Outside Bourdon House / Image: Jwill-jnr, Wiki Commons
Alfred Dunhill was an innovator of his time. Inheriting his father’s equestrian business in 1893 at the age of 21, Dunhill went on to transform the brand into a pioneering global business. Moving from horses to motor vehicles, Dunhill stated that he could supply “everything but the motor,” from top quality leather and metal accessories to protective driving apparel.
Dunhill’s vision has left a legacy of British luxury, with Dunhill now covering almost all aspects of menswear – sporting goods to bespoke suits. But they are by no means a retail conglomerate. Following in the footsteps of Mr Dunhill’s dedication to staying ahead of the curve, the company has crafted a careful balance between old and new to create a brand where every man’s needs is catered to. And their flagship UK store – or “London home” – Bourdon House, is an homage to the ease and luxury to which Dunhill devoted himself.
Once home to the Duke of Westminster, Bourdon House is now a one-stop shop for the modern gentleman. As the only detached house in Mayfair, the Georgian mansion stands out amongst its lavish neighbours and cuts an impressive shape on the corner of Davies Street. Spread over three floors, the store is devoted to anything and everything the London gent could ever need.
The ground floor boasts an impressive retail space, showcasing Dunhill’s signature lines of ready-to-wear. High ceilings and scrubbed wooden floorboards lend an elegantly old-fashioned edge to sharp suits and immaculate display cases of glistening cufflinks. Well-turned out staff stand poised to attention. An archway leads through to Dunhill’s more casual offerings, with bright yellows and natural light giving life to a spring collection, and outfits ready paired on the wall. Dunhill make things easy; a gentleman can select his weekend attire almost in the same breath that he chooses the perfect morning suit.
But Dunhill does not stop at ready to wear, and upstairs is a private room dedicated to bespoke suiting. The room is immaculate, but comfortable; worn-in floorboards and full-length mirrors give the sense that men have dressed in this room for centuries, and indeed they have.
The Spa at Alfred Dunhill – inside Bourdon House
At the top of a dizzying spiral staircase reminiscent of an old ballroom, guests find a unique spa waiting room. The “Discovery Room” is a cavernous sitting room presided over by a fireplace and astrological charts. Lining the walls are examples of Dunhill’s current line of leather goods, but at one end is a glass case containing some pieces from the archive – a subtle, but no less fascinating nod to the brand’s rich history. Gentlemen are invited to enjoy a drink here while they wait for their treatments, with a selection of interesting magazines for their perusal.
The spa itself is a haven at the top of the house, with two ultra-modern treatment rooms. There is an array of treatments on offer, designed to pamper the modern man. Stepping next door into the barber’s shop is a like going through a time machine, with newsprint on the walls and old-fashioned brown leather evoking more than a little nostalgia. Staying true to their principles, there is nothing flashy about the spa: instead, it is a subtle luxurious oasis of male grooming.
Back downstairs, you’ll find another touch of history in the humidor, which is present in all Dunhill homes. Temperature-regulated to the optimum temperature, Bourdon House stocks only the best cigars, and only Cuban. As TRULY were told on our tour, they don’t feel the need to dilute their collection for the sake of quantity – and Cuban cigars are the best.
No home would be complete without a kitchen, and the Cellar Bar, also found downstairs, serves lunch, coffee and cakes, as well as a few alcoholic offerings. The restaurant is members only and yet, like the rest of the home, it holds few pretensions.
Finally is Bourdon House’s ultimate nod to the 21st century; a luxurious, super-modern screening room found in the depths of the building. A black leather den, this is every man’s dream. And yet even this reflects the British heritage of the brand. TRULY are told that Dunhill uses British-made suppliers wherever possible; even the room’s impressive sound system is British-sourced. It’s a neat little touch on top of what is already a smooth operation.
Ultimately, Bourdon House is the kind of place where a gentleman can admire a vintage pipe one moment, and take his seat in the plush armchairs of the screening room the next. Combining old-fashioned charm with slick modern amenities, Bourdon House is a house away from home.