A three-day stay at a luxury London hotel – The Savoy – coincided with his birthday. It was an experience of pure luxury and romance.
For my husband’s 70th birthday, we took a trip of a lifetime. Beginning with a Transatlantic trip on the Queen Mary 2 from New York to London and continuing by train through France. We stopped in Hamburg, Germany, and ferried to Sweden and then a flight home stopping for a week in Iceland. We traveled in style and soaked in the history and sights.
The Savoy Hotel
The Queen Mary 2 arrived early in the morning in Southampton. We disembarked and took an Uber for the hour-long ride into London, arriving at about 9:30 AM. I expected to leave our bags and sightsee a bit until our room was available.
We entered the black and white tiled lobby and were immediately greeted and directed to a room containing three desks with cushy armchairs. As soon as we introduced ourselves, the woman behind the desk said, “Happy Birthday” to my husband. She cheerfully told us our room was ready, and they had upgraded us to celebrate the occasion.
A luxury room with a view
She rose from behind the desk and said she would escort us up to the room. As she opened the door, we saw light pouring into the spacious room from the 10’ high windows overlooking the Thames beyond the entry hall. A chandelier sparkled above the king-size bed.
The bellman brought our bags almost immediately. I was so happy to have this nest, instead of walking the streets for several hours. I’d slipped my shoes off, appreciating the plushly carpeted room, and walked barefoot into the bathroom. I was surprised by the warmth emanating through the heated tile floors. A huge tub with warming towel racks was an invitation to relax from the morning travel.
Very shortly, there was another knock on the door. This time it was a staff member with a birthday welcome from the manager. Sparkling water, a small cake, an embellished plate, and a thank you note from the manager set the tone for the decadence of our stay. Throughout the visit, the staff was available for any need. Each person we encountered looked at us, smiled, and made us feel important.
The Savoy’s afternoon tea
Of course, Afternoon Tea is a necessary tradition when in London. The Savoy’s Thames’s Foyer is the perfect place to sip a glass of Champagne while indulging in the beautiful and delicious patisserie and savories. Piano music softly plays in the background. Mmmmm….how much better could an afternoon get?
A luxury London hotel bar
Romantic and elegant, you will find the most extensive offering of Champagne, cocktails, and wine in London at The Beaufort Bar.
Bar food is also distinctive and downright yummy. Live music in the evenings adds to the dreamy atmosphere.
Savoy food and beverage
There is a wonderful pastry shop outside the hotel entrance, where we indulged in flaky chocolate croissants each day for breakfast. Two full-service top of the line restaurants, two more bars, and in-room dining could easily provide everything you need for days without ever leaving the hotel.
The Savoy’s location was perfect for walks
You probably will want to see some sights. Lucky for us, London’s weather was warm and sunny our entire visit. The Savoy is in the heart of London, so walking along the Thames and visiting bakeries and shops along the way provided the perfect diversion. We did more window shopping than purchasing, which was good for the waistline and pocketbook.
There were street performers on stilts. Others looked like statues. It was fun and inviting to stroll and absorb the atmosphere.
The London Eye, built for the millennial celebrations in 2000, was only a few blocks away. On my first trip to London, I had skipped this and later regretted it, so I booked my reservation online. The Eye is a giant Ferris wheel with luxurious glass-enclosed compartments that hold up to 25 people.
I indulged in the Champagne Experience, sipping bubbly for the half-hour ride. Soaring to over 400-feet high, the bird’s eye view offered a 360º panorama, including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the Parliament. On a sunny day like we had, the view spans 25 miles.
Visit the Queen?
Buckingham Palace is a short stroll away, therefore, don’t miss the Changing of the Guard is a not-to-be-missed attraction in London, and it is free. We discovered the first day it isn’t a daily event and changes with the seasons, so check Google and go on the right day.
When we went back the next day, we arrived early enough to secure a good spot out front on the Victoria Memorial, directly in front of the Palace. The Buckingham Palace Railings are also popular and position you closer as the guards enter the forecourt. The pomp and military ceremony for which Britain is famous is epitomized as the Guard march with precision, accompanied by stirring music.
A night at the theater
Our theater-going experience has been limited to one show in New York City. I was very excited to see the variety and opportunities to see a London show. The theater scene in London’s West End is vibrant. Over 40 theaters, many historic, offer plays and performances every night. On short notice, we were able to secure reservations and seats for The Book of Mormon and thoroughly enjoyed it. Surrounding the theaters are plenty of cafes, bars, and restaurants to round out the evening’s experience.
So much to see and do, our stay at the Savoy was a luxurious three-day pleasure-filled birthday celebration.
Learn more about a luxury stay at the Savoy, HERE.
About Joeann Fossland ~ She was bitten by the travel bug decades ago and has never recovered. A baby-boomer, free-spirit, she has visited 30 countries and 4 continents. Road trips, historic hotels, hot springs, tennis courts, and roads less traveled, are bliss. She has been sharing her experiences in dozens of magazines and online sites. Her article was recognized as one of GONomad’s Top 10 in 2019. Her other articles can be found on her blog, Joeann’s View. Or connect on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.