A Hotel Story: The Savoy, London, UK
One to luxury goods what the other is to plush hotels, Gucci’s creative collaboration with The Savoy is a living, breathing embodiment of the fairy-tale happy ending, expressed to electrifying effect in the Royal Suite by Gucci and new Gucci Valigeria ephemeral space
15 December, 2022
In partnership withGucci
Enrobed in scarlet lacquer and gilt, The Savoy's Red Lift caused a sensation when the luxury London hotel opened in 1889. The "ascending room", as it was dubbed by the property's owner, Richard D'Oyly Carte, took a full seven minutes to rise from the ground floor to the fifth, the lift operator poised to wave smelling salts under the noses of passengers who found the adventure a little too dizzying.
For The Savoy's porter Guccio Gucci, there would have been plenty of time while conveying luggage to discreetly contemplate the sheen on a full-grain leather valise; the fine stitching on an attaché case; the manoeuvrability of a monogrammed trunk. Inspired, the young man duly returned to Florence, where, shortly after, he started his own luxury leather goods brand - Gucci. You may have heard of it?
With a backstory like this, it would take a heart of ice not to feel joy over the fact that the Italian fashion house, which celebrated its centenary last year, and London's doyenne of high-end hospitality have got into bed together, forging a creative collaboration that pays homage to their shared history. The partnership has seen new collection reveals, additional design features, exclusive guest and client experiences and, in its most sumptuous iteration to date, a complete takeover of The Savoy's flagship Royal Suite, transforming the space into an eclectic, contemporary and wildly romantic reflection of the Gucci world.
Even the most jaded of A-listers couldn't fail to feel a quickening of the pulse on entering the palatial suite, which runs the length of the hotel's fifth floor and features covetable furnishings and objets d'art from the Gucci Décor collection - all purchasable. The airy, high-ceilinged sitting room is home to a built-in bar with a Gucci-themed cocktail list (and bar staff on speed-dial). There's a six-person dining room, where, against a crisp white linen tablecloth, a unique projection of Gucci Flora designs brings an air of Italian summer villa to afternoon tea. Then, beyond a regal, wood-panelled dressing room with four cedar-lined wardrobes, there's the elegant bedroom, the pièce de résistance of which is a four-poster bed complete with handmade Savoir mattress, each individual spring wound with cashmere. That should be enough to ensure the beauty sleep of even the princess of The Princess and the Pea fame, but in case not, soporific guided meditation sessions and reactive lighting can be accessed via the TV.
Throughout, floor-to-ceiling windows frame the same Thames views that Claude Monet enjoyed during his regular stays at The Savoy - it was right here, on the fifth floor, that the great impressionist painted his famous renditions of Waterloo and Charing Cross bridges.
Not in the mood for painting? Leave the doors of the main bathroom - a vision in green marble - open, and drink in those same views from the tub, the warm air fragrant with curated aromatherapy oils, your bath having been drawn for you, naturally, by your personal butler.
Wes Anderson would surely smile to see the colourful exuberance Alessandro Michele has brought to Gucci since he became its creative director in 2015. Showcased in this heritage setting, it includes: a decadent melée of bubblegum-pink Gucci candles and bon bon dishes; tasselled cushions; Gucci perfume bottles; bold, botanical-print wallpapers; and the odd priceless work of art. There's a playfulness to it all that befits The Savoy's risqué past, this being the place where, in 1956, Marilyn Monroe created a scandal by wearing a dress that exposed her midriff - unheard of at the time - and in 1896, the Duchesse de Clermont-Tonnerre became the first woman to ever smoke in public, right at her dinner table.
And now, with the arrival of the recently unveiled Gucci Valigeria boutique, it is no longer necessary to even step outside of The Savoy when the urge strikes to run your hand along butter-soft leather totes, test-drive handsome trolleys or try on luxe monogrammed duffle bags for size.
Weaving together the artisanal craftsmanship and idiosyncratic panache that the fashion house has become synonymous with, the Gucci Savoy collection of luggage and accessories graces an ephemeral space on the hotel's illustrious ground floor. Pop in after breakfast, pre-aperitivo at the jet-black-and-gold Beaufort Bar or legendary American Bar, or en route to the impromptu cocktail party you're throwing in your suite on the fifth floor. Whenever you go, the collection is sure to inspire your next travels - just as the jet-set luggage once inspired a young Italian bellhop, new in town.