A few weeks ago I took a weekend city break… in my own city! It was the first time I’ve collaborated with a hotel in London to see what it felt like to be an out of town visitor staying in the British capital for a weekend. My base for two days was The Savoy Hotel
on the Strand. Upon entering the hotel’s Front Hall (I quickly learned that it’s never referred to as ‘the lobby’!) I was immediately struck by the grandeur and Art Deco detailing of the space.
With a practical and beautiful location on the banks of the River Thames in the heart of London, The Savoy
makes the perfect base to explore the city. Reopened in 2010 after extensive renovations, the Art Deco and Edwardian styles of its 125-year history has been lovingly restored and refreshed for a memorable 21st century stay. A stone’s throw from the vibrant Southbank, a short cab ride from the eclectic West End shopping district, and just steps from Theatreland, you can reach many of the city’s star attractions on foot – the best way, in my opinion, to take in London’s spectacular views and architecture.
The hotel itself offers a handful of the most distinguished restaurants and bars in London. Whether it’s the theatrically themed Beaufort Bar complete with monthly burlesque performances, or the charming, classic American Bar, you can have a drink in a variety of exquisitely designed environments. I also enjoyed a light breakfast of yogurt, fruit and an egg white omelet in the stunning Thames Foyer, an area flooded with natural light thanks to a gorgeous glass atrium at the centre.
The restoration is most apparent in the guest rooms, which feel clean, fresh, and good quality despite the age of the antique furniture. Split into various wings, you can either stay in an Edwardian or Art Deco style suite. While I enjoyed the occasional bright and playful touches, as well as the light-flooded bathrooms, the décor was definitely more traditional than I was used to from a hotel. That said, it was invigorating and inspiring to stay in a completely unique environment.
The history and tradition of the hotel are apparent at every turn and in the one-bedroom suites, you even have your own personal butler (mine was named Francis and he was incredibly attentive and helpful!) to assist with any requests you may have during your stay. In fact, Francis very kindly ironed my shirt before heading down to dinner at the hotel’s own seafood bar and grill, Kaspar’s
. Normally while traveling, I am frantically trying to get the wrinkles out of my outfit on a wonky ironing board before dashing out the door to an event, so this was a total treat!
The restaurant is decorated and furnished in an intricate Art Deco style, which was inspired by the decadence of the twenties and thirties. Details such as cut-glass mirroring, a stunning silver leaf ceiling, a glossy chequer-board marble floor, and pendant glass light fixtures help set the scene. It felt luxurious yet relaxed and informal all at once – an ideal place to indulge and treat oneself. Alongside the delicious food led by head chef James Pare – the pan roasted fish cakes and wiener schnitzel are both outstandingly good – there’s also stunning views of the River Thames and some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, all of which can be taken in from the comfort of your table.
While staying at the hotel, I was lucky enough to take a class in flower arrangements, led by The Savoy’s Head Floral Designer, Belinda Bowles. Her friendly and knowledgeable style put me instantly at ease and I enjoyed learning how to make everything from beautiful corsages and buttonholes, to seasonal centerpieces and hand tied single rose gifts.
I rounded out my visit to London with a magical and enchanting ride on the London Eye
. It was the perfect way to see my city all alight, the mass of buildings glittering and sparkling against the midnight blue sky. It was genuinely inspiring to see London in a way I had never done before – through the eyes of a visitor. The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben all lit up at night was worth the trip alone – wow!
I often tell my overseas pals that London’s size is almost equivalent to its charm, but that it shouldn’t deter them from feeling like they can really get to know the city in just a few days. I pulled together a little two day travel guide
for anyone who is looking to eat, visit and shop their way through my favourite Central and West London places. Have you ever stayed at The Savoy? What inspires you to see your city from a new perspective versus visiting a completely new-to-you city?