7 Secrets Of The Savoy Hotel

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 95 months ago
7 Secrets Of The Savoy Hotel
Entrance to The Savoy. Photo: Conor MacNeill

1. Kaspar the cat

The Savoy has a very special feline in residence — Kaspar the cat. He may not be a real cat, but he's been saving guests from (possible) certain death since 1926. An unfortunate incident in 1898 resulted in the superstition that death would befall the first person to leave when sitting at a table of 13 people in the Savoy's restaurant. Ever since, ff you book for 13 people at the Savoy, an extra place will be laid out, and Kaspar will join you for dinner.

Read more on London's fear of the number 13.

2. The cocktail museum

The American Bar, so named because it was one of the first to bring American-style cocktails to Europe, opened in 1893 and is still going today. Anyone can have a drink there (provided they're appropriately attired), but not many know about the tiny cocktail museum next door.

3. It's all lies

You've probably heard that the entrance to The Savoy is the only place in the UK where vehicles must drive on the right. This is not true — for a start, Hammersmith bus station's entrance and exit force drivers to the right. But never let the truth get in the way of a good story, eh?

Book for a table of 13 and Kaspar the cat will be joining you for dinner. Photo: Matt Brown

4. Public smoking

Rumour has it that the first woman seen to smoke in public did so here. The Duchesse de Clermont-Tonnerre smoked several cigarettes over the dinner table at The Savoy in 1896.

5. A right good knees up

In a move to rival the fictional extravagances of Jay Gatsby's parties, the courtyard of The Savoy was flooded with a metre of water in 1905, for a Venetian style party held by American millionaire, George Kessle. A silk-lined gondola carried diners around, and a 5ft-high cake was carried in by a baby elephant.

Read more about London's greatest parties.

6. Golf on the roof

In 1928, on winning his third British Open, golfer Walter Hagen was heard to boast that he'd hit a ball off of the roof of the Savoy and right across the Thames. In 1970, fellow golfer Tony Jacklin put the claim to the test:

He ended up hitting the ball straight into the drink.

7. It has its own rose

In 1989, specialist rose grower Harkness created the Savoy Hotel rose to mark the hotel's centenary. It's a light pink hybrid rose and still exists to this day.

We took a dip in the Savoy's bubbly pool recently.

Last Updated 26 May 2016