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‘My Favourite Hotel’ review – The Savoy, London, watching New Year’s Eve fireworks

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Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from London.

We are currently running this reader-written feature to provide some positivity and inspiration to Head for PointsYou can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews so far by clicking here.  This was scheduled to be a series of about 25 hotels, but a good response from readers means that we have commissioned another batch and are continuing the series.

Today’s hotel is The Savoy in London – a great treat for a New Year’s Eve stay as reader Ryan experienced.  Here is his review:

Overview

In 2019, my wife and I started to visit the bars and restaurants at The Savoy.  Whilst expensive for a drink, the overall experience was always worth every penny, especially when you think about the amazing live music that was often playing.

Savoy London hotel review

After a few visits, I knew we had to stay the night for New Year’s Eve. The Savoy needs no introduction, I’m sure.  Just in case, it’s ‘the only five-star hotel on the river’ and minutes from Trafalgar Square, London.

Like many HFP readers, I am points and miles crazy, so wherever possible I will stay utilising just that. This stay however required hard-earned cash. Whilst not cheap, it was worth every penny.

(Rob’s edit: The Savoy is, of course, part of the Accor Live Limitless loyalty scheme.  However, as Accor Live Limitless has revenue-based redemptions – 1 point get you 2 Eurocents off your bill – there is no advantage to spending points here compared to an Ibis!)

Booking

The Savoy is part of American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts for Platinum cardholders, so booking via Amex would provide you with the standard FHR benefits including free breakfast and guaranteed 4pm check-out. Another option of course is booking direct via the hotel website, which may sometimes be worthwhile due to the advance purchase offers that are occasionally available.

The final option (which due to non-explicit terms and conditions enabled this stay) was purchasing an experience voucher directly with the hotel and redeeming it.  Considering typical rates for this time of year, and that stays for New Year’s Eve usually require a 3 to 5 night minimum stay, I managed to get somewhat of a bargain.

The ‘River Suite’ experience cost £995 and included the following:

  • 1 night stay in a Junior Suite with River View
  • Bottle of champagne placed in the room upon arrival
  • Welcome drink for two guests placed in the room upon arrival
  • Butler service
  • Courtesy car (subject to availability)
  • Chauffeur transfer
  • Complimentary drink in the American Bar for two guests with overall value of £60
  • Same day pressing services for two garments
  • Access to fireworks available for all residents on the night of the 31st December
  • Breakfast (in restaurant or in-room dining)

Check In

Upon arrival, the doorman promptly whisked our bags away and took us to reception for check in. If you think the service is amazing (which it is) when you are visiting for a meal or a drink, it somehow manages to exceed perfection when you are staying.

We were invited to take a seat and the formalities were promptly taken care of. We arrived a few hours before official check-in, so our room wasn’t quite ready yet and we were invited to relax by the pool whilst they got everything ready.

After an hour, our room still wasn’t ready, so I asked how long it would take. We actually crossed paths with the receptionist who checked us in earlier who was coming to inform us about the delay and profusely apologised. This was of course fine as we were still early, but she insisted we had a drink on the house at the American Bar to apologise for the delay. I’ll never turn down a free drink!

Our room

After a short while and a lovely cocktail, Sean Davoren, the head head butler (he is famous in his own right and had a segment on the Late Late Show that you can find on YouTube) came to find us and escort us to our room.

Words cannot describe how beautiful this room is, overlooking the Thames with the best view in the house for the fireworks.

Savoy London hotel review

and

Savoy London hotel review

Sean offered to unpack for us and deal with anything we could ask for.  He ensured our outfits were pressed and back with us within the hour (more like 20 minutes). I cannot explain how sweet he was. Having a butler was a new experience for us, and he made it as comfortable and natural as possible.

Facilities

Hidden away is a beautiful swimming pool, gym and spa area, along with treatment rooms should you require any services

Savoy London hotel review

In room dining

As it was New Year’s Eve, all of the hotel restaurants were understandably (and we were pre-warned) full or offering full evening packages.  As we just wanted a small dinner and then spend our night drinking at the American Bar, we opted to have dinner in the room.

Whilst ordinarily you would call up and place your order, things were different here. Your butler will come to you room to take your order and provide you with a restaurant level experience. The food and setup was simply exquisite.

The American Bar

Following dinner, we went downstairs to secure our table at the American Bar and soak up the music of John Nicholls and his marvellous band. We had the perfect table dead centre and ordered some drinks. The waiting staff were phenomenal, the atmosphere relaxed, everything was just perfect.

Savoy London hotel review

New Year fireworks

At 11:45, everyone was invited to go to the Savoy’s own viewing area or, if you were lucky enough, to your room to view the fireworks. As we had a River Suite, we went to our room, popped open our champagne and watched the show.

Savoy London hotel review

and

Savoy London hotel review

Following the fireworks, we went back down to the American Bar and continued the night with a few more drinks and some more live music. By the end of the night, we realty felt the staff were our friends and when we were leaving we even hugged!

Breakfast

Wanting to make the most of the room, we had a late breakfast via room service. Of course our butler came up and took our order. Not too sure what was included (due to the menu being a-la-carte and our rate just including ‘breakfast’), we asked our butler. The answer was ‘anything you want’. So we did.

Savoy London hotel review

Courtesy Car

Certain packages and room types include use of the courtesy car. Whilst we had no actual need to use it, I couldn’t turn down the chance of a short drive in the beautiful Rolls Royce – and yes, people do turn around and take pictures.

Conclusion

I really feel our experience was once in a lifetime – it was perfect in every single way. The hotel has a special place in our hearts and I can’t wait to return for a few drinks. It has a real family feel and nothing is a problem.  If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend a stay. This isn’t an ‘everyday’ hotel, but if you have a special occasion and can pick up a package like the one we had, it is honestly worth every penny.

If you want to find out more, the Savoy’s website is here.

Booking

Our luxury hotel booking partner, Emyr Thomas of Bon Vivant, can get you special deals at The Savoy.  You pay the same Best Flexible Rate shown on the website and will also receive:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Complimentary full English breakfast daily for two guests per bedroom, in Kaspar’s, Thames Foyer or Room Service
  • £85 Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • 20% off Beauty & Fitness Treatments
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

You can contact Emyr via the form on this page of HFP.  All bookings are ‘pay on departure’ and cancellable like any other booking made at Best Flexible Rate.

Comments (23)

  • Hotel-User says:

    Totally agree with Rob. Burn the Accor points at Ibis and low level properties as the earning rate at the top end for status members is much better value.

  • Joan says:

    I have always enjoyed the American Bar , but it is in serious need of a refurb with fraying carpets and ripped wallpaper . Wonder if there are ( were) plans to do that .

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Would have been done top to bottom in the 2010 refurb presumably. Surprised it’s so run down already.

      • Joan says:

        It’s really noticeable during the daytime when it’s not as dark – I guess 10 years of wear abs tear is a long time

  • The Savage Squirrel says:

    Had an eye on it for years. Nearly every time I’m in London I pass the Savoy and wonder if I’ll ever stump up the readies to stay there. Even though life has been kind and I can afford this sort of thing (well, as a treat at least, maybe not an everyday experience :D) somehow so many years living in the North means I just can’t bring myself to part with that much cash “just for a hotel”…. 😉

    • Mike says:

      +1 I soooooo retain my Northern roots when when it comes to spending money. Yorkshire and proud !!

      • Lady London says:

        So do moths fly out of your wallet when you open it in Yorkshire?
        Or is that only further North in Scotland?

    • Bagoly says:

      In the nineties one could still just wander through from the front entrance down to the river entrance.
      One could even sit with a friend and chat for free on the bench on the staircase going down to the function rooms.
      Now as soon as one goes past reception, there is an interaction with staff and one has to pay money for something. 🙁

      At the Ritz I used to just walk in through the revolving doors, drink in the atmosphere along the corridor and go out by the reception. For many years the revolving doors have been locked/staffed.

      Times have changed.

  • 1ATL says:

    The entry road to the Savoy is only road in the UK where you’re to drive on the right. It’s quite fun to watch Uber drivers getting it wrong on their pick ups and drop offs. It’s a beautiful hotel and I’d encourage anyone in the area who’s interested or a little bit curious just to go and have a look. It’s a very popular venue in the posh afternoon tea trade too. Their chocolate chefs temper and construct some amazing creations which you can watch behind a glass wall. Sometimes they come out with free samples which I always love…. My wife hopes the Boodles concession in the lobby will follow suit one day.

    • John says:

      Googling “savoy drive on right” yields results such as “myths debunked” and “facts that aren’t actually true”.

      Plenty of carparks, bus stations and some motorway junctions are other examples.

      • 1ATL says:

        I meant on a public highway. I’m.syre there are plenty of privately owned placed where they can enforce what they like.

      • Lady London says:

        Yup it’s true. The street is only about 100-150 meters long from The Strand to the front door and vehicles drive on the right.

  • cinereus says:

    I suppose once you’ve dropped a grand for a night, you’d convince yourself a review replete with sycophantic superlatives was necessary.

    • Lady London says:

      It’s pretty accurate. As I mentioned the other day I spent 5 months at the Savoy working out of a River Suite.

      I’m glad to read that the service levels are still there. Being owned by Accor I wouldnt take that for granted.

      The bar and brekkie are useful there for business if you don’t want to stay the night. Not all the rooms have the advantages of a River Suite.

    • Ryan says:

      Not at all actually, genuinely a worth while experience with some of the best service in the world. They make you feel special and for a night, that’s simply amazing. When you also look into how much it costs for a bar or restaurant on NYE in London that has a view, this actually then becomes good value 🙂

  • Simon says:

    “Non explicit terms and conditions” sounds like code for you used a perceived loophole or had to have an argument…

    • Dicky S says:

      Agree. The 999 teaser rate sounds like a one off/something Savoy won’t be getting tripped up on again.

      • Rob says:

        As the T&C mentioned NYE, I think the ‘non-explicit’ element was that you didn’t to book a 3-5 night minimum stay. To be fair, I doubt they could fill the hotel by insisting on 3-5 night stays anyway.

  • J says:

    Great review sounds an amazing experience. Would love to stay here one day, Claridges also looks very special.

    • Lady London says:

      Claridges, the Connaught, The Berkeley and The Savoy were originally under same ownership. Each hktel had its fans amongst the discerning. To stay at, actually The Berkeley has most fans IMO.

      I am not sure about the refurb of Claridges but historically people I worked with said they did not get particularly good rooms compared to some other hotels at all of these. Except never a complaint about The Berkeley and with the exception of River Suites at The Savoy.

      All of them are very good to visit for meals or drinks though (The Berkeley more for staying in). The Savoy is particularly suited to this, the others more discreet.

  • The Savage Squirrel says:

    One innaccuracy. Since the Royal Horseguards opened, the Savoy is surely not the only 5* hotel on the north bank of the river?.

    That said, I am not well disposed to the Royal Horseguards. On my first and last stay there, they initially attempted to put us in a room next to a roof with the world’s biggest noisiest aircon unit (think sleeping next to a jet engine). Then after moving us, hustled aggressively for tips (I’ll just show youhow everything works sir – then turns tap on – could’ve worked that out myself ….). Then we had items stolen from our room and the hotel management reacted in a way that suggested this was not entirely a surprise or an unusual event, yet were still dishonest in their response. Wish I’d stayed at the Corinthia across the road TBH. So maybe it is worth paying a bit (lot) more for a better experience after all :D.