In its prime position overlooking the harbour town of St Peter Port, The Duke of Richmond sits on the very spot Guernsey’s oldest hotel was situated, and to this day the hotel reflects these historic origins, while bringing it up-to-date with its stylish interiors. But it’s not just the history that gives the Duke of Richmond its character, it’s also the experience each individual guest has as soon as they step across the threshold. And now guests can take away more from their experience on a Dinner with the Duke stay.
Truly an experience for cocktail aficionados and oenophiles, Dinner with the Duke combines a luxurious hotel stay with a lesson in the art of mixology or specialty wine tasting; under the guidance of a resident expert, even the most versed in mixology and wine can pick up new knowledge and skills to take home. This is then followed with an indulgent meal in the hotel’s renowned Leopard Bar & Restaurant where hearty and imaginative dishes are created using freshly caught seafood and local produce.
If a lesson in the art of mixology is the experience of choice, the cocktails will be tailored to each guest’s individual preferences, as Hotel Manager Luke Laubscher explains: “During the master-class, we aim to establish what spirits and flavours the guest enjoys and make recommendations based around their tastes. Essentially, they can make any cocktail they desire, but we provide recipes for classic cocktails, as well as our own top sellers. It’s a lot of fun and people learn the age-old skill of mixing the perfect cocktail.”
The hotel has four signature cocktails, the most popular of which is the Italian Job, combining Kahlua, Frangelico, vanilla vodka and espresso, with a garnish of coffee beans. But what’s the secret to creating a great cocktail? Luke believes it’s the combination of good ingredients and glassware, with an adventurous spirit, while also ensuring each ingredient enhances the other flavours, giving thought to the textures, too. Finally, he says, you need to shake it like you mean it, and make sure it’s been garnished well.
In The Duke of Richmond’s fine wine collection, meanwhile, is a curated selection of outstanding labels from both the New and Old World. In particular, the hotel works closely with Bouchard Finlayson boutique winery, which, situated in South Africa’s verdant Winelands, is celebrated worldwide for producing the best Pinot Noir in South Africa, as well as exceptional Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blanc. “The wines are so elegant and smooth,” Luke says, “that one glass inevitably leads to another.”
For each wine tasting, guests can choose three labels to taste from this award winning South African vineyard. Then, the Duke of Richmond’s wine experts tell the story behind Bouchard Finlayson Estate. “We discuss the wine-making process, grape varietals and structure of the wines,” Luke explains, “as well as the history behind each wine’s name, the secrets of the estate, and what food each wine should be paired with.”
Dinner with the Duke guests then move on to dine in the Leopard Bar & Restaurant, while catching glimpses of the chef preparing their meal for them in the restaurant’s glass-walled kitchen, with each dish benefitting from Guernsey’s abundance of fresh produce. As Luke concludes, “Our motto at The Duke of Richmond is that ‘no request too large and detail too small’, and this shines through in everything we do.” Including Dinner with the Duke.