British Bespoke: Your Own Private London
Anyone can visit London, but when you stay at The Savoy, A Fairmont Managed Hotel, you are privy to a London that few ever experience. From the moment the driver greets you at the airport, you have only to relax and enjoy your visit to this most regal of cities. The Savoy, founded in 1889 and renovated to celebrate its prestigious heritage, is at once elegant and welcoming. Your room may be the one Monet used to paint the River Thames or where Elizabeth Taylor spent one of her honeymoons. As you move through the spectacular hotel, you might imagine Churchill debating politics over dinner, Gershwin playing "Rhapsody in Blue" or Sinatra sipping cocktails at the bar.
Along the River Thames
If you’re here for a short visit in Londontown, a perfect way to see the sights is during a tour on the River Thames. The Savoy’s concierge can guide you to the hotel’s River Entrance and, after a leisurely stroll through the gardens, make your way to the private Savoy Pier. Your journey along the River Thames is aboard the Silver Darling, a luxurious high-speed yacht. As you relax in the plush interior designed by the Royal Designer for Industry, you experience one of the most picturesque parts of the river. As you depart, take a peek behind you at the London Eye standing tall on the South Bank. You will pass under Waterloo and London bridges before disembarking at the Tower of London.
The Tower of London and Crown Jewels The Tower of London has been home to the English Crown Jewels for more than 600 years. Jewelry aficionados will savour the opportunity to leave the commoners behind and meet with the Queen's Jeweller, for a private viewing of the spectacular collection. With champagne and canapés in hand, follow along as this knowledgable guide escorts you to the Jewel House to behold the Coronation Regalia at close range. Be sure to check out the Sovereign's Sceptre, a mighty piece that holds the world's largest colourless cut diamond, weighing in at more than 530 carats.
As you admire this priceless collection, your guide can regale you with stories of the Crown Jewels. Did you know Henry V once lost a beautiful ruby on the battleground at Agincourt? Somehow his soldiers found the ruby and returned it to the king in England. He wore it around his neck the rest of his life. After you've heard the stories and admired the gems, a chauffeur from The Savoy will transport you back to the hotel.
Nightcaps in Style The American Bar at The Savoy is London’s oldest surviving cocktail bar. The Art Deco-inspired icon continues to serve up classic cocktails with a twist. You can sip Harry Craddock’s White Lady, a staple at The Savoy since the 1920s, to the backdrop of live jazz.
A Garden Party
After your first night at The Savoy, you are off for a half-day excursion to the English countryside as guest of honour at a stunning English garden, one of the top 10 private gardens in Europe. The lady of the manor will greet you, guide you through the gardens laid out by legendary designer Nancy Lancaster, and then join you for an intimate garden lunch.
An Afternoon of Art and Tea
After a leisurely ride back into the city, take a walk to Somerset House, a two-minute stroll from the hotel. Somerset House, with its 55 dancing fountains in the courtyard, is an arts and cultural centre and home to London Fashion Week. Ask the Savoy’s concierge to set you up with Somerset’s curator, who will lead you on a private tour of the current exhibitions.
After an afternoon surrounded by art, we recommend one of The Savoy’s most celebrated rituals. According to Head Concierge David Young, Afternoon Tea at The Savoy is a must-do for foodies and cultural enthusiasts. Taking place in The Thames Foyer, the glass-domed heart of the hotel, "It is the most favoured of British traditions," explains Young. Your service begins with a selection of fine international teas, finger sandwiches and homemade scones served with jam and Devonshire clotted cream. This elegant celebration of everything British ends with a selection of pastries and cakes. To take home a bit of your experience, you can shop at Savoy Tea in the Upper Thames Foyer for packaged teas and accessories.
Heraldry and Fanfare
Begin your next full day in London with a visit to the College of Arms. There, the Chief Herald explains the complex traditions surrounding the creation of a coat of arms. You can view crests of many famed Brits, from Cardinal Wolsey to Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Late morning, your driver whisks you away to meet with renowned historical portrait dealer, art aficionado and author Philip Mould at his namesake gallery in Mayfair. Mould shares magnificent artwork and portraits, from Van Dyke through the modern day. You can ask him about great finds in the art world as you enjoy a private lunch amongst the masterpieces.
An Evening at the Theatre
The hotel is quite close to the Theatre District, a must-see part of town for every London visitor. The Savoy concierge can arrange a behind-the-scenes tour of the 150-year-old Royal Opera House. As you explore with your guide, you can uncover the theatre's colourful history and discover why it remains one of the world's premier performing-arts venues. You may even be lucky enough to see a rehearsal by The Royal Ballet. Finish off the final evening of your bespoke London visit with tickets to the ballet or opera.
To arrange any of these highly customized experiences, contact The Savoy Concierge at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For seasonal savings at The Savoy, take advantage of our Summer Sale until Sept. 2014.
Susan Lanier-Graham is a freelance writer based in Arizona. She specializes in luxury destinations, food and wine. Her work has appeared in such publications as AAA Highroads, AAA Home & Away, Uptown Magazine, So Scottsdale, Design & Architecture, Luxe Beat Magazine, Phoenix Home & Garden, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, Cowboys & Indians and dozens of online publications.
The Crown from India by Pietro & Silvia
Somerset House by Ben Sutherland
Crest at The College of Arms by Brian Jeffery Beggerly