Doing things a little bit differently, a little more grandly and perhaps with a touch of oh- so-British eccentricity begins even before one arrives for a staycation at The Savoy. The hotel’s driveway is famously the only road in the UK where one is required to drive on the right hand side, due to the unique design of the road as well as the convenience of a chauffeur’s ability to swiftly reach the door to assist their passenger.
While my arrival was rather more mundane, trundling my small suitcase along the pavement having alighted from a number 6 bus, I was no less excited to enter the hotel’s vaunted lobby, eager to begin a much needed staycation. Like me, other arrivals might also note that the Pretty Woman musical is playing at The Savoy Theatre next door. Although on that day London could not compete with the Los Angeles’ sunshine, I was looking forward to a stay as indulgent and magical as we all saw enjoyed by Julia Roberts at that other legendary hotel, the Beverly Wilshire, and I was not to be disappointed.
The Savoy Staycation Package
Eager to feel fully at home in this most storied of hotels, hosting the rich and famous since 1889 and never a location to count the pennies, but also mindful of the cost of staying in one of the world’s grand dame properties, I was pleased to take advantage of The Savoy’s Staycation Package. While 20% off their rates and full breakfast in the restaurant or room (a wonderful addition without the usual extra costs involved in that most delicious treat of not needing to leave the room before midday) were welcome benefits, it was the automatic room upgrade that was causing most of my excitement as I approached the smiling receptionist. Located as it is in the heart of London and next to the Thames, I knew that a river view was all important so I was thrilled to be told that I had in fact been allocated one of the hotel’s most impressive accommodations, a One Bedroom River View Suite. The Savoy Staycation package is available Sunday – Thursday.
Our Suite Experience
Although I usually prefer to explore a hotel myself and eschew the offer of a guide to and of a room, the charming receptionist impressed upon me that alongside the long and intriguing history of The Savoy came a slightly complicated route to my suite so I happily accepted the offer. No less than two immaculately turned out team members duly accompanied me to the seventh floor, explaining that I should always use the ‘blue’ lift for the shortest journey, just one of the sweet idiosyncrasies of this charming property I was to discover during my short stay. I would happily have trekked for miles for the privilege of staying in such a stunning and special space.
Of course it was the unrivalled panoramic views of the Thames and iconic riverside landmarks such as the London Eye and Houses of Parliament from both the sitting room and bedroom that struck me first, bestowing a sense of accomplishment and occasion that I am hard pressed to recall from another hotel stay. Comprising a large bedroom with en-suite bathroom and separate living room as well as a foyer and cloakroom featuring the familiar black and white checked marble flooring, the suite is decorated in the iconic Edwardian style. If stepping back in time to a more elegant era is a cliché, its one I am more than willing to use here, with the furnishings and décor transporting me while never sacrificing any modern comforts, my Pretty Woman experience was well and truly under way!
Soon after settling in my dedicated butler arrived, something I felt sure I would not get used to, but of course quickly did…Offering to press my outfit for the evening (this is included as part of my package) she pledged to have the clothes returned within 90 minutes and to bring me a glass of champagne in the meantime. It was at that point, moments later, when she arrived with said champagne and the most moreish pepper crisps that I decided I certainly could get used to personal butler service.
Dinner at The Beaufort Bar
Although sorely tempted to simply spend the evening luxuriating in the suite there were cocktails to discover and a glamorous bar to survey, so in my promptly delivered evening finery I made my way downstairs to the magical Beaufort Bar. Indeed it is not just the dramatic black and gold décor of the room nor its chic and boisterous clientele that brings this magic, but even the cocktail menu itself. Playing up that charming British whimsicality I enjoyed throughout the hotel, the menu takes the practice of magic in history as its inspiration, with three distinct sections and styles all charmingly explained to us. You must also try The Beaufort Bar vodka (made with champagne yeast) created especially for The Savoy by The Boatyard Distillery.
Alongside these clever cocktails (and an enormous champagne list) is also a menu of generously proportioned bar snacks, needed when contending with the equally generously poured drinks from the cheeky and entertaining team. We gorged on a truffled white pizza that was far more elegant than it might sound and the best lobster tempura I have ever had. Perfect for a date night, the bar’s low lighting and seductive design completes a spot I am sure to return to, especially if I ever need to impress or intrigue, just as the hotel does.
The American Bar
The Savoy’s world-famous American Bar reopened on 4 October 2021. The eagerly anticipated reopening is also the first day behind the bar for a new Head Bartender, Shannon Tebay; the hotel’s first female head bartender since Ada Coleman was at the helm over one hundred years ago. Shannon’s experience in hospitality spans a decade; for seven years she has been part of the team at Manhattan’s celebrated Death & Company where she rose to the position of Head Bartender. To start, there will be a beautifully honed collection of 15 elegant drinks, designed by Shannon as a precursor to the forthcoming new menu and a teaser of the exciting things planned for the famous American Bar.
In a nutshell
With the allure of my suite beckoning, and having made substantial inroads into that marvellous cocktail list I was happy to spend the rest of the evening simply gazing out of my window at the glittering London vista, feeling very much that all was right in the world.
Sadly real life had to be returned to, so after a sound sleep I took solace in a perfectly executed English breakfast taken while again enjoying the ever-changing river view. Never have I wanted to extend a stay more but as my taxi drove the wrong way down the road away from the hotel I knew I had made the right choice in The Savoy, and would be back soon.
To discover more about The Savoy Staycation package, visit: thesavoylondon.com
All imagery courtesy of The Savoy.
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