Hotels & Travel

The Savoy, London – Return of an Icon

It seems only right that one of London’s most iconic hotels has relaunched after a three year restoration project on the year’s most iconic date 10.10.10.

At  10.10am the first guest, Stephen Fry, arrived at London’s Savoy to take residence in the newly completed  hotel.

Hailed as the “Most ambitious hotel restoration in British history” the original aesthetic of Edwardian elegance and opulent art deco has been brought  beautifully back to life by the world-renowned designer Pierre Yves Rochon.   The renovation intends to reclaim the Savoy’s position as one of the world’s best hotels and to attract the kind of glittering parties and glitterati guests it became known for shortly after opening in 1889.

As well as the introduction of a Royal Suite, which stretches the whole length of the hotel, the new design boasts nine personality suites honouring the legendary figures that made the hotel their home away from home. Celebrities including Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich and Frank Sinatra have been paid tribute to with artwork, literature and artefacts.  The Dietrich Suite even contains the 12 pink roses  she requested on every arrival at the hotel which I think is a gorgeous touch.

The Grill restaurant will once again be taken over by Gordon Ramsay and is due to open at the end of November, although the man himself has handed over the reigns to Stuart Gillies and Andy Cook.

The new design is not only opulent and true to its original style but also eco conscious.  Measures have been taken to reduce the hotel’s reliance on the national grid by up to 50% –  water is heated via reclaimed power from kitchen appliances and the cooking oil is being turned into biodiesel!

I was keen to see the new Savoy as my Grandad was a chef there in the 1940’s and we made a few trips to the hotel during my childhood with him proudly showing off his former workplace.  I was not disappointed.

The new design has all the grandeur of the previous hotel but with added sleekness and a bit of modern polish. The entrance to the hotel still has the ‘wow factor’ with the immaculate doormen and polished signage on the approach.

The monochrome lobby leading to the Thames Foyer restaurant is absolutely stunning with its contrasting display of vibrant orchids and the old fashioned shop fronts created for the newly introduced tea and chocolate shop. The magnificent birdcage style pagoda in the centre of the room is a picturesque centre piece that really gives the feeling of dining in style during a bygone era.

Coco Chanel's original guest registration

As well as the beautiful decor there is a mini museum with historic objects from the original hotel, including record cards of previous guests such as Coco Chanel who listed her occupation as ‘famous dressmaker and fashion designer’.

The media have reported that the refurb has come in £120 million over budget and almost 18 months late, however from a guest’s point of view the time and money has definitely been well spent.

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