It was a Sunday evening at Dukes – hotel with quintessentially British air. A good-looking gentleman with a short black hair and a thin vertical scar on a right cheek was drinking a martini at the robustly masculine Dukes Bar while his girlfriend was enjoying champagne at the more feminine PJ Lounge. He thought that martini here was served in a very strange way – without any ice. Then he went to the Cognac and Cigar Garden and stayed there for an hour. There were also two more gentlemen in the room but it seemed as if he did not pay attention to anyone. He quickly got up and head to his room, praying that his girlfriend had not returned yet. However, he was stopped by a hotel administrator. Despite being nervous and irritated, his grey-blue eyes did not give him out.
As peaceful as nearby Piccadilly Circus is frenetic, Dukes being the hotel with relaxation on the brain, from its dark, candlelit reception area to its stress- or jet lag–busting massages, calming and convincing soft voice of the administrator were slowly settling him down.
‘Sir, I would like to carefully remind you about your reservation to a hotel’s restaurant that evening headed by Michelin-starred chef Nigel Mendham,’ said the administrator. The restaurant was surprisingly affordable, with two courses for less than $80 and a reasonably priced wine list, where the sommelier even doubled as a cheese expert – otherwise, our gentleman did not see the point of going there.
He thanked the administrator and went up to the room. The bedroom came with handsome writing desks and large dark wood wardrobe that was straight out of The Chronicles of Narnia. Pretty white cornices and floral wall prints added a homey touch to a design that felt otherwise quite formal. There were contemporary touches, too, such as the starkly modern reading lights and bedside lamps, and the organic Ren toiletries in the bathrooms, which provided sample distraction from the health spa downstairs.
The phone rang. After a short talk, he opened the nightstand and took out a gun.