Essential Architecture-  London

The Savoy


Thomas Edward Collcutt


located on the Strand, in the City of Westminster in central London




Neo-Renaissance with Second Empire style Mansard roof.


limestone facade


The Savoy Hotel is a five-star hotel located on the Strand, in the City of Westminster in central London that opened on August 6, 1889. The hotel remains one of London's most prestigious and opulent hotels, with 263 rooms and panoramic views of the River Thames.

From December 2007, the hotel will be closed for 18 months for extensive renovations.

Opened in 1889, it was built by Richard D'Oyly Carte, the owner of the adjacent Savoy Theatre, with architect Thomas Edward Collcutt, who also designed the Wigmore Hall. Its name derives from the Savoy Palace which once occupied the site. The hotel was built on a plot of land next to the Savoy Theatre, originally purchased to build an electrical generator for the theatre which was the first public building in the world to be lit by electricity.

Savoy Hotel, Strand entrance, 1911

The hotel's first manager was César Ritz, who later became the founder of The Ritz Hotel. Sir Arthur Sullivan sat on the Board of Directors. The D'Oyly Carte family continued to operate the hotel through the lifetime of Richard's son, Rupert D'Oyly Carte, and was taken over by his daughter, Dame Bridget D'Oyly Carte.

In 2005, the Savoy was purchased by the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts of Canada from Maybourne Hotel Group, formerly known as The Savoy Group.

In May 2007, the new owners announced that the hotel in its entirety would close for around 16 months to undergo a refit, the value of which will be in excess of $200m (£100m). The hotel is closing in December 2007, with a projected reopening date some time in 2009.[4]

Famous guests
Numerous famous guests have stayed at the hotel. Claude Monet[5] and James Whistler both stayed at the hotel and painted views from their rooms of the River Thames. Bob Dylan stayed in the hotel in 1965, and filmed the video clip Subterranean Homesick Blues in an adjacent alley. He was also allegedly confronted by hotel security guards over a wine glass being thrown out of the hotel room window, onto the street below. The Beatles and Marilyn Monroe stayed here. Nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen prefers the hotel when staying in London. Also, whenever he was in London, Richard Harris lived at the Savoy Hotel.

An episode of the American television comedy Married with Children was filmed at the Savoy.


New Year's Eve dinner at the Savoy, 1907

The Savoy Restaurant (sometimes referred to as the Savoy Grill) has long been famous for its inventive chefs. Its kitchen saw the invention of Peach Melba, created in honour of Dame Nellie Melba by the legendary French chef Auguste Escoffier. Melba toast is also attributed to the hotel's kitchen; it is said that Dame Nellie ordered toast and was served with several pieces that were unusually thin and crisp and almost burnt, thus creating a new dish.

Elegant dining at the Savoy includes formal afternoon tea, an excellent Sunday brunch including free-flow champagne, and special events, such as New Year's Eve dinner.

Kaspar, a 3-foot high black alabaster cat sculpted by Basil Ionides, is used as an extra guest when thirteen dine, to stave off bad luck. He is given a full place setting.[6]

Savoy Court
Savoy Court is the only street in the United Kingdom where vehicles are required to drive on the right[7]. This is said to date from the days when a cab driver would reach his arm out of the driver's door window to open the passenger's door (which opened backwards and had the handle at the front), without having to get out of the cab himself[8]. (See Hackney carriage)

The Savoy cocktail book

Cover of the Savoy cocktail book (1999 ed.)

In 1930 the Savoy Hotel published a cocktail book, 'The Savoy Cocktail Book' with the recipes compiled by Harry Craddock of the Savoy Hotel, London and 'decorations' by Gilbert Rumbold. The book was then subsequently republished several times; 1952, 1965, 1985, 1996 and most recently in 1999 with some new text and a number of new cocktails added by Peter Dorelli.[9]

Savoy Pier
Savoy Pier is located near the river entrance to the hotel, but is not affiliated with the hotel. It is a stop on the Thames Clipper commuter service, connecting the Savoy with the City of London, Canary Wharf and Greenwich via a river boat service.

^  URL accessed 13 June 2007
^ Article on the Savoy renovation
^ Article on the closing of the hotel
^  URL accessed 13 June 2007
^ Tucker, Paul Hayes, Monet in the 90s: The Series Paintings, page 242. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1989. ISBN 0-300-04659-6
^ Article about Kaspar the cat
^,5753,-1501,00.html  Why does traffic entering and leaving the Savoy Hotel in London drive on the right?
^  104 Details of 104 cocktails with absinthe from The Savoy Cocktail Book Retrieved 2 July 2007


Dorelli, Peter/Craddock, Harry, The Savoy Cocktail Book, 1999, ISBN 1-86205-296-4
Jackson, Stanley, The Savoy — The Romance of a Great Hotel, New York, 1964. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 63-8604
Famous Hotels in the World - London: The Savoy.