Hotel - Mayfair or Old Kent Road?

I have just finished watching a documentary about the Savoy Hotel. Those of you who have been on Mars may have missed that it has been closed for three years for a major, and I mean major, refurb.The alterations overran somewhat and went £100 over budget. The documentary, is, like its subject, restrained and refined. There are no bigh hissy fits on camera and no wannabe butlers in tears. The staff look as if they are used to being professional and dedicated. The hotel itself has become once again the luxury and opulence that says Savoy. There are of course one or two naff additions such as the fake masterpieces painted especially, but you can put that down to the fact that it is owned by an Arab. There is a lot more gold leaf everywhere too.

But would I stay there? To be honest, no. It is not the expense. Plenty of London Hotels either match or exceed Savoy prices. I think it is the fact that you would have to dress up just to go through the front door. Everybody around you is in some kind of uniform doing some kind of bizarre cameo act. You dare not go to the "personal" bar in case you accidentally spend 30 quid on a small gin and tonic. I don't do breakfast with strangers so I would need one of their personal butlers to serve me in the room. I short, you would not get out for less than a grand a night. And what of the experience? Well you can experience the Savoy merely by having a cocktail in the American Bar. That should be enough.

No, the Savoy would not be my first choice. Perhaps the Goring or the Connaught or the Cadogan, but not the Savoy. The Cadogan would be my choice. You can take a two night break, including breakfast, for £500, if you want economy and a good write up on Trip Advisor.

The thing is, I am not sure I would appreciate it. I find hotels in general a bit depressing and they give me a feeling of being bundled around like a commodity. I hate being a public spectacle, I am phobic about mini-bars and distrust the idea of being held captive to the system; dare you ask for a chip butty at midnight? Would you feel uncomfortable that the doorman earns more than you do, has better shirts and wipes his bottom with tenners so don't palm him less than a twenty? For opening a door? If you want coffee, do you really need to wait fifteen minutes and then watch some flunky go through an elaborate dance to serve it? I am not even sure I would be able to poo.
And call me an unreconstructed liberal, but being pandered to makes me feel uncomfortable and I have no plans to drive a limo into their swimming pool either. I just don't need that level of re-assurance that I am important.


Woman on a Raft said...

I was lucky enough to stay at the Savoy before the refurb when it still had the elan of the 1920s.

The rooms had no clocks because the kind of people who stayed there had staff, not alarm clocks. I misunderstood this and pulled a rope in the bathroom, expecting it to work the light or the shower isolator or something. Two flunkeys appeared to check if I was alright.

As it happens, the next morning I was not alright as I had recently become pregnant with predictable symptoms. Downstairs at breakfast, a waiter - a young man who wasn't English and was already working like crazy - took one look at me and quietly asked if I was OK.

He kept checking and even went so far as to suggest he could get me a doctor. Eventually I had to tell him just to put his mind at rest. He scuttled off to find me ginger tea and dry toast.

What impressed me was that I don't think he was just worried that I'd honk up on the carpet; I think he really cared about the health of a guest.

Brian said...

If I was going to spend more than £100 a night for a hotel room I would have to stay awake to make the most of it. Sleeping in a 6 star hotel room is like sleeping in the cinema or theatre to me. If I don't use all of the compliment-ary toiletries and tea/coffees I feel I'm not getting my money's worth.
Once in hospital, I was taking a shower but found the light level in the room rather dim. I stepped out of the shower, pulled the light cord (which didn't work) and stepped back in to continue soaping away. I was a young and callow youth and didn't expect to see a nurse, arms crossed, looking at me. Reader, I was shocked. Apparently, the cord was connected to an alarm and the light switch was outside.