London’s Savoy is rightly considered to be one of the best hotels in the capital and its Art Deco interiors, fused with impeccable service, make a visit here an unforgettable experience.
If you want a lesson in how to provide high-end service in exquisite surroundings without making customers feel inferior or out of place, then The Savoy is it.
Reopening in 2010 following a major refurbishment – so major the hotel closed for three years – it’s clear that London’s Savoy has lost none of the glitz and glamour that attracted past luminaries such as King Edward VII, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill, who regularly lunched here with his Cabinet.
Originally opened in 1889 by theatre impresario Richard D’Oyly Carta, with the profits of his Gilbert and Sullivan operas, The Savoy – which was soon managed by Cesar Ritz (who went on to open The Ritz hotel) – was Britain’s first luxury hotel and boasted innovations of the time such as electric lighting, electric lifts and constant hot and cold water.
Of course over the years the hotel’s reputation for lavish design, luxurious furnishings and exemplary service have surpassed these rather humble beginnings, but it was the hotel’s revamp in the 1930s that introduced the Art Deco details for which it has become famous, including Kaspar, the hotel’s lucky black cat sculpture, and The Savoy Cocktail Book.
These latter two details have been given the nod in recent times. The hotel’s seafood restaurant and grill, Kaspar’s, is named after the aforementioned cat, while the Beaufort Bar, on the site of the former cabaret stage, where the likes of George Gershwin once performed, has a new cocktail menu, with incredible pop-up detailing; fitting, for this most theatrical of venues.
You can start your evening here, where a cocktail waiter will fix your drinks and tell you a little background on them. We opted for Blue Angel, a delightful homage to Marlene Dietrich, which is served on her original registration card; and Ol’ Blue Eyes, which gives a nod to Frank Sinatra’s penchant for ordering a full bottle of Jack Daniels, with its own miniature bottle on the side.
Alternatively, you might prefer an aperitif in the iconic American Bar, – the oldest of its kind to survive in London. One of its most popular cocktails is the Hanky Panky, introduced by bartender Ada ’Coley‘ Coleman way back in 1903.
Once suitably refreshed, saunter over to Kaspar’s Seafood Bar & Grill where the new head Chef, Holger Jackisch, has designed a playful menu with a focus on oysters, smoked fish and cured fish.
For a real show stopper, order the Royal Fruits de Mer Platter, which comes served on a silver dish with lobster, seasonal oysters, Cornish crab and scallops all competing for your attention, all washed down with some bubbly, of course.
Other house favourites include the Wiener Schnitzel and the Dover Sole, while the Hereford Rib-eye comes with an optional half lobster.
Desserts are equally as tempting – we’d recommend the dark chocolate fondant or taking your pick of some of the 16 British cheeses on offer.
Whether you want to settle in for the evening or stop off for a very reasonable set lunch or pre-theatre dinner before seeing a show on the nearby Strand, The Savoy and it confines is like a throwback to the decadence of yesteryear and we’re sure Monroe et al would still approve.
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