Where to stay: London

The Savoy, A Fairmont Hotel *****

 Central London, beside the River Thames and in the heart of Theatreland


Quintessential landmark hotel that is serious about the environment


One of the world’s most famous luxury hotels this fully lives up to its century long tradition. The Savoy is located between the City (financial district) and the West End. “We’re passionate about looking after the environment – without compromising the luxurious feel of the hotel,” says Debra Patterson who heads its Green Team.

It was opened in 1889 by Richard D’Oyly Carte, the impresario who backed the Gilbert and Sullivan operas in his Savoy Theatre next door. Since then it has been a magnet for the well known and the well heeled, from royalty to prime ministers and Hollywood stars to captains of industry. It reopened in 2010 having undergone ‘the most ambitious hotel restoration in British history’ costing £220 million.

It now has 268 guest rooms, with 38 suites, including nine new ‘personality’ suites named after notable guests including Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich and Frank Sinatra, and a vast Royal Suite that occupies the entire front of one floor. Many rooms have magnificent sweeping river views that inspired Whistler and Monet. They are designed to reflect the original Edwardian style with the later Art Deco influence and combine understated elegance with ultra modern amenities.

The legendary River Restaurant has undergone a contemporary interpretation of Art Deco décor and the Savoy Grill is part of Gordon Ramsay’s empire. The famed American Bar has been joined by a new Art Deco bar called the Beaufort, decorated in black, gold and leather. A gazebo has been introduced in the Thames Foyer (where Pavlova danced, Noel Coward played the piano and Caruso sang) beneath an ornate glass dome, where afternoon tea can be taken.

There is a Fitness Gallery with gym and a wide range of relaxing treatments and therapies on offer, plus a swimming pool beneath an atrium.

Green features

The Savoy’s commitment to sustainability, which was evident when ecofriendlytourist.com first visited the hotel, dates back to 2005 when it joined the Fairmont group. It now claims to be London’s most environmentally responsible luxury hotel.

As part of its extensive facelift there has been ssubstantial investment behind the scenes costing, it says, £2.4 million aiming to reduce the hotel’s carbon emissions by 3,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and energy consumption reduced by at least 40%.

New high efficiency heating and cooling systems include a combined heat and power plant that reduces the hotel reliance on the energy grid by approximately 50%. Heat from all kitchen appliances is reclaimed and used to preheat the domestic hot water. Intelligent energy building controls have been installed, including smart metering and 24 hour energy consumption monitoring. Smart guestroom thermostats in all rooms and suites are designed to control lighting and room temperature and use natural ventilation to regulate the temperature inside the room.
Wherever possible low energy lighting and low flow water systems have been introduced, whilst at the same time actively promoting responsible practices throughout the hotel to preserve natural resources. There are systems that recycle up to 90 per cent of waste, hybrid vehicles for transfers and BMW bicycles for guests’ use. It supports various good causes including the charity Thames 21 to look after the stretch of the River Thames along its frontage.

The hotel has also introduced the world’s first Green Butler with an in-depth knowledge of ‘all things green’ around London.

The enthusiasm of Debra Patterson (a Fairmont Environmental Star of the Year) is impressive and infectious. “We’re not paying lip service,” she says, “we’re deadly serious.”



The Savoy, A Fairmont Hotel
London WC2R 0ET
Tel: +44 (0)20 7836 4343
Fax: +44 (0)20 7240 6040