The Savoy

Strand, London WC2R 0EZ, UK

Having built the Savoy Theatre, English agent Richard D’Oyly Carte opened a nearby hotel in 1889 to accommodate the wealthy American patrons who came to see the celebrated Gilbert & Sullivan operas. In the years following, the hotel welcomed such regulars as Winston Churchill, Coco Chanel, Frank Sinatra, Charlie Chaplin, Mel Brooks, and Katherine Hepburn; some of these famous former guests are now celebrated in the menu of theatrical Character Cocktails served at the hotel’s decadent Beaufort Bar, while others have inspired the nine elegant Personality Suites. Anecdotes abound at The Savoy, including the time Marilyn Monroe stopped by for a press conference in 1956 to promote The Prince and the Showgirl with costar Laurence Olivier and caused a media frenzy when she appeared in a black dress that, tantalizingly, revealed her midriff.

But The Savoy, now managed by Fairmont, is not one to languish in the past. The hotel completed an ambitious $350 million renovation in 2010—in time to celebrate its 125-year anniversary—and now features timeless spaces with every modern convenience. The 267 rooms and suites include Art Deco or Edwardian décor, custom-made furnishings, bespoke rainfall showerheads, and Penhaligon’s amenities; many of the higher category options look out over the Thames or city landmarks, and have extras like claw-foot tubs or, in Deluxe Junior Partial Riverview Suites and above, the legendary Savoy Butler service. Rotating programming—from arts and culture events to a writer-in-residence series and expert-led masterclasses—keep guests engaged, while the six dining and drinking outlets include Simpson’s In the Strand (beloved for its Sunday roast), Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill, and the Thames Foyer for the iconic Afternoon Tea.

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Book a Personality Suite Stay

To stretch out in style, check in to a refined one-bedroom Personality Suite overlooking the River Thames. The suites are named in honor of former notable guests, among them, Frank Sinatra, Katharine Hepburn, and Claude Monet. We fell for the charms of Maria Callas suite; soft, inviting colors in the bedroom and lounge area soar like the soprano’s elegant arias. The bathroom features a freestanding claw-foot tub, a walk-in shower, and The Savoy’s signature black-and-white checkerboard flooring. And you’ll have a Savoy butler at your service.

Dine at The Savoy

When it comes to food, you’re spoiled for choice at The Savoy. For starters, there’s the informal but still spectacular Kaspar’s Seafood Bar & Grill, specializing in the likes of pan-seared scallops, lobster bisque, wild sea bass, and fruits de mer platters. For a more blowout experience, turn to the Savoy Grill, presided over by Gordon Ramsay Holdings, or the wood-panelled Simpson’s-In-The Strand, whose signature Scottish beef and other roasts are carved on an antique trolley for guests at the table.

Enjoy Afternoon Tea, Dessert, and Cocktails in the Thames Foyer

Splash out on afternoon tea in the hotel’s charming Thames Foyer, which recalls the feel of an English country garden in summertime. It’s flooded by natural light from a glass cupola, and the tables cluster around a central flower-dressed gazebo. Sandwiches, scones, and seasonal cakes appear as if by magic, while a pianist plays. If you’re feeling especially celebratory, add a glass of champagne to your order. Complementing the afternoon tea experience is the Savoy Tea Shop, where you can glimpse of expert pâtissiers in action and pick up some sweet souvenirs. In the evening, the Thames Foyer becomes a space in which to enjoy indulgent desserts and hand-crafted cocktails from the unique Temptation Wheel menu.

Take Advantage of Beauty & Fitness at The Savoy

Unwind with a dip in The Savoy’s 30-foot pool, flooded with light from an atrium. It’s just one of the many reasons to visit Beauty & Fitness. Treatments range from the 50-minute Jet-Lag Cure massage to the 80-minute bespoke Opulence at The Savoy therapy, all of which use Aromatherapy Associates products. The Fitness Suite is open 24/7 for residents, for whenever the mood to work out strikes, and the sauna and steam rooms make a great place to soothe any sore muscles.

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