The Savoy Hotel in London has been the luxury spot to meet and be seen since 1889. The Gardener and I spent a wonderful couple of hours having afternoon tea and enjoying the American Bar.
Count Peter of Savoy was made Earl of Richmond and built the Savoy Palace on the Thames in 1263. Richard D’Oyly Carte of Gilbert and Sullivan fame bought the property in the Strand in 1880 as part of his plan for the Savoy Theatre and a luxury hotel. They say profits from The Mikado were used to build the hotel!
In the 1600s, Anne Hyde married James, Duke of York who became King James II on this site. They were the parents of queens Mary II (she of William and Mary) and Anne (subject of the film The Favorite.)
I was very excited just at the famous cab circle at the entrance. I loved the intricate topiary plants. And I knew we were in for a luxurious experience with a Lalique crystal fountain!
Inside, I was struck by a beautiful Wedgwood Jasperware-style seagreen frieze, similar to the ones I’ve seen in palaces in Russia. Savoy Tea is a beautiful jewel of a tea shop, with teas and florals mixed right in the window for you to watch. Afternoon tea is served in the Thames Foyer under the glass dome. The gazebo and pianist add the to quiet ambience of the room.
I booked our reservation for tea ahead of time online. Tea begins at 1 pm. We dressed up for this (in particular, The Gardener wore dress shoes, tie, and jacket.) We noticed that shoppers stopped by and were able to get a table right away, dressed very casually. I did note, we were seated near the piano and in sight of the most famous guest there (Mel Brooks!) while the more casually dressed were seated more remotely.
The service was so wonderful. It felt like we had our very own team of servers. Sandwiches and patisserie are the fare with a lovely array of teas and wine as the beverages. I’m still surprised by how enthusiastic I am about the sandwiches and I even asked for more. It was my first time eating Chicken Coronation. The scones and lemon curd were a wonderful treat, very different from scones I’ve had here at home. And you can see from the photos the beauty of the pastries and cakes! We spent about two hours having tea.
Next we explored the hotel and found the American Bar. The name comes from the American-style cocktails they began serving in 1893. The American Bar holds recent titles as World’s Best Bar and I felt like we had to indulge. The special drinks invented for the competition were pricey, but absolutely wonderful, inventive, and full of flavor. I loved watching the expert bar tender at work. You know it’s an amazing bar when a place of honor on the bar top is held for the housemate bitters and elixirs used in the cocktails!
If using Big Bus London, the green and red routes stop at Covent Garden or Temple Underground Station. The Underground has stations at Temple and Charing Cross.
- The Savoy Hotel London
- The American Bar
- Afternoon tea at the Savoy
- The beginner’s guide to Gilbert and Sullivan from English National Opera
- The no-frills, very British way to host an afternoon tea from The Washington Post
This post contains affiliate links: if you make a purchase using these links, I’ll receive a small compensation towards maintaining this blog, at no extra cost to you.
|Visit London UK||The Swan Bayswater pub||Kensington Palace|