Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Pleasure Palace; SUSAN LEE Steps into a World of Glamour and Luxury at the Savoy

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Pleasure Palace; SUSAN LEE Steps into a World of Glamour and Luxury at the Savoy

Article excerpt

The distinctive entrance of the hotel Kaspar's Seafood Bar and Grill O you think this is how the Queen lives?" I wondered aloud, taking a sip of tea from a white bone china cup.

DMy other half was peering through the net curtains of our fourth-floor suite overlooking the Thames. The London Eye loomed large in the sunshine across the river.

"Movie stars too," came a muffled reply from beyond the nets.

"Laurence Olivier was introduced to Vivien Leigh here. Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe were all guests. The Savoy's a proper pleasure palace."

The Savoy - so famous the world over, there's no need to add "hotel" - has lured royalty, the rich and the famous since first opening in 1889 with the first en suite hotel rooms.

Monet painted his famous canvas of the Thames from its balcony; it was where the then Princess Elizabeth was first seen in public with Lt Philip Mountbatten; and where in an alleyway, the Savoy Steps, Bob Dylan filmed the now famous "cue card" promotion for Subterranean Homesick Blues.

It is so steeped in history that the Savoy has its own small museum near the famous American Bar where many of the hotel's movie star guests drank cocktails embraced in a fug of tobacco late into the night.

It's smoke-free now, of course, but stylish uplighters, a tinkling piano and buzz of subdued conversation had no difficultly transporting me into a world of Forties glamour.

The Savoy may be historic but it is far from a fusty old relic.

The hotel's doors closed for the first time in 2007 for what became a spectacular three-year PS220m refurbishment.

Now rejuvenated, the Strand's grand old lady retains all her original glamour and poise but equipped and fitted for the needs of the 21st Century traveller.

Guest rooms are the last word in elegance and comfort. Attention to detail abounds from the light that comes on when a closet door opens to the paper doily at the bottom of the shiny metal bathroom bin. And I adore beds you need a step ladder to climb into. …

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