The Phantom of the Opera hits London (again!)

The title card for The Phantom Of The OperaNext month, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s world-renowned production of The Phantom of the Opera will be performed in the West End for a record-breaking twenty-sixth year.

Performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre, the iconic Haymarket venue which originally opened in 1705 before a redesign to its current guise in 1897, the Phantom has had outstanding success around the globe, being played to more than 100 million viewers in 25 different countries, in addition to its spiritual home in the West End of London.

The Gaston Leroux novel, penned in 1909, has become one of the best known theatre shows in the world since its adaptation to the stage and debut production in 1986.

For those who do not know the plot, the setting is 19th Century France, where the masked and mysterious figure of the Phantom falls deeply in love with Christine Daaé, a beautiful Soprano singer at the Paris Opera House. Upon helping her rise to become the star of the show through his tutoring, events take a turn for the worse as Christine unmasks him and is horrified by what she sees. After his protégé falls in love with Raoul, her childhood friend and the Vicomte de Chagny, jealousy consumes the Phantom. He kidnaps her in order to make her his eternal bride, leading to a sinister and dramatic conclusion.

A truly unmissable production in a historic and beautiful theatre, it has been described by the Daily Mail as “Still the most exciting musical in London” a sign of its timeless appeal.

After enjoying the show, why not treat yourself by heading our way and retiring to one of our exclusive suites? Often having amazon discounts, surely that’s a great reason to visit the capital this spring?

We’ve had a makeover for 2013!

Major refurbishment of both bedrooms and walkways has helped to give our hotel a subtle new design for 2013.

Refurbished bedrooms designed by Sandy Deane Interiors, and walkway interiors specially created by Shaun Clarkson, have given DUKES a luxurious makeover whilst keeping the hotel’s well-loved five star charm and elegance intact.

A snapshot of our refurbished suitesFollowing a four-month refurbishment programme by our longstanding design team, Sandy Deane Interiors, 50 of the hotel bedrooms now contain the latest range of FR-One designs; The Prism Collection.

Each of our newly refurbished bedrooms have been designed using a different colour scheme, featuring rich textures. The new bedrooms all feature matt satin with vintage décor, and help to make the bedrooms more elegant than ever before.

Other sophisticated colour schemes in the new bedrooms cater for all tastes. The colour schemes include zinc and grape, quail and plum, and for a more masculine tone, marine and port.

Shaun Clarkson, a world renowned designer who has previously worked in some of the best hotels in the world, also refurbished the Perrier-Jouët Lounge at DUKES in 2011. You can see some of his other projects here.

The finishing touches will soon be added to the hotel’s walkways and lift interiors, completing the renovations.

The features help to convey the highest luxury at affordable prices and a relaxing place to spend the night after taking in the sights of London.

With rooms and suites available for a variety of budgets, why not come and experience them for yourself?

The Dog in the Night hits the Apollo Theatre

An external shot of the Apollo Theatre, LondonMark Haddon’s debut publication, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,’ has become one of the most celebrated mystery novels since its release in 2003, winning multiple awards including the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book. This March, it is coming to life on the Apollo Theatre stage.

The story is that of a fifteen year old boy called Christopher who is stood beside Mr Shear’s dead dog. The dog appears to have been speared by a garden fork. The time is seven minutes past midnight and Christopher is under suspicion.

Christopher Boone is a bright teenager, whose symptoms and behaviour suggest a mild form of autism. However, his extraordinary brain and exceptional maths skill will equip him to solve and interpret the mystery of who killed Mr Wellington. Christopher has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, hates being touched and distrusts all strangers. Yet with his detective work, his investigation unravels the unexpected discovery of his family’s real history, something that his father was determined to keep concealed.

Upon its’ release a decade ago, Haddon’s novel was an immediate success, earning critical acclaim from international media such as the New York Times, and noted authors including Ian McEwan.

To date, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime has been published in more than 35 countries and is an international bestseller. In the UK, it has sold more than 2.6 million copies, making it the 3rd best-selling book of the past decade.

Olivier Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens has adapted Mark Haddon’s novel for the stage and Marianne Elliot, who has worked with the National Theatre since 2005, will be directing the production.

This engaging and highly acclaimed production will run from the 1st March to 31st August at the historic Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.

After shadowing Christopher through his strange and mysterious journey, why not enjoy a wonderful night in one of our exclusive suites? They’re the perfect way to end a wonderful day!

Image courtesy of KF

It’s Chinese New Year: join in the year of the snake celebrations!

Chinese New Year celebrations in LondonKung Hei Fat Choi stands for Happy New Year in Chinese, and every year hundreds of thousands of people descend into London’s West End to wish each other a Happy Chinese New Year.

London’s celebrations are renowned for being the largest outside of Asia, offering people a taste of Chinese culture including a gravity defying lion dance, fireworks, Chinese nourishment, and an array of professional performances. The UK will commemorate the Year of the Snake, which focusses on action, change, innovation and achievement.

After a New Year’s parade around the West End, the celebration will officially start with a traditional Eye dotting ceremony, which will take place midday in Trafalgar Square. Dignitaries will include the Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiao Ming and the Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture Munira Mirza. A spectacular firecracker display will signify the start of the Chinese celebrations with music, dance and acrobatics.

Chinatown will be the centre of the New Year party, and the area will be overflowing with crowds, but there will be lots of activity including food and craft stalls that will line the streets, along with a lion dance that will meander through the public, stopping at restaurants and stores with the will to wish them good luck for the year.

For the Chinese communities in London and across the world, the Chinese New Year is a huge and very important festival for their culture. The festival is based on the lunar and solar calendars and each year the Chinese calendar is represented by one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

On 10th February at 10am the parade will begin in Trafalgar Square and the colourful floats and beating of the drums can be followed through Chinatown ending in Rupert Street at 11am. At 12pm on the main stage in Trafalgar Square the Ambassador and the Deputy Mayor will commence the Dotting of the Eye ceremony. Between 1pm and 5:30pm live performances from Hong Kong singer-songwriter Emmy The Great and a breath-taking performance by the famous Chen Brothers will entertain the crowds. Paul Potts and performers from the Guangdong and Sichuan Provinces will also be a part of the line-up for live entertainment. Finally at 5:55pm a dazzling firework display will signify the end of the day’s celebrations.

Whatever time you come, whatever you buy, you can be assured that you will be entertained by the festivities, but after a packed schedule why not properly wind down with one of DUKES’ world-famous martinis over in our stunning Bar?

Below you can see the highlights of last year’s event:

Image courtesy of Paul