The world-famous Savoy Hotel is finally to re-open its doors to the public in June. (They’re aiming for early-June, but let’s just say June for the moment.)
The total refurbishment of the Fairmont-run hotel is running months behind schedule, and – although no figures are forthcoming – seems certain to have well and truly bust its £100m budget too.
A tour by the Harden’s team today, however, did show just how enormous the task is, and the effort that’s being invested to bring back the magic of the old Savoy, with a thousand souls working on the refurbishment at any one time. There is clearly still much to do, but they’re confident that the place will be up and running by the middle of the year.
So what will the new Savoy offer London? As a drinks rendezvous, locals will be pleased to see the return on the American Bar, totally rebuilt but pretty much indistinguishable from the old days. There will also be a new bar, the Beaufort, claiming to offer the largest range of champagnes by the glass in town.
On the food front, the famous Grill Room will look substantially as it did immediately before the hotel’s refurbishment. The tenant remains Gordon Ramsay, who has entered into a new five-year contract. A slight change of culinary style – more grill-like – has, however, been decreed.
The River Restaurant – a wonderful room-with-a-view not used in recent times, save for breakfast – is to be relaunched as a destination restaurant. Rather like the new establishments planned for the Mandarin Oriental, however, the aim is not grand luxe, but elegant mid-range dining.
Here, however, they’re not bringing in any international ‘brand-name’ chefs (hurrah!), but have located a new non-English toque – perhaps a Frenchman, as the restaurant is to be French – who does not currently work in the UK. And that, for the moment at least, is as much as they are prepared to say on the subject.
The Savoy is also of course well known for banqueting. On that, the aim is essentially that everything will look as it always did, but now with state-of-the-art services built in. One innovation: for banquets, it will be possible for guest to order à la carte, rather than from a set menu. We’re not as worried by choice (for its own sake) as some people are, but it certainly sounds a neat trick.