Over the years we have been very fortunate to have either photographed, or have been a guest at many of London’s fantastic hotels and the Savoy has to be one of the finest.
So, having been booked to photograph a function at the Savoy Grill at the end of January this year, we decided to pop over and familiarise ourselves with the hotel and meet the staff.
The stunning entrance draws you in, promising to blow you away with what is to follow. And from the moment you enter the beautifully crafted front hall, the grandeur leaves you breathless. Every little detail carefully attended to, creating a visual masterpiece.
We decided to find out more about this iconic London landmark and discovered that the Savoy has an interesting history.
In 1246 Count Peter of Savoy built The Savoy Palace, which went on to become the home of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Sadly, in 1381, it was burnt to the ground during the Peasant’s Revolt. The estate then became part of the Duchy of Lancaster, and remains so to the present day.
In 1881 The Savoy Theatre was opened. This was due to the collaboration between theatrical impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte, lyricist William Schwenk Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan. It was a collaboration to last for over twenty years and see the creation of a total of thirteen classic operas. Every one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s subsequent operas were premiered in the Savoy Theatre, and the entire canon became known as the Savoy Operas.
Richard D’Oyly Carte then went on to build the Savoy, which was opened on 6th August 1889. The new Savoy hotel offered accommodation for the many tourists, especially Americans, who had travelled to London to see the Savoy Operas.
With restaurants, bars, lounges, private dining rooms and banqueting suites, the Savoy offered a variety of choices for Londoners wanting to enjoy themselves. The main restaurant was opened by noted hotelier Cesar Ritz, who later became general manager.
Over the years to follow, the Savoy underwent many changes, and in 2005 it was purchased by HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin AbdulAziz Alsaud, who handed the management contract to Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.
Then, on 15th December 2007, and for the first time in 118years, the Savoy closed its doors to the public. The planned refurbishment was expected to cost around £100 million pounds and take up to 15 months to complete.
However, it was not until some three years later, on 10th October 2010, that the Savoy was formally reopened, with the final restorations costing approximately £220 million pounds.
In 2014 the Savoy celebrated it’s 125th Year anniversary.