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After Three Years of Hard Work, The Savoy,
A Fairmont Managed Hotel, Reopens

 

- The most ambitious hotel restoration in history is complete -

TORONTO, October 6, 2010 - The Savoy, A Fairmont Managed Hotel, will reopen its doors on Sunday, October 10, 2010.  One of this year’s most eagerly anticipated openings, The Savoy has been undergoing one of the most ambitious restorations in British history. The hotel closed in December 2007 for a restoration program that encompasses the entire building from the iconic entrance and the American Bar to Savoy Grill and the 268 guestrooms and suites.

“We are very excited to reopen The Savoy,” comments Kiaran MacDonald, General Manager. “It is fair to say that this project has not been without its challenges, but we are looking forward to unveiling the results of nearly three years of hard work and dedication.  We are very aware of the place that The Savoy holds in many people’s affections and we firmly believe that the hotel will exceed people’s expectations and reclaim its position as one of the world’s great hotels.”

Established in 1889, The Savoy was the brainchild of the Gilbert and Sullivan impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte. Originally managed by Swiss hotelier César Ritz and Maitre Chef Auguste Escoffier, the hotel quickly became known for its glittering parties and glitterati guests. Escoffier created dishes for Sarah Bernhardt, Lily Langtry, Dame Nellie Melba and the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, while Ritz instituted the impeccable service, attention to detail and creativity that came to be the hallmark of the hotel. For more than a century, Savoy Court was the stopping point for the Rolls-Royces of royalty, prime ministers and Hollywood stars.

The hotel’s two main design aesthetics, Edwardian and Art Deco, have been carefully brought back to life under the direction of world-renowned designer Pierre Yves Rochon. More than 1000 craftsmen and women, artists and artisans have worked tirelessly to create interiors that are in keeping with the hotel’s original and much-loved spirit.

Thirty-eight new River Suites and guestrooms have been added, offering the same stunning views over the River Thames that inspired Whistler and Monet. Nine Personality Suites will pay tribute to a few of the artists and well known figures who made this legendary hotel their London home away from home including Maria Callas, Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich and Frank Sinatra.  The suites contain artwork, literature, photographs and artifacts that evoke the time and spirit of the stars including the 12 pink roses in the Marlene Dietrich Suite that the actress always requested upon arrival.

The Savoy’s reopening will include the addition of a stately 325-square meter Royal Suite featuring two bedrooms, a study, sitting room, dining room, master bathroom, dressing room (with a specially ventilated shoe closet) and a master bedroom with a bespoke Savoir bed.  The suite has been specially designed so that all the rooms enjoy one of the finest views of London.

The bars and restaurants of The Savoy have always played a major role in establishing the reputation of the hotel and a new life has been breathed into them.  The legendary River Restaurant sees a contemporary interpretation of Art Deco décor, while guests will welcome the reopening of the American Bar, refreshed but intact in spirit. In addition, Savoy Grill will return under the operation of Gordon Ramsay Holdings with Chef Patron, Stuart Gillies and Head Chef, Andy Cook.

New to the hotel will be The Beaufort Bar, a glamorous Art Deco bar built on the hotel’s original cabaret stage that will offer champagne, cocktails and cabaret and Savoy Tea, a bijou teashop selling Savoy tea, accessories and fresh patisserie. Within the Thames Foyer, the re-introduction of a stunning gazebo beneath an ornate glass dome will provide the perfect ambience for afternoon tea.

In its inception, The Savoy was famous for its cutting edge innovations, such as “ascending rooms”, known today as elevators, and en suite baths. Continuing in its avant-garde tradition, The Savoy will introduce world's first Green Butler. In addition to providing all the traditional 'butler' services such as unpacking and packing (using recycled tissue paper), serving morning coffee and arranging receptions, The Savoy's Green Butler will also have an in-depth knowledge of 'all things green' around London.

The restoration has introduced environmental technologies and efficiencies wherever possible. For example, a combined heat and power (CHP) plant will reduce the hotel's reliance on the national grid by approximately 50 per cent and an innovative system will reclaim the heat from all kitchen appliances to preheat domestic hot water. Cooking oil from the hotel restaurants will be recycled and turned into biodiesel, while waste management systems will recycle up to 90 per cent of waste from the hotel. The hotel also partners with the Thames 21 charitable organization to help maintain the stretch of River Thames in front of The Savoy.
 

The Savoy Hotel History (http://www.fairmont.com)

Back in 1246, a stretch of land between the Strand and the Thames was presented by Henry III to Peter, Count of Savoy, uncle and consort to the King’s wife. Peter built his Savoy Palace on the river, and the name has been associated with the place ever since.

Over 600 years later, impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte chose the location for a new theatre to stage the famous operettas written by his friends Gilbert and Sullivan. He decided to call his new building the Savoy Theatre, and the productions were known henceforth as the Savoy Operas. Gilbert and Sullivan were huge on both sides of the Atlantic, and D’Oyly Carte spent a lot of time producing their shows in America. This meant he could stay in some of the newest and best hotels, which impressed him so much with their amazing new technologies that he decided to build his own hotel back in London.  The new Savoy on the river took five years to build and opened on August 6, 1889. It caused a sensation.

This, the first true luxury hotel in London, was also the first to be lit by electricity. It had the first electric lifts, known as ‘ascending rooms’. Guest rooms were connected by speaking tube to the valet, maid and floor waiter – and to other parts of the hotel. The Savoy later became the first hotel to provide most of its rooms with private bathrooms en suite. The ‘Savoy bathroom’ became famous for its cascading shower and quick filling bath.

D’Oyly Carte tempted the well-known hotel manager César Ritz to join his new wonder hotel. Ritz was delighted by the perfectly-appointed facilities and great potential at The Savoy. He brought in Auguste Escoffier, leading ‘celebrity chef ’ of his day, to run the kitchens. In the early years, Savoy guests included Sarah Bernhardt and Dame Nellie Melba, for whom Escoffier famously created Melba Toast when she was on a diet and Pêches Melba when she was not.

Artists Whistler and Monet both used views from Savoy windows in their work. Oscar Wilde stayed with his friend Lord Alfred Douglas. The Prince of Wales himself and his coterie were frequent visitors. By 1904 the hotel was such a hit that the blocks on the Strand were added, designed by Thomas Collcutt, and the American Bar and Savoy Grill moved into this new part of the hotel. After the sobering interlude of the Great War, The Savoy gradually began to find itself again, always looking for the latest styles and fashions that would draw the feted and famous. The likes of Noel Coward, George Gershwin, George Bernard Shaw and H G Wells frequented the restaurants and American Bar.

Art deco, jazz and The Savoy were made for each other. The new style was introduced, and the iconic stainless-steel sign over Savoy Court erected in 1929. Top jazz musicians from America came to play and a hydraulic system, installed to raise the dance-floor and turn it into a stage for cabaret acts. Epitomising all the fun and flamboyance of the art deco jazz age, the famous Savoy Cocktail Book was published in 1930.

The stars loved The Savoy. England’s own Vivien Leigh was first introduced to her future husband Laurence Olivier in the hotel’s Front Hall. From America came Hollywood greats such as Al Jolson, Errol Flynn and Katharine Hepburn and from France, Josephine Baker and Coco Chanel. Winston Churchill frequently lunched with his cabinet at the hotel during World War II, and attended his Savoy dining club, The Other Club,  until his death in 1965.

Once peace was declared, The Savoy quickly regained its air of glamour and luxury. Princess Elizabeth was first seen with Lt. Philip Mountbatten in public at a Savoy reception. When the Princess became the Queen a few years later, The Savoy threw quite the largest and most lavish Coronation Ball in London.

The new Elizabethan age saw a new generation of actors, film stars and politicians at The Savoy. Among the most glamorous: Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe. The Savoy swung into the 1960s with guests ranging from Louis Armstrong, Marlon Brando and Jane Fonda to The Beatles and Bob Dylan.

A number of refurbishments were undertaken as the century came to a close, the last completed just in time for the great Savoy party that celebrated the new Millennium. In December 2007 began the most extensive of restorations that would re-launch The Savoy in 2010 with all the flair and opulence of old. What has been achieved is a quite remarkable synthesis of past and present. The Edwardian style of the original buildings and the art deco of the 1920s and 30s have been enhanced to embrace the very latest technology.

The restoration offers guests even higher standards of service and pinnacles of experience, with new names such as the Beaufort Bar and Savoy Tea added to the hotel’s illustrious eating and meeting spots. So The Savoy brings to the 21st century its own style of quality, charm and originality, steeped in the character of London of which it is an essential part. Authentically celebrating its past, The Savoy is now also leading the present.

Reservations can be made in North America by calling 1-800-441-1414, in the United Kingdom on 00 800 0441 1414, or online at www.fairmont.com. Note to editors: high resolution images available at www.leonardo.com/fairmont.  Login: fairmont; password: media.

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Contact: 

www.fairmont.com

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Also See: Fairmont's Management Agreement for The Savoy Now Complete Following Acquisition by Kingdom Hotels International; $48 million Renovation Scheduled for Iconic London Hotel Built in 1889 / January 2005
The Savoy, 114 Year Old Luxury Hotel in London, Returns a Profit for U.S. Owner Blackstone / August 2003
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