Next Stop: Dukes Hotel London

Dukes Hotel London Cover

Recently, I was invited by Cinnamon Circle, the new online source for luxury hotels and travels, for an afternoon tea in honour of the Dukes Hotel London at the Baur au Lac in Zurich.

Dukes Tea Time L

The boutique hotel’s director, Mrs Debrah Dhugga, who is one of the few women in such a leading position, had flown in from London to present her small hidden gem personally. It was such a pleasure talking to her. Having an amazing aura, she radiates passion and enthusiasm. “If I stood still, Dukes wouldn’t have moved forward”, she explained to me. “When I started, it was a 4-star hotel, now it is a 5-star hotel that won the coveted prize of ‘England’s Leading Boutique Hotel’ at the World Travel Awards 2011.”

Dukes London - Sandra's ClosetDebrah Dhugga with me


Debrah had a lot of fantastic ideas and translated her plans into action. For example, being a woman herself, she realized that female guests want something different. Therefore, she created the Duchess Rooms. Cuddly bathrobes, safe locks at the door, magazines are just a some of the feminine touches that make her female travellers feel like being at home. And only female members of the hotel’s staff will take care of the ladies during their stay.
Today, 24% of Debrah’s clientele is female.


Kids are very welcome at the Dukes Hotel. Upon their arrival, the little guests are welcomed by Dukesy, a cute plush dachshund, and mini duke and duchess outfits are waiting for them in the room. The hotel even offers a “Mr & Mrs Afternoon Tea” for children. For the complete service offers, please click here.

Dukes Hotel -DukseyDebrah with Dukesy


Famous barkeeper Alessandro Palazzi is running the Dukes Bar that has a lot of history because it used to be Ian Fleming‘s drinking hole. The New York Times wrote: “The hotel bar which some say concocts one of the world’s best Martinis”.

And there is one that I will definitely have to try: Fleming 89, a new martini which celebrates the link between Dukes Bar and James Bond. Created by Alessandro Palazzi in partnership with London-based perfumery Floris, whose “89” Eau de Cologne was famously worn by James Bond, the flavour, colour and smoothness of the martini are a sophisticated complement to the aroma of this quintessentially English gentleman’s fragrance.


James Bond fans can book the ultimate Dukes Bond experience, available from 3rd September, 2012 until 13th January, 2013 here.


The hotel restaurant Thirty Six offers modern-traditional food with its classical twist, prepared by Michelin-stared chef Nigel Mendham.


My favourite spot: The Perrier Jouet Lounge that features the finest champagne cocktails in an intimate and relaxed setting. 
One thing is for sure, my next stop: Dukes Hotel London!

LoL, Sandra

Dukes London-Cinnamon CircleDebrah Dhugga framed by Cinnamon Circle’s founders, Manuela Weber and Jörn Pfannkuch
Photos: Courtesy of Dukes Hotel and © Sandra Bauknecht

Diamond Jubilee for the Rainbow Queen

Queen Elizabeth

2012 marks the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. The celebration of her Diamond Jubilee will be going on throughout the year.
Interesting to know is that Queen Victoria in 1897 was the only other monarch in the histories of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and a few other Commonealth realms to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee.

Explore some of the cool limited editions to be launched for that special occassion:

Queen Elizabeth BondN°9

In honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Harrods has created together with the famous perfume house Bond N°9 a limited edition fragrance, called Harrods Jubilee . The scent consists of amber, musk and sandalwood along with Lantana leave, dry leave and mace. It is available now from the store’s Perfumery Hall and retails at £290 for a 100ml bottle.

Floris Queen

In April 1926, Floris had released a pretty floral scent called Royal Arms to celebrate the birth of Princess Elizabeth earlier that month. It had notes of rose, violet and ylang ylang.

To commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Floris, the only perfumer to hold a Royal Warrant from the Queen, slightly changed the original recipe but keeping the original floral character formed by essence of rose, the queen of flowers.

Royal Arms Diamond Edition EdP is on sale at John Lewis at £99 for a 100ml bottle (and at There is also a limited amount of Royal Arms Diamond Edition in perfume strength which will be decanted into only six antique crystal dressing-table bottles of which one will surely be given to Her Majesty.

Vivienne Westwood Queen

The most eccentric British fashion designers of all, Vivienne Westwood, pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth’s jubilee with an honorary collection featuring ready-to-wear and fashion jewelry that will be available in May in all Vivienne Westwood stores.

earrings westwwood

The Red Carpet Capsule Collection stays true to the opulent Westwood archive and was inspired by outfits that the Queen has actually worn. The patriotic designer’s logo is a royal ORB with a cross on top, bejewelled and impressive as befits the Queen of British fashion. Westwood became Dame Commander of the British Empire in the 2006 New Year’s Honours List “for services to fashion”.


For this royal occasion, the “Kaiser” Karl Lagerfeld, himself will be offering live commentary of the official event on French television channel France 2 on June 3. He will surely enjoy his latest assignment as fashion commentator as he already did last year, when the Chanel helmet participated in a French live broadcast about the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, attracting five million viewers.


And there’s no doubt the Queenie is one seriously stylish muse. After 60 years on the throne the queen’s outfits on her thousands of visits and tours have proved she is a bastion of good taste and style. She loves tone on tone looks with blue being her favourite colour choice. I mean there has to be a reason that blue is called royal. I know this fact thanks to a recent report featured in Vogue magazine for which editors have studied every outfit Her Majesty has worn in the last 12 months.

A year ago, all eyes were on the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Congrats to the couple on their first wedding anniversary today!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Vivienne Westwood, Harrods, Floris, Getty Images and Vogue