London Jazz Festival

Marked ‘one of the best jazz festivals in the world’ according to the Guardian, London’s Jazz Festival returns to mark its 21st birthday from 15th to 24th November.  Consisting of more than 250 shows over a ten-day period, the festival takes place in a variety of beautiful venues across the city, including London’s hub of cultural arts, the hip Southbank Centre.

The festival offers a perfect mix of classic artists who have helped to write the history of jazz, and new, exciting talent shaping the future of the genre.  The London Jazz Festival will be showcasing amazing artists from all over the world, including some of the very best talent the UK has to offer.  The event does much to showcase the city’s network of different cultures and communities, all of which are united by the electric atmosphere.

This event is not to be missed by all ardent jazz fans.  Highlights of this year’s programme include the opening night gala, Stan Sulzmann’s Neon Orchestra, and Madeleine Peyroux.  For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit: www.londonjazzfestival.org.uk .

Why not extend the experience by dropping into DUKES London after a show, to relax and recharge with 20% off all Classic and Superior rooms on weekends in November. Or to really get into the swing visit DUKES Bar beforehand for one of our famous Martinis!

 

The Year Of The Snake Celebrations

Kung Hei Fat Choi stands for Happy New Year in Chinese, 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, area will be overflowing with crowds but there will be lots of activity including food and craft stalls that will line the streets and also a lion dance which will meander through the public, stopping at restaurants and stores with the will to wish them a good luck for the year.

For the Chinese communities in London and across the world, the Chinese New Year is a huge but 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 of 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 of activities 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.

Dinosaurs to roam again in London

Are you or your family fascinated by dinosaurs? Then why not consider paying a visit to a remarkable live show at the O2 Arena in London that will bring these huge ancient creatures back to life?

Watch them evolve and see how each species interacted with one another. Walking with Dinosaurs is a show that has already blown-away audiences and critics, its technical and scientific success will bring 20 life-sized dinosaurs actually inside the O2 arena. The show starts just after Christmas from 26th December 2012 to 6th January 2013 with tickets starting from only £32.25.

Based on the award-winning BBC television series, this family spectacular offers a genuine insight into 185 million of years of history. It has already been seen by more than seven million people in 206 cities across the world and its success is credited to the innovative work of its production team.

The huge life-like dinosaurs will each roam hunt, growl and seek something to fill their stomachs. Palaeontologist Huxley also braves the earthquakes, volcanoes and comets to teach visitors about these prehistoric ancestors and the events that took them from global domination to complete extinction.

Each or the creatures are operated by a team of three people with their movement supplemented by classical music and special effects.

After an evening watching the show with your family, why not give our hotel a little visit and head over to our DUKES bar to try one of the world’s finest martinis?

Sleeping Beauty becomes a ballet masterpiece

A world premiere of the timeless classic Sleeping Beauty has been reformed into a captivating ballet masterwork by the award-winning choreographer Matthew Bourne. His troubling new production has been described as “a gothic romance; a supernatural love story that even the passage of time can not hinder”.  In 1980 the enduring classic of a girl cursed to sleep for a hundred years was first revolutionised into ballet. Now, Bourne’s story commences at heroine Aurora’s christening where fairies and vampires feed on gothic imaginations. Bourne’s adaptation rebels against the idea of a love at first sight. He claims once Sleeping Beauty goes to sleep nothing more happens after that. His haunting production is a Gothic romance for all ages, and especially for those who feast on dark twisted love.

Bourne is widely known to be one of the UK’S best choreographers, receiving multiple nominations and awards including the Laurence Olivier and Tony award. He started training in dance at the age of twenty two and went on to dance professionally for fourteen years. Sadler’s Wells have decided to host talks throughout the year to look at aspects of his work and his background to celebrate the twenty five years of Matthew’s Company New Adventures. The talk features Alistair Spalding talking to him about his newest piece, Sleeping Beauty, and his prospects and ideas for New Adventures.

Bourne’s enchanting Sleeping Beauty will feature designs from Olivier award winners Lez Brotherston (set and costumes), Paul Constable (lighting) and sound design by Paul Groothuis and brings the audience into the core of his work, leaving them dazzled by the alluring movement. Bourne is renowned for his radical, entertaining updates of classic work and his new version of Sleeping Beauty promises to be fantastic, like his previous versions of Swan Lake and the Nutcracker.

The running time of Sleeping Beauty is approximately 2hrs 20mins with ticket prices ranging from £12-£60, family tickets cost £140. This enticing classic is running from Tuesday 4th December to Wednesday 26th January 2013 at Sadler’s Wells, Roseberry Avenue.

After one of the finest nights of ballet to remember, why not unwind properly with one of Alessandro’s world-famous classic Martinis over in our DUKES Bar?

 

Bond with DUKES!

Now is the perfect time to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Britain’s finest secret agent. With the release of the new Skyfall film fast approaching, we think that now is the time to Bond with Dukes.

Often frequented by Bond author Ian Fleming, Dukes Bar is said to be the inspiration behind one of Bond’s most famous lines, ‘shaken, not stirred.’ Therefore it would only be appropriate to herald the drink that this phrase was created for, the Classic DUKES cocktail.

We feature a number of Bond themed drinks on our extensive menu including the Golden Eye and the Fleming ’89, created by our Head Barman Alessandro Palazzi. Made in partnership with Floris, whose “89” cologne was worn by Bond, the Martini is the perfect blend of suave and stylish that Bond himself lived up to.

So says Kings Road Rocks writer Chelsea Girl, “Both (the Tiger Tanaka and Ian Fleming’s Classic Vesper) tasted heavenly and were presented so elegantly – exactly what a martini should be about. Each sip was an occasion as each drink oozed style and the integrity of a very good cocktail.” All this can also be enjoyed from our cigar garden, to which Bond was not averse to.

If that’s not enough, why not come to one of our Martini Masterclass? You will be regaled with tale after tale behind each of the cocktails and learning a few secrets of the trade. You will also be taught to craft your own cocktail and then sample it, all under the supervision of one of our expert barmen. You will then retire to our bar while enjoying canapés and sipping on your cocktails.

Dukes Bar is like no other. Steeped in history and oozing sophistication, it is a must visit for all cocktail lovers and James Bond fans!