Some of the most venerable hotels continually reinvent themselves, and The Savoy, a luxury Fairmont-managed property, is one of those. After its amazing multi-million new look by Pierre-Yves Rochon, it is still updating itself. At the rear of the lobby is an enticing boutique. Look further ahead to what is now Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill, a brilliant all-day restaurant with views across the Thames. Kaspar’s itself has a central serving bar, in the round, which cleverly has pull out flaps, like shelves, that become tables, with two sitting, one either side. This means twice as many people can sit around the bar, says the gal. The pagoda at the entrance to Kaspar’s, by the way, is next on the update list. It will shortly be whitened and brightened.
The American Bar is one of this 263-room hotel’s signatures, and it is packed out every evening. This is the venue for pre- and post-theatre (there are masses of theatres all around and Funny Girl is playing at The Savoy theatre, right next to the hotel’s main door). This is the bar for cocktails, and the list offers complicated drinks named for some of the nearby London boroughs. I actually thought that since it is supposed to be summer it was time for a glass of chilled rosé, but my friend also went pink, with a Negroni, one part gin, one part vermouth rosso (red, semi- sweet), and one part Campari, garnished with orange peel. Apparently it is named for the Negroni family, who made a ready-made version of the cocktail.
See how I learn something every day when travelling! Obviously everyone at The Savoy wants a river-facing view, and, indeed, these are the epitome of Englishness (I am here using a phrase used by the hotel’s detail-oriented MD, Kiaran MacDonald). He, like many of the bosses I meet these days, is in the hotel by eight in the morning, despite a 45-minute drive. Long before we met up, however, I had already found my requested newspaper, the Wall Street Journal – getting better and better with every passing news-filled week – was outside my door. I thought its presentation holder stylish, much more so than the floppy bags that now seem to be the luxury norm. But then this is a hotel where butlers do what they are traditionally supposed to do, namely not being around unless wanted.
I was welcomed at the door of river suite 614 by a charming avuncular man in a Gieves & Hawkes striped suit (I did wonder how he arrived exactly at my door at that right time but this is a luxury hotel that utilises technology, out of sight). He quickly sensed that, no, I did not need help unpacking. He told me how to find him, and left. I had a great time looking round the room (loved the hand-knotted carpet on the living room’s parquet floor, loved the bathroom’s electric towel rail, and the view – see the video below). I also really admired the easy-work Nespresso espresso maker and its well-signed capsules, and the dainty coffee mugs. And this is a luxury hotel that takes all signage seriously. Its simple electric green SAVOY lettering, as on room service menus and the like, all wrapped in matching green ribbon, is another small plus. And lots of small pluses can add up to a big big PLUS. NOW WATCH THE PANORAMA VIDEO, BELOW