I wrote recently about the handsome refurbishment of the Savoy, the first luxury hotel in London.
Since it was opened in 1889, the Savoy has hosted Royalty, Presidents, Prime Ministers and Hollywood stars. The Queen was first seen in public with Prince Philip at a reception at the luxury hotel; Churchill and his cabinet met at the Savoy Grill during the war; Laurence Olivier first met Vivien Leigh there.
Some celebrities wanted complete anonymity; all were treated with the utmost care and attention – and that continues. “You’d have to cut my head off before I told you anything indiscreet about any of our guests,” the Head Butler, Sean Davoren, told the Daily Telegraph.
Part of the Savoy’s history is preserved in a collection of index cards, organised by name and year of stay, detailing the whims and preferences of the guests. Thousands of them are in storage, while a few are displayed in glass cabinets at the hotel.
Marlene Dietrich required, on arrival, 12 pink roses and a bottle of Dom Perignon. If you book the Marlene Dietrich suite today, you’ll be greeted by those 12 pink roses –not sure about the champagne.
These days, the information is in Sean Davoren’s computer – or in his head. “I’m always listening, always looking, even if the guests don’t notice. We build up a detailed profile … and thank God for digital cameras, which allow us to recreate a room exactly as they’d want it.”
by Andy Moreton, with acknowledgements to Iain Hollingshead
London is now brimming with top class luxury hotels to rival the Savoy. Take a look at Luxique’s comprehensive list.