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Isn’t it just so magical at this time of year? Christmas really knows how to brighten the atmosphere, especially with all the glittering decorations and illuminations across the West End. The most exciting part is when you get to check into the glamorous hotel known as The Savoy, just in time for Christmas.
The Savoy hotel is well known for its richness in history, from its iconic elegance during the English past to the new world sophistication we see today. The hotel lobby always wins my heart, from the familiar sound of shoes echoing on glossy chequered floors to its finely detailed ceiling, completed way back in the Edwardian era. My attention is immediately caught by the charmingly evocative Christmassy scent wafting throughout the room and, turning around, I see the Savoy’s majestic Christmas tree standing proud and pristine, covered with dozens of red, gold and green ornaments, reminiscent of Victorian days gone by, with fresh pine, dried orange and cinnamon, designed by the British fragrance house, Penhaligon’s, in partnership with the Savoy.
Soon the suite is ready and it is time to check in. My first impression is the expansive hallway and the breath-taking views of the London skyline, including the iconic Big Ben, London Eye and the River Thames. The suite itself is called Personality Suite, named after and inspired by some of the Savoy’s most celebrated residents who made the hotel their London “home from home”. The one bedroom Edwardian suite is named after Claude Monet, reminding us of some of his most famous works, which depicted and reflected his time in London. I think I’m in paradise and, perhaps in the future, one of the rooms could be named “The Rollinson London”? We shall see!
At this time of the month, it’s all about additional accessories such as hat, scarf, gloves, thermals and the dilemma of choosing between a cashmere or a wool jumper! I have recently discovered the British brand New & Lingwood. Since founding in 1865, New & Lingwood remains one of London’s longest established English outfitters, servicing gentlemen world-wide. Located at 53 Jermyn Street, in the heart of St James’s, they supply gentlemen
Did I hear something? Yes, afternoon tea is calling. The Thames Foyer at The Savoy Hotel is the perfect setting for afternoon tea, a grand Edwardian building filled with classical Art Nouveau and impressive Corinthian columns. The glass-domed ceiling floods the room with natural light and an impressive gazebo houses the finest Steinways and Son grand piano in an elegant winter garden setting. Each table comes with a polished silver vase of red roses set against a pristine white linen tablecloth, bespoke Wedgwood crockery, exclusive to The Savoy, and traditional silverware. The best part of the afternoon tea experience is the warm and hearty scented scones served in white linen with a choice of homemade lemon curd, traditional strawberry jam and clotted cream. To be honest, you can never have too many.
The Savoy hotel is a perfect location in the heart of London, within short walking distance to Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, River Thames, Regent Street and Fleet Street, a perfect opportunity for a stroll and walk off that long, leisurely afternoon tea. Well, I have a dinner to try out at the famous Simpson’s Restaurant in the Strand in a couple of hours’ time – a great British classic restaurant, perfected since 1828. Their unique culinary story is a tale of traditions upheld, undiluted by the tide of time over two centuries. Today, Simpson’s in the Strand offers a landmark London dining experience and I am already looking forward to seeing the menu they are offering. The Savoy offers many other restaurants which you can try, such as Kaspar’s at The Savoy and the Savoy Grill, owned by Gordon Ramsay.
If you are still feeling well fed from the afternoon tea experience, you can go for a nightcap at the American Bar, known as the longest surviving cocktail bar in London and one of the most renowned in the world. Don’t forget to try one of their signature cocktails, which is to die for. Or you may wish to try the Beaufort Bar, with its Art Deco opulence and character cocktails.
Next morning, to my amazement, can you guess? It’s snowing! Perfectly timed to capture the iconic view over breakfast, and the final touch to illustrate how The Savoy will give you a getaway to remember. Especially for those who stay over Christmas and New Year in style.
Photos by Victoria Metaxas