Enrico, the handsome Italian barman, is fixing me a cocktail - the famous "89" dedicated to Ian Fleming. The James Bond author was a frequent patron in this iconic bar and this concoction of vodka infused with Tonka beans, Amaretto and a dash of Amber Vermouth, created for him, was inspired by a perfume called "89" created for Fleming by Floris of Mayfair.

Set in a private courtyard in the heart of St James in Mayfair, this 90-room boutique hotel has hosted royalty and discerning customers who value traditional English service.

Entering the lobby brings to mind a manor house with works of art and portraits of aristocrats on the wall.

The simply furnished bedrooms have a soothing colour scheme and, in my cosy, apple-green hued room overlooking the private courtyard, the madding crowd and noise from nearby Piccadilly seem far away.

Aside from the Dukes Bar, there are snug corners to have a drink and smoke a cigar at the Cognac and Cigar Garden. The drawing room-cum-conservatory overlooking a peaceful courtyard garden is the perfect place for morning coffee, a light lunch or afternoon tea.

The PJ Lounge serves champagne and champagne cocktails. With its elegantly decorated forest-green wall and matching sofas with Fuchsia pink throw cushions, it is a feminine room with soft lighting and hand-stitched green carpet bearing the distinguished motifs of Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque.

The restaurant ThirtySix is the domain of Nigel Mendham a graduate from a Michelin-starred hotel restaurant in the Lake District. His cuisine is described as "modern British with a classical twist".

Local sights include Buckingham Palace and such exclusive stores bearing royal warrants as perfumerie, Floris; handcrafted shoemaker, John Lobb; and hatters, Lock & Co.

Rates: from £360
Tel: 0207 491 4840

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