The Savoy


The true fabric of British hospitality

A potted history: The Savoy’s reputation precedes it. Inspired by the hotel boom of America’s Gilded Age, it has been a synonym for luxury since it opened in 1889. Set on the site of a one-time hospital, it was the first hotel in the UK to use electric lighting and lifts. A hotel with many stories to tell, many luminaries in the world of entertainment and hospitality from have passed through its hallowed halls. César Ritz started his hotel career as GM here; French culinary icon Auguste Escoffier rattled the pans in the kitchen; Anna Pavlova danced in fancy dress and got a dessert named after her; and Laurence Olivier met his future wife in the hotel’s lobby.

Best room: Classic British design tropes offer timeless comfort across the 267 Edwardian and art deco rooms. Those with sitting room views of the River Thames come with certain cachet, but it’s the Royal Suite by Gucci that stands out from the crowd. Inaugurated in 2021 to mark the fashion house’s centenary and give a nod to founder Guccio Gucci’s role as a luggage porter here, it sees two heritage brands unite in perfect harmony. Vibrant hues, rich textiles and abundant plant life bring the scene to life.

Cocktail hour: Recently revitalised, the American Bar – a former World’s Best Bar and London’s longest-standing cocktail spot – brings heritage charm and world-class libations (it’s where the Hanky Panky was created, after all). Dressed in black and gold, the clandestine Beaufort Bar is a glamourous pick for champagne and caviar bumps with a creative cocktail list to boot.

And to eat? Renowned chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay oversees three of the five restaurants, including Restaurant 1890, which pays homage to Escoffier and French culinary tradition. Expect excellent British ingredients and refined takes on the classics with typical five-star flair.

Service secrets: As one of the first UK hotels to set up a hospitality training school, no detail is spared when it comes to offering the finest service. Set just off The Strand, its entrance turning circle is the only place in London that sees cars drive on the right-hand side. The reason? So that guests can exit the car swiftly and smoothly from the driver’s side. Such a set up also saw London’s iconic black cabs designed and built to spec specifically to turn in that very circle. 

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