In 1899 The Savoy Hotel opened in London. It was the first hotel in Britain to have electric lights and a lift! Cesar Ritz (of the Ritz Hotel who was later known as “hotelier to Kings and King of hoteliers”) was the first manager and his chef was Auguste Escoffier (which may be where we get the expression of ‘scoffing’ your food!).
Together they built up a clientele of the rich and famous and also created dishes they named after their guests. One of these was Peach Melba, which was made in tribute to the Australian diva of Covent Garden Dame Nellie Melba (she had adopted the name Melba after her hometown of Melbourne). Other famous guests have included Oscar Wilde, (who conducted his affair with Lord Alfred Douglas in The Savoy), Claude Monet (who painted his famous ‘Waterloo Bridge’ from a balcony at the hotel) and Fred Astaire (who danced on the roof of the hotel with his sister in 1923).
The forecourt of the hotel is also the only street in Britain where traffic drives on the right. This was because of the limited space in the courtyard, which did not allow for coachmen to keep to the left and still be able to pull up to the front doors smoothly.
After being closed for what seemed like decades and a £100 million restoration project, the Savoy reopened more splendid than before. According to its website “London will once again be itself as The Savoy dazzles”!
Image source: www.hotel-fly-car.com