnic Butler service to a whole new level.

And last but not least, naturally, Alessandro Palazzi and the DUKES Bar team are perfecting their pouring skills and looking forward to the day they greet you with their famous Martini trolley.

To continue recognising our National Health Service heroes and key workers across all industries, as of today and for the next 90 days, for every online voucher purchased, an extra six months validity will be offered (making it valid for a total duration of 18 months). DUKES LONDON will donate the profit generated to the National Health Service and Hospitality Action.

Online Voucher

To find how can you support these organisations, please click on the below:
National Health Service | Hospitality Action

Last but not least, I want to recognise my team at DUKES LONDON for being shortlisted for the World Travel Awards 2020, in the category ‘Leading Boutique Hotel’.

Please click on the ‘VOTE NOW’ button below to place your vote.

Vote Now

You will be asked to log in or register an account and the poll will be live until Sunday, 10th May 2020

Stay well, with warm wishes from our DUKES LONDON family.

We are in this together.

Paul Skinner
General Manager
DUKES LONDON

Friday, 17th April 2020

Dear DUKES LONDON friends,

I sincerely hope that this message finds you safe and well despite the significant disruption we are facing in our domestic lives and to our businesses.

The seriousness and sheer scale of the COVID-19 crisis is becoming even more starkly apparent and times like these call upon all of us to seek and make a difference in our local communities and I believe that as a business we will be judged on the basis of our contribution. DUKES LONDON is proud to be contributing to charitable support for both the NHS and Hospitality Action. Certain team members also completed a sponsored 5K Run for Heroes and shared Easter treats with our neighbours.

My message of Friday 20th March stated that DUKES LONDON would close for an initial period of one month at which time we would review the situation. With international travel remaining on-hold, country borders still closed and the UK government extending the country’s period of lockdown for a further three weeks, we have decided to remain closed for at least another month.

Let us not overlook what we can at least be grateful for during these troubled times. DUKES LONDON is blessed with family and friends who deeply care for and support the hotel. We could not get through this crisis without them, and I wish to thank you so very much for your kind messages of encouragement which are very much appreciated. We are equally grateful and delighted to announce that DUKES LONDON has been shortlisted by Condé Nast Traveler 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards and please click on the ‘VOTE NOW’ button below to place your vote.

Vote Now

You will be asked to log in or register an account and the poll will be live until Tuesday, 30th June 2020

I am sure that I was not the only one who was moved and inspired by Her Majesty The Queen’s recent Easter message, encouraging determination and resilience and I am also confident that we will meet again when all this is over; we are all in this together.

Stay well, with warm wishes from our DUKES LONDON family.

Paul Skinner
General Manager
DUKES LONDON

Wednesday, 8th April 2020

Dear DUKES LONDON friends,

On behalf of everyone at DUKES LONDON, I hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe currently as this global situation continues to consume our daily lives.

As we approach the Easter weekend celebration, I thought it was appropriate to share with you that the first chocolate Easter eggs were created in France and Germany in the early 19th century. These eggs were solid as the technology for producing hollow shells had not been developed. It didn’t take long for a certain John Cadbury to enter the industry of mass-producing hollow milk chocolate Easter eggs however in 1875 the cream egg was possibly just a figment of his imagination!

During these times of uncertainty DUKES LONDON is proud to support the work undertaken by Hospitality Action’s COVID-19 Emergency Appeal.

The charity Hospitality Action is coordinating an emergency appeal to support UK hospitality workers impacted by the widespread job losses and closures the coronavirus has caused. Thanks to the amazing generosity of the UK public, countless businesses and hundreds of fellow hospitality workers, the fund now stands at a staggering £260,000. However, there is still so much more that needs to be done. Hospitality Action received over 30,000 applications for their one-off hardship grant of £250 within hours of the scheme launching and further funds are urgently being sought. If you can make a donation, no matter how large or small, please click on the following button:

Looking to the future, we are missing our valued guests, clients and friends, and will continue to evaluate when we are once again able to open our doors as soon as it is safe to do so.

If you are missing the DUKES Bar, this quote from James Bond will hopefully provide some consolation. ‘A dry martini’, he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet…..just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka and half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?’

Stay well, with warm wishes from our DUKES LONDON family.

Paul Skinner
General Manager
DUKES LONDON

Wednesday, 1st April 2020

Dear DUKES LONDON friends,

April is the cruellest month, wrote T. S. Eliot at the beginning of his great poem ‘The Wasteland’. April for me has always been the loveliest of months, with spring flowers at their best, the blossom out, and Easter coming. A hundred years later that phrase has a new resonance, for as spring bursts into life around us, we are plunged into a global crisis as surprising as it is challenging.

Many are frightened by what’s happening, not only for the consequences for their health and the health of those they care about, but because most of us have enjoyed extraordinary safety and security in the course of our lives, most untouched by war (the under 80s, that is), or the worst kinds of material want, or by rampaging disease. So to be suddenly confronted by a viral threat so great our lives start to change dramatically, day by day, is unnerving and makes us anxious.

Where do we turn when we are anxious? To the institutions that look durable. DUKES LONDON may have temporally closed its doors, the well-being of our staff and valued guests and families have become our sole objective. With the grateful support from the Government we have currently retained our entire team, thank you to those of you who have sent us kind messages of support and encouragement, these words have maintained the teams morale during these extremely difficult times.

Please be assured that although we are not able to welcome you personally to DUKES LONDON, we will keep in regular contact and update you on the creative and innovative plans and ideas we are working on.

A vitally important initiative the DUKES LONDON team is actively involved with is to recognise the amazing work which the National Health Service is currently undertaking around the clock. Our team members are volunteering their time, signing up as NHS volunteer responders providing vital support to those currently most at risk from the virus, providing telephone support, collecting shopping and medication or other essential supplies for someone who is having to self-isolate.

I look forward to keeping in regular contact with you and send you the very warmest of wishes from our DUKES LONDON family.

Paul Skinner
General Manager
DUKES LONDON

Friday, 20th March 2020

Dear DUKES LONDON guests, clients and friends,

In a fast-changing crisis we have been working round the clock to ensure that our guests and staff are kept as safe as possible. New government restrictions mean that, with heavy hearts, we have taken the decision to close the hotel for the short term.

What this means is that DUKES LONDON will close on Friday, 20th March at 12pm for a duration of one month, at which time we will review our position. While our doors are closed we will be dreaming up new menus for GBR (Great British Restaurant), keeping our Martini glasses chilled just so, perfecting our picnics, titivating our Afternoon Teas, and ensuring that every part of the hotel is maintained with love and care, ready to welcome you back with open arms.

If you already have reservations with us, we ask you to email our Reservations team at [email protected] with the date of your reservation in the subject line. We will be working hard to respond to all of you in date order of your reservation. Any pre-paid reservations will be converted into credit to re-book at DUKES LONDON as soon as we are up and running once more.

In anticipation of re-opening, we encourage all guests to rebook their stay with us. Bookings made between now and 31st May for stays between 1st June and 31st August will receive a 20% discount on the Best Flexible Rate. Contact our Reservations team at [email protected] to take advantage of this super offer and assure your place back in the DUKES LONDON family this summer.

At this extraordinarily difficult time our hearts go out to our guests, clients and staff alike - as well as to the travel and hospitality industries worldwide: businesses so badly affected and working so hard to weather the storm. By keeping safe, we will ride this wave together and we look forward to celebrating summer with you once our doors are finally open again.

With warm wishes from our DUKES LONDON family,

Paul Skinner
General Manager
DUKES LONDON

BOOK DIRECT

Book direct with us and enjoy a £40.00 Food Credit in GBR (Great British Restaurant).

* Valid for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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