London's Savoy Hotel Set to Reopen After $350 Million Rennovation

Alan Light, flickr

What can $350 million do to one's looks? A lot if you are 121 years old. That's what it took to bring the legendary Savoy Hotel in London into the 21st century in an artful blending of Edwardian and Art Deco with traits of some stunning art and design.

The costs for the lift range up to $350 million by some estimates -- priceless, perhaps, for a hotel that has hosted the likes of Edward VII, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, Charlie Chaplin and Coco Chanel. Claude Monet stayed for six months while painting views of the river and Frank Sinatra entertained guests at the grand piano. Winston Churchill held court in the restaurant.

From behind the scenes, Swiss hotelier César Ritz and Maitre Chef Auguste Escoffier created standards in hospitality and dining that continue to, well, be the standards. And when it opened it launched a tradition of innovation for its time: it was one of the first hotels to use electricity throughout the property. It was one of the first to operate "ascending rooms," now known as elevators, and build en suite baths. Today, it is continuing that momentum with something called the "Green Butler," who performs duties with energy- and planet-saving steps, as well as supplies guests with a litany of "green" activities around the city. The hotel also employs such measures as recycling cooking oil, transforming it into biodiesel, and recycling up to 90 percent of the hotel's waste.

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As a Fairmont Hotel now, the Savoy is also giving guests the digital edge with free WiFi in rooms via no-obligation sign-ups with the chain's President's Club.

All the Savoy's 268 guestrooms and suites have been remodeled under the direction of world-renowned designer Pierre Yves Rochon (think: Four Seasons, Florence, Peninsula Shanghai, and the Hermitage, Monaco) with such classic Victorian details as clawfoot tubs, and coveted Miller Harris bath products.

The hotel has nine Personality Suites, named after famous guests -- like the Marlene Dietrich suite that features a dozen pink roses, a request of the German actress made each time she stayed at the hotel.

The expansive Royal Suite crowns the lot with a marble foyer, office, living and dining rooms, a kitchen and two bedrooms that all come with a doting butler.

Rack rates start at 485 GPB or $773 per night.

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