Few cities can claim hotels as iconic as the Savoy, which merits a visit even if you, like most people, cannot afford to stay there. There may be no more thrilling hotel entrance than the polished gleam of its porte cochere centered around a Lalique fountain. The service puts no foot wrong. Strange, then, that the details pander so—when you pay this much, why can’t you have a real painting rather than a print textured to look like canvas? Why are there portraits of Hollywood stars in the famous Thames Foyer? Why is the gimmicky cocktail menu in the sublimely ebony Beaufort Bar designed like a children’s book? Still, the Savoy has vibrated with high history, half Edwardian and half Jazz Age, since 1889. The American Bar has been a hushed laboratory for upscale cocktails for a century; its Simpson’s in the Strand has been serving roast British dinners since 1828. Corny details can’t erase how much happened here: Churchill puffing, Chaplin mugging, Wilde and Bosie dallying, Gilbert and Sullivan pattering in its theater, Monet and Whistler painting the Thames from their windows. A fine honeymooners’ selection.

 

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