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An Inside Look at The Savoy in London (and the Glam Beaufort Bar!)

February 14, 2011 By:Mary Winston Nicklin

The Savoy, London, Beaufort Bar

On a recent trip to London, we stopped by The Savoy to scope out the massive £220 million restoration project that's had tongues wagging on both sides of the pond. We weren't the only ones gaping. There was an actual traffic jam in the lobby (chic patrons and curious passer-bys) gawking at the interiors by designer Pierre-Yves Rochon. We also noticed the queue for the American Bar, the watering hole made famous by legendary bartenders Ada “Coley” Coleman and Harry Craddock, author of The Savoy Cocktail Book. The bar team today is no less impressive; Manager Daniel Baernreuther is joined by a top team of bartenders including Head Bartender, Erik Lorincz (Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2010) and Stefano Cossio (winner of the UKBG Akvinta National Cocktail Competition).

So how do would-be imbibers bide their time before snagging a coveted seat inside? They visit the adjacent Savoy Museum, where memorabilia from the storied hotel's history is showcased. After all, The Savoy has hosted a slew of famous guests-- like Katharine Hepburn, Coco Chanel, Claude Monet, and Winston Churchill. (Marilyn Monroe and Queen Elizabeth II danced on the ballroom’s parquet floor.) Indeed, the nine new "personality suites" have been styled after some of these high-profile guests.

The Savoy, London

We checked out a one-bedroom River View Deluxe Suite, decorated in the traditional Edwardian style, and reveled in the views. A wall of windows framed the city skyline above the river Thames. These views are really what distinguish The Savoy; the setting between Mayfair and the city of London along the river is enviable. In the marble bathroom, we ogled the claw foot bath, separate walk-in shower with rain showerhead, and bath products by Miller Harris.

Pictured at top: The new Beaufort Bar, a glamorous destination for sipping cocktails surrounded by gilded Art Deco opulence (think alcoves adorned in gold-leaf and lots of black-- from black velvet curtains to the custom-designed black chairs). There are 28 Champagnes available by the glass, and a slew of specialty libations.

The Savoy, London

We didn't try The Winston (Time Out London describes the £50 drink like this: "Inspired by Winston Churchill's habit of wetting his cigar in his Cognac, it has Hennessy XO, blood orange purée and quince liqueur muddled with a Romeo y Julieta cigar (seriously) and served straight up.") But we did relish the Savoy Stutter and The Pink Rooster, served with gourmet bites: olives, caramelized almonds, salmon sushi, and curried chicken wraps.


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