Savoy, London $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
It took three years and $356 million to refurbish and restore the grande dame of London hotels, the Savoy, which reopened in fall 2010. The part-Edwardian, part–Art Deco building on the Strand in central London is an ideal spot to stay when in town for sightseeing. The restoration has retained the lobby's original friezes, paneling, and black-and-white marble floors, but a lighter color scheme and the Edwardian glass cupola (long covered up) brighten the space. Additions include the Beaufort Bar, a new Art Deco–style Champagne bar with dramatic jet-black and gold-leaf walls, a huge selection of Champagne, and live cabaret (fitting, considering the Savoy's theatrical beginnings). The revamped River restaurant offers a modern French menu and doubles as the hotel's breakfast room. The 268 guest rooms (62 of them suites) are either Art Deco or Edwardian in style, but all are elegant and understated, with Murano glass chandeliers and soft, light cream tones (and floral furnishings in the Edwardian rooms). All have black-and-white marble bathrooms, fresh flowers, and framed photographs of past famous guests of the hotel. If you're looking for an iconic London view, book one of the 38 rooms overlooking the Thames and the London Eye. There's a light-filled pool and gym where you can work off the mouth-watering pastries and chocolates made on-site and sold in the Savoy's Tea Shop.—Giovanna Dunmall
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:The Savoy fuses two distinct eras of its flamboyant history, the Edwardian and the Art Decothink Gilbert and Sullivan operas with Noël Coward cabaret. The Fairmont chain spent three years and nearly $355 million rehabilitating what had become a tired (but still loved) fossil. With the exquisite period detailing, from the Edwardian front hall to the bijou Tea Shop, and the updating of its 268 rooms, the result is wonderfully theatrical, and guests have a choice of grand as well as cozily small spaces in which to lounge and people-watch. The strongest reason to stay here is the south-facing Thames-view rooms; otherwise, you're paying more for the hotel's glamorous aura than for its location, near touristy Covent Garden. Decadence is best indulged in the cupola-topped foyer, where a five-course afternoon tea and a shamelessly full English breakfast are served, and in the sexy new Beaufort Bar, with diverse and well-chosen champagnes by the glass. Londoners are prepared to wait in line for up to half an hour to get into the city's most fabled cocktail den, the American Barwhere hotel guests have priority. Be warned, however: Sneakers are banned in both bars and in the River Restaurant (don't they want the Google generation tycoons?) but, oddly, not in the swank and revered Savoy Grill. 2011 Hot List
Which room to book: Thames-view rooms on the fourth floor and above are the most atmospheric.Subscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›
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