And when it comes to classic London hotels, you can rarely do better than The Savoy which, during its 125 years, has been the destination of choice for everyone from decadent celebrities (Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe) to former prime ministers (Sir Winston Churchill), members of the Royal Family (the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII) and fashion royalty (Coco Channel and Christian Dior). The question isn’t so much who has stayed here as who hasn’t?
There’s a reason why the rich and famous have all left doodles in The Savoy’s guest book. You can throw a lot of money at a place and still end up with a property so intent on being cool that it forgets to be characterful or comfy. Not so with The Savoy. Its three year £220 million refurbishment (The Savoy on the Strand famously reopened in 2010 on the 10th day of the 10th month at 10.10am) hasn’t dimmed its old world charm.
The rooms - there are 268 bedrooms and suites in total - are truly fab. Designed by Pierre Yves Rochon, they’re pretty without being cutesy, elegant without being fussy. Book one of the 38 new suites and your reward will be a fabulous view of the River Thames.
Regardless of whether you opt for a river facing room, all accommodation comes with a bathroom you could lose yourself in.
It would be easy to stay put in your suite - waste though that would be when the American Bar is waiting. There are good bars and there are great bars and The American - with its lively scene straight out of society pages of a glossy magazine - is most definitely the latter. The American Bar boasts two award winning bartenders (Tom Walker, winner of the Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail competition 2014) and Erik Lorincz (Diageo® Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year). When The American Bar first opened back in 1898, the bartenders were were Ada ‘Coley’ Coleman and Harry Craddock, who wrote The Savoy Cocktail book, which is still in print and available to buy at the entrance to the bar.
The American Bar has been joined by The Beaufort Bar - a glamorous art deco bar serving champagne, cocktails and cabaret (apt given that this new addition is situated on the hotel’s former cabaret stage where George Gershwin once performed).
More about spas than bars? There’s a sumptuous beauty and fitness centre designed to help you detox your body.
Then fill it up in one of London’s best-known restaurants and bars. Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill, launched in May 2013, joining Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill and the British institution that is Simpson’s-In-The-Strand. Alternatively take afternoon tea in the Thames Foyer before picking up your favourite blend in The Savoy’s bijou tea store: Savoy Tea.
If you choose just one excursion, look to the Luxury Thames River Cruise. Get up close and personal with iconic London landmarks as the Palace of Westminster, the London Eye, Somerset House and Tower Bridge on board the Silver Darling, Woods’ Silver Fleet’s 15m high-speed river yacht. Happily the Silver Darling (available for private sightseeing cruises for up to 12 people) is moored at Savoy Pier, meaning it’s just a short stroll from The Savoy’s River Entrance.
To enhance the River Cruise experience guests can pre-order champagne and a Kaspar’s Fruit de Mer hamper to enjoy on board.That is, of course, assuming you decide to leave The Savoy - which is a challenge in itself.
An exercise in measured elegance, The Savoy effortlessly seduces making it a good place to disappear for a weekend out of a Richard Curtis film.