A property that transcends its role as a mere hotel, The Savoy is a landmark structure deeply connected to London with a rich, glamorous history that tends to rub off on its guests. A favorite of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Charlie Chaplin, this grandest of grand dames is one of London’s oldest luxury hotels and might justifiably be called its finest. Over 125 years old, Savoy is home to many an interesting fact, none more peculiar than the story of Kaspar the Cat. An art deco sculpture of a cat, Kaspar has been utilized since 1927 as an extra table guest to prevent parties of 13 sitting down together, a superstition that dates back to an 1898 dinner party hosted by Woolf Joel at the hotel.
Service at The Savoy is unlike anything you’ll find in most luxury hotels. Make use of the hotel’s 24-hour butler service, a team of genuine, professionally trained butlers who will take care of your every need in a discreet, efficient manner. Alas, we can’t confirm whether they will stretch to color-sorting your M&Ms.
A prolonged renovation in 2007 — which forced the hotel to close temporarily for the first time — has restored the historic charm and updated the flagging interiors. Opulent Edwardian and art deco interiors are de rigueur in rooms featuring antique furnishings, regal chandeliers and luxurious beds which are literally fit for royalty. Surprisingly unfussy and over the top, the 267 rooms are a model of restrained style.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Given the prohibitively expensive prices of rooms at The Savoy, guests may find that impeccable taste and historic art deco designs could be more flamboyant. The Savoy is a hotel of discreet nods and winks so if over the top ostentatious design is required, another luxury hotel might be more appropriate.
The marble bathrooms feel amazingly grand and come with walk-in showers, as well as antique claw foot tubs in some rooms.
If you don’t warrant the type of service that will bag you use of the hotel’s own custom Rolls Royce Phantom, then pulling up to the doors in a black cab is almost as good – and as quintessentially London as you can get. The lobby is all vintage glamor and will make your mind swim with the history if you’re sentimentally inclined. If not, you’ll still be awed by the spectacle of the large-scale art deco hall.
Unlike plenty of London’s historic luxury hotels, The Savoy has a pool. And not just any pool. The ten-meter pool is the focal point of the beautiful wellness area, a serene escape from the busy Strand outside the hotel.
A good sized 24-hour gym has a number of cardio machines and free weight areas. Personal trainers can be provided.
Turn up to the beautiful seafood restaurant, Kaspar’s at The Savoy, with 13 people and you might be introduced to the namesake himself, who will be sat down as your guest of honor; the art deco cat sculpture is in situ to ward off spirits with untoward intentions. In addition to Kaspar’s, Gordon Ramsey’s Savoy Grill serves a classic British grill menu in an extravagant steakhouse vibe.
Part of The Savoy, next door Simpson’s in the Strand serves one of the best roast dinners in London and one of the few places where wait staff sill carve joints of meat at the table.
The Beaufort Bar and the American Bar each have their own overwhelming charm, so we can only recommend spending at least one evening in each. The Beaufort Bar is arguably the more romantic of the two, going with dimly lit, live piano vibes, however, the American Bar is the place to take a seat at the bar and watch cocktail artisans so their thing.
A few minutes from Charing Cross mainline station, a short walk to the South Bank, right on the banks of the river and close to the heart of Theatreland, it’s fair to say that The Savoy picked well when it opted for its spot on the Strand over a century ago. Everything is within walking distance but if you need to go further then travel services and arrangements are what you’re paying the hotel all that money for.
The restaurants at The Savoy are enough to spoil even the most seasoned gourmand, but if you want to continue the fine dining, go to Smith and Wollensky (3-minute walk), a high-end grill house that will compete with Gordon Ramsey’s Savoy Grill. For something a little lighter and less formal, Tom’s Kitchen (4-minute walk) at Somerset House is a good spot for people watching within the cultural center.
Sample from the dynamic range of fine wines at Covent Garden’s Compagnie Des Vins Surnaturels (9-minute walk), or stick to the hotel’s classy cocktail theme with crafted drinks in the oak-panelled basement bar of Hawksmoor Seven Dials (8-minute walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Such is the glamorous past of The Savoy, it even has its own museum, hiding by the entrance to the Beaufort Bar, a fact which emphasizes the historical allure of the hotel. Besides the splendor of the architecture, the art, the awe-inspiring decorative detail and the nostalgic sense of old world glamor that you can almost reach out and grab, the hotel has a knack of putting you at ease with its supreme service and friendly staff. The ultimate luxury London hotel?