Tuesday, August 12, 2014

London's Savoy Hotel Celebrates it's 125th Year of Operation

     One of the most famous hotels in the world, the Savoy on the Thames in London has been a hangout for man international celebrities since it opening in 1889.

     This week, London’s iconic Savoy Hotel celebrated its 125th anniversary. Situated in Westminster City, the luxury hotel was built by impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte and opened to much fanfare in 1889, since it was the first luxury hotel in the city boasting electric lights and lifts, en-suit bathrooms and a constant supply of hot water. In 1890, Carte hired the hotel’s first famous manager, C├ęsar Ritz, who later became the founder of the Ritz Hotel. Rich and famous visitors from across the globe have long frequented the hotel, drawn by its consistent quality, luxury and style.
     While one side of The Savoy faces the Strand, the other looks out across the River Thames, giving guests an idyllic view of the city. This painting by artist Harold Oakley shows the Savoy in 1904, with its ornate original balconies.
     The Savoy was the first hotel in the UK to install electricity-generated lifts, a feature only previously seen in opulent American hotels. The hotel was built on a plot of land next to The Savoy Theatre which opened in 1881. The plot was originally purchased by Carte to house an electrical generator for the theatre, making it the world’s first public building to be lit entirely by electricity.
Marilyn Monroe
     The hotel kept records of its guests’ preferences, so that it could provide them in advance. For Coward, the staff made history by taking the first photographs of a hotel guest's toilet articles so that they could lay them out in his bathroom exactly as he liked them. They made sure to provide a fireproof eiderdown to Barrymore, as he always smoked while reading in bed.
Her Majesty the Queen Mother
     Her Majesty the Queen Mother can be seen arriving at The Savoy’s famous driveway. The hotel was also the first sighting of her daughter Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, who attended a wedding reception in 1946.
Joe Gilmore
     One of the very famous parts of the Savoy Hotel is the American Bar, named for the fact that it was the first to introduce American style cocktails to Europe.  The American Bar was the hangout for many famous writers such as Ian Fleming, Noel Coward, Ernest Hemingway and Oscar Wilde.
     Joe Gilmore was one of the more famous head barmen at the American Bar, he served from 1954 until 1975. Among his many creations was the "Moonwalk" to honor Neil Armstrong's achievement.   His hangover cure was two aspirins and a "Corpse Reviver".
     There were movie stars like Fred Astaire, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, Errol Flynn and even Bob Dylan spent time there.  This is a part of a list that would fill an entire blog page.  Today the celebrities still flock to the Savoy to be seen in the elegant atmosphere of the Savoy.