British hospitality at its best
The Savoy. The most iconic hotel in London. I’d come with my husband and daughter, and there we were, ready to celebrate our birthdays, having been invited to stay and find out a bit more about what The Savoy has to offer prospective brides and grooms.
To simply stand in the lobby of The Savoy is almost overwhelming. You can tangibly feel the weight of history around you, and if you close your eyes, I’m sure you can hear the voices of the many famous names who have glided through those doors and over the elegantly striking floor. Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Marylin Monroe… the list goes on…!
A rich history
Built in 1881 as a theatre on the site of the Savoy Palace, The Savoy’s rich history spans decades full of luxury – with lavish furnishings, electric lights and the first electric lift in London. It quickly established an unprecedented standard of luxury, which it still maintains today. During the war, it was even reported that the Savoy air raid shelters were ‘the smartest in London’!
The world of The Savoy
So there we were, in a little Savoy bubble! Having floated past the huge Savoy sign and fountain we were greeted by chandeliers, plush carpets and transported to another world. Everyone is delightfully friendly, and we checked in and were shown to our room. The Savoy gold and green lifts transported us to the 8th floor and to our river view deluxe suite. I must add here, our daughter was treated like royalty as well, the staff made her feel especially welcome and on entering our suite, we were greeted by a tray of treats for her, along with some birthday cake for us!
The room….. and the bed!
The views are spectacular, you can see right across London and some of its iconic landmarks. The suite itself had everything you could wish to find… and more. Gorgeous sofa, desk, tea and coffee making facilities and a beautiful bathroom with white marble and amazing Le Labo luxury products. It was simply stunning. But that’s not even half the story when it comes to the suite… gorgeous decoration, beautifully detailed floral coving, pictures of famous guests and then the bed… The Savoy have their own brand of bed. Savoir is the world’s most luxurious night’s sleep, I promise. I have never slept anywhere so comfortable! It was truly the best bed ever. First crafted for The Savoy in 1905, these beds have become something of a legend. You can even take one home with you, tailor-made – they will take your measurements and preferences and craft your own bespoke bed. Latin American horse tail, Mongolian cashmere and British lamb’s wool combine for a perfect night’s sleep. If it sounds like I’m gushing, it’s because I am – these beds are amazing!
And then there was a knock on the door. Apparently, our suite came with a ‘butler button’, which, when pressed, summoned Valentine, our very own lovely butler! Apparently, he was at our beck and call, from unpacking and ironing to booking theatre tickets, venturing out to collect a favourite meal, nothing was too much trouble for this Savoy angel!
Time for afternoon tea
3 pm rolled around, and it was time for afternoon tea with official Savoy wedding planner, the wonderful Bruce Russell. The gorgeous Thames Foyer is a spectacular venue for a delicious afternoon tea. An amazing pianist serenaded us as we dined under a stunning glass dome, which floods the space with natural light. Pink champagne and three tiers of sandwiches and treats almost distracted me from the inside gossip Bruce shared with me. Many tales of weddings that I couldn’t possibly reveal! It really was a fabulous insight into the wonderful world of wedding planning!
The waiters are beautifully presented in their uniforms, the service is almost like theatre, it’s so smooth. And having made a choice from the 30 tea options, we were treated to another selection of gorgeous pastries on a sparkling silver tray. From the sandwiches, scones, eclairs and pastries consumed, I really thought I might not need to eat for a week, but somehow, when dinner rolled around I managed to summon the appetite to eat another three courses!
The Boodles experience
But first, to Boodles! The Savoy Front Hall is home to the quintessentially British jeweller, Boodles. Creating masterpieces since 1798, this family run company spans six generations. I was made to feel so welcome there – there’s no expectation or airs and graces. I felt so relaxed as I tried on some of the most exquisite pieces of breathtaking jewellery. The diamonds sparkled and the staff were so friendly, I would have happily sat there for the rest of the afternoon amongst the glittering creations! The highlight has to be the spectacular 1.5 carats double vintage Ashoka diamond ring – which would have been the perfect birthday present. At just £900,000, I don’t think that would have been too much to ask…!
There are a number of bars and restaurants on The Savoy’s extensive grounds. We dined in Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill, a 1920’s style restaurant just off the main courtyard. If you fancy a famous Savoy cocktail, try the American Bar, and there’s also the options of the Beaufort Bar, with a gorgeous Art Deco vibe, Simpsons-In-The-Strand for traditional dining, and the Savoy Grill, one of London’s most legendary restaurants.
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Dinner at Kaspar’s
The meal did not disappoint. The blissful atmosphere, divine excellent menu, I chose scallops, a Thai fish stew and sticky toffee pudding. The night we stayed, they were supporting Earth Hour, so at 8.30 all the lights went out to join with 178 countries around the world. Tea lights and candles replaced electric lights, creating a gorgeous atmosphere in which to dine. In addition to our food, Kaspar’s has an impressive children’s menu which is just lovely.
Back to our heavenly room
Turn down service was exquisite, as we had come to expect by this point! We fast realised that when it comes to The Savoy, being treated like stars is standard. And it’s wonderful!
So after a tough day of being treated like royalty, king, queen and little princess fell into their epic Savoir beds for a blissful night’s sleep, hoping the day hadn’t been a dream!
The morning after……
However, the dream continued the next morning with a sumptuous breakfast in the Thames Foyer. A traditional Savoy breakfast was served by staff who couldn’t have done more for us. They were just so helpful. It was another chance to take in the room – the gorgeous glass-domed ceiling, elegant china teapots and the wonderful atmosphere was just sublime.
Reluctantly we checked out, feeling so special after a truly magical stay. I cannot recommend The Savoy highly enough – with so much wonderful history, gorgeous décor, exquisite service and delicious food, it absolutely lives up to the hype.
Back to business
I promise I did do some fact finding as well as being utterly indulged! The Savoy bring a personal and expert approach to weddings. They can cater for small, intimate occasions as well as the most lavish of affairs.
Their gorgeous iconic Lancaster Ballroom is so pretty – chandeliers, beautiful décor and a perfect setting for a wedding reception. It can accommodate up to 300 guests for a dinner dance. The River Room elegant and chic, perfect for a cocktail reception for up to 400 guests. Their Abraham Lincoln room can host a ceremony of up to 300 guests or a dinner dance for up to 120.
These rooms are versatile and can be tailored to any style of event. Nothing is too much trouble. You can even have a river tour and drinks before heading to the hotel for your reception.
In addition, The Savoy has six private dining rooms. Hosting from ten to 50 guests, these spaces are a perfect option if you want a smaller celebration.
Or even very private dining….!
Some of the signature suites can also cater for small ceremonies and receptions, and the Royal Suite has absolutely spectacular river views. Here you can hold your ceremony, cocktail reception and private dinner – it’s a truly luxurious space, taking up half of the fifth floor, so it would be a fabulous intimate celebration.
I’m sure you can tell we had an absolutely stunning visit to The Savoy. We can not praise them highly enough for excellent service, comfort and authentic styling that’s true to the Savoy and its history without looking tired or dated. This is a fabulous beacon of British hospitality and we are so grateful to have experienced it in all its glory. Thank you for having us!
The Strand – London – United Kingdom – WC2R 0EU
TEL + 44 (0)20 7836 4343 – FAX + 44 (0)20 7240 6040
For more information, see The Savoy’s website.