On being asked to review The Savoy Hotel in London, I mentally pinched myself. Was this opportunity to visit such an iconic London establishment really going to happen? Days later I had my answer, standing outside the impressive frontage at the end of a short entrance road − which interestingly is the only road in Britain where you drive on the right!
Situated on The Strand, it was built in 1869 and was the first truly luxurious hotel of its time. It is within easy walking distance of Covent Garden and nearby theatreland, and well positioned for exploring pretty much all the London attractions.
When we arrived on that beautiful sunny Remembrance Day, we were greeted by two doormen who ushered us into the cavernous
black and white tiled foyer, where we were automatically checked in and then escorted to the 7th floor. Here our butler was waiting to
show us around our suite, inter-spacing the tour with useful information on the amenities and then leaving us to settle in whilst he
whisked our shoes away to be polished and dresses to be ironed! On entering the living area, you are drawn to the window to embrace the stunning views across the River Thames, stretching from the Houses of Parliament, past the Millennium Wheel to Canary Wharf
in the distance. Once you have had your fill of the river views, if you have work to do there is a writing desk, or if you want to relax in the Edwardian themed room you can just flop into the large sofa and catch up on what you have missed on the large television.
The bedroom comes complete with a king size bed bedecked with luxurious Italian linen, the light spilling from the stunning Murano chandeliers and reflecting off the marble floors. Leading from the bedroom is a sumptuous bathroom, complete with labelled toiletries and a ‘rainhead shower’.
Afternoon tea was served in the light and airy Thames Foyer where daylight floods through the glass dome making it the perfect place to relax with friends after a hard day’s shopping. Meetings and special events such as weddings can also be catered for there.
If you would like to splash out on some jewellery, the Boodles boutique is situated in the front hall, or if you fancy something sweet there is even a patisserie just near the Thames Foyer, which is decorated with the most stunning display of orchids.
There is a well equipped gymnasium on the 3rd floor complete with a sauna, steam room and swimming pool with loungers scattered
around the pool where guests can relax, and a wide range of beauty treatments and therapies are on offer in the Health Club.
At nightfall, the butler arrives to turn down the beds, restock the drinks and return the ironed dresses and polished shoes ready for the evening ahead. For a pre-dinner drink, where better than the famous American Bar with its extensive choice of cocktails, or you can head into the beautiful ‘art deco’ Beaufort Bar, decorated in black and gold with plush upholstery, deep carpets, polished finishes and lots of gold leaf. The Beaufort is built on the former cabaret stage and offers the largest choice of champagne of any hotel in London!
There is an impressive choice of restaurants and bars within the hotel itself; the famous Savoy Grill is but one, with Chef Patron Stuart Gillies recreating some old classics like chargrilled chateaubriand and iced peach melba and many more. Simpson’s, which fronts onto The Strand, equally offers perfect classic British cooking with old favourites like steak and kidney pie and roast saddle of lamb. Finally, at the River Restaurant with its leopard print carpet, you will find a large choice of modern French cooking once created by Auguste Escoffier which now the head chef James Pare is recreating in his own style. This is where we chose to eat, so we could enjoy the stunning night views across the Thames, which were amazing. The three course meal was excellent, presented beautifully and absolutely delicious.
After a very comfortable night’s sleep, the morning was heralded by the arrival of breakfast, brought to us by the butler and elegantly set out on the window side table, allowing us to watch the bustle of the river at rush hour! Breakfast was a feast with a variety of mixed berries, followed by smoked haddock with poached egg; complemented by toast with a selection of preserves and tea served from Wedgwood china.
This really was a treat and a very special stay at one of the most luxurious hotels in the world.
By Karen Rolfe