Savoy hotel reopens after £220m refit

Savoy hotel exterior (courtesy Savoy/Fairmont Group) The Savoy has undergone a lavish facelift lasting almost three years

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London's Savoy hotel has reopened after undergoing a £220m refit.

The hotel in the Strand closed its doors in December 2007 for the refurbishment, which was expected to cost £100m and finish early last year.

Many fixtures and fittings were sold at auction as work was undertaken to reflect the original Edwardian style with the later Art Deco influence.

Checking in actor Stephen Fry tweeted: "Aware that I am of course outrageously lucky to be new Savoy's first guest".

He commented: "Was clapped in by staff like new heir to Downton Abbey *blush*."

Fry, who became the first guest at 1010 BST on 10 October, 2010, will take up the role of "blogger-in-residence" at the hotel, which is fully booked for Sunday and Monday night.

'Personality' suites

According to Fairmont, which manages the 120-year-old luxury hotel, the restoration included the entire building from the entrance to the Savoy Grill and the 268 rooms, as well as wiring and plumbing.

A luxury two-bedroom Royal Suite has been added along with the relaunch of 38 river suites and guestrooms overlooking the River Thames.

Designer Pierre-Yves Rochon worked with a team of more than 1,000 craftsmen and women and artists to create the new interiors, said to be in keeping with the hotel's "original" spirit.

New additions include nine "personality" suites paying tribute to notable guests including Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich and Frank Sinatra, an Art Deco bar called the Beaufort, a tea shop and the reintroduction of a gazebo under a glass dome.

As part of the facelift the hotel is now understood to have a combined heat and power plant to reduce the building's reliance on the national grid by around half.

Edwardian river view suite (courtesy Savoy/Fairmont Group) The refit included the relaunch of 38 river suites overlooking the River Thames

General manager Kiaran MacDonald said: "We are very excited to reopen The Savoy.

"It is fair to say that this project has not been without its challenges, but we are looking forward to unveiling the results of nearly three years of hard work and dedication.

"We are very aware of the place that The Savoy holds in many people's affections and we firmly believe that the hotel will exceed people's expectations and reclaim its position as one of the world's great hotels."

Throughout the 20th Century the Savoy has been a glamorous backdrop for lavish parties and scandalous affairs as well as a temporary home to the rich and famous.

French artist Claude Monet, Sir Winston Churchill, the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe and Sir Richard Harris all lived there.

After the hotel closed in 2007 its furniture, fittings and memorabilia were auctioned, achieving sales of more than £1m.

Among them a white baby grand piano once played by Frank Sinatra sold for £11,400 and a pair of chandeliers from the hotel's Thames foyer attracted a winning bid of £19,200.

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