In one of the most eagerly-anticipated (and delayed) renovations in hospitality history, London’s Savoy hotel is re-opening its doors next month.
The landmark hotel is opening on 10 October, over a year late and £100 million over budget, but its joint owner Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia is “aiming for perfection – and hopefully we’ll have it”, according to the General Manager, Kieran MacDonald.
The Savoy, which was the capital first luxury hotel and first opened in 1889, was closed in December 2007 for a £100 million refurbishment, and was rescheduled to reopen in June 2009. However total costs are thought to have risen to over £200 million.
Managed by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, the hotel is jointly owned by Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding Company and HBOS, which paid £230 million five years ago.
The redeveloped property will boast 268 guest rooms – five more than before – including 62 suites. Rooms will start from £350 a night, with the most expensive, the Royal Suite costing £7,500 a night.
The interior design retains the hotel’s mix of Art Deco and Edwardian styles interwoven with the contemporary luxury, and has been managed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, whose projects have included the George V in Paris and the Four Seasons in Florence.
Sneak previews have shown that the designer Rochon has brought light and elegance to classic design. Guests now check in beyond the foyer, in a peppermint Reading Room. The lounge has a new glass dome through which sunlight floods and the River Restaurant has long windows which afford panoramic views of the Thames.
The hotel’s crowning glory is the Royal Suite, a palatial eight-room space that takes over an entire floor along the river, complete with Murano chandeliers, marble bathrooms, and £24,000 English-made Savoir beds.
The new Beaufort Bar links to the domed lounge, and features a raised bar on a stage from which Gershwin premiered Rhapsody in Blue.
The Savoy Grill, run by Gordon Ramsay, has been given an art-deco-style update, and will still feature Churchill’s favourite table.
Changes will also include a relaxing of the dress code. It was compulsory to wear a jacket and ties to dine in the River Restaurant.