The Savoy, Thames Foyer
Strand, LondonWC2R 0EU
I love to go to the Savoy, even just to have a peek at the gorgeous Thames Foyer. The room is straight back from the revolving door at the iconic Art Deco entrance on the Strand, past the almost hypnotically beautiful flower arrangement in the Upper Thames Foyer. It’s flooded with light from the stained glass dome overhead. The hotel is the kind of place that holds dinner dances and burlesque evenings in addition to knowing how to make a really good cocktail. It whispers elegance and taste. (I love its Beaufort Bar, on my list of 10 bars every American should visit in London.)
When my mother and sister-in-law came into town, this was a place that I knew would embody the London afternoon tea experience for them. The Savoy was purportedly the first luxury hotel in London, with electric lights and sumptuous rooms. Illustrious guests have included Claude Monet, Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn and Noel Coward. Oscar Wilde took adjoining rooms at the hotel for himself and Lord Alfred Douglas. Tea here is as much about reveling in the atmosphere as eating tiny sandwiches and gorgeous pastries. During certain hours a pianist fills the room with music.
My American guests went around lunchtime when the room was populated but not overly crowded. After the chill and drizzle outside, the atmosphere and warmth of the room was so relaxing, “I could have fallen asleep,” my mother said. The tables look refined, with floral china, silver and ornamented with a single pink rose.
My mother had the Traditional High Tea, which includes green asparagus with poached egg, crayfish and lemon hollandaise, which looks as good as it tastes. The multi-tier tray of goodies included sandwiches of sirloin with wholegrain mustard, coronation chicken on olive bread, and classic egg and cress, among others. The pastries look like little gems.
My mother and sister-in-law enjoyed the meal but it was everything from the room to the presentation to the attentive service from the waiters that left them feeling that they had been pampered in style all afternoon.
The look: London from Art Deco decadence to Edwardian glamour
Tasty highlight: The perfectly cooked egg on asparagus and the delicious little pastries
Perfect for: Girlie groups of all ages and anyone who enjoys teatime with illustrious history and panache
Child-friendly? Yes. The formality of the room means it’s better suited to older children who can sit still amid the glassware and china
Dress code: Smart casual, no sportswear (including trainers)
Price: Traditional Afternoon Tea, £52 per person, Traditional High Tea, £58 per person, with a glass of Champagne Afternoon Tea, £71. Reservations highly recommended.
+ 44 (0)20 7836 4343