AGENTS from the Middle East are invited to visit the world-famous hotel Savoy in London. “I’ve just bid farewell to a group of travel agents from Bahrain,” Kiaran MacDonald, managing director of the Fairmont-managed property, tells TTN. “For me, it’s all about partnering with the travel agent world and getting them to come over and experience what the Savoy has to offer. There’s a complete open door to facilitating familiarisation trips.”
Since undergoing a major $350 million refurbishment, the most ambitious hotel restoration in British history, the all-new Savoy opened its doors four years ago in 2010. It was Prince Charles who declared The Savoy officially reopened on November 2, in the presence of the hotel’s part owner, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin AbdulAziz Alsaud and his wife Princess Amira.
“The Savoy was the first hotel to introduce butler service,” reveals the hotel’s managing director. It’s no wonder then, that the UAE’s national airline Etihad Airways chose the Savoy to train its first batch of butlers.
“When it was first opened 125 years ago, The Savoy was regarded as the most luxurious hotel in the world. We’re so proud of the property’s history but the foundation of The Savoy really is luxury,” says he.
The Middle Eastern market traditionally focuses on the Park Lane and Mayfair areas of London and that continues to be the case.
“We are located away from that part of London, in a beautiful part of Covent Garden overlooking the River Thames. It’s a pity that there is a lack of awareness of this part of London in the Middle Eastern communities,” continues the experienced hotelier. “We are in the cultural heart of London, in a vibrant and exciting part of London, with lots of restaurants, theatres, art galleries, food markets and activities based around it. We also have our own boat on which guests can go on excursions.”
MacDonald’s favourite excursion, he tells us, is a leisurely stroll right outside the Savoy, through Victoria Embankment Gardens, overlooking the River Thames.
Honouring the hotel’s two main aesthetics, English Edwardian and Art Deco, the guestrooms and suites seamlessly blend the traditional with the latest in discreet technology. Designer Pierre Yves Rochon has used the finest materials from murano glass chandeliers and silk wall coverings to Italian linens and marble floors.
No two rooms or suites are the same with many boasting original features, such as original fireplaces, and views over the River Thames and the city of London.
As MacDonald puts it, The Savoy is up there with the top hotels in London. “The Savoy is an experience that is second to none. It’s about value, not price. And value is demonstrated at The Savoy many times over.”
The Savoy is celebrating its 125th anniversary year in 2014.
By Rashi Sen
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.