Don't miss The Savoy at Christmas

The Savoy at Christmas (ITV1, 9pm)

Access-all-areas programmes about hotels, holiday resorts and stately homes are all over the TV schedules these days.

But what makes fly-in-the-foyer series The Savoy stand out from the crowd is the fact that the place is not just a central London hotel, it’s a national institution.

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Filled with glamour, elegance, history and character, The Savoy has sat alongside the River Thames for over 130 years and was the first luxury hotel in Britain.

It has hosted rock stars and royalty, Oscar winners and world leaders, and you can almost hear the voices of these of other prestigious guests when you set foot inside the place.

The first run of The Savoy was filmed during the most dramatic period of the hotel’s history – an incredibly busy winter season complicated by the devastating coronavirus shutdown.

Despite the obstacles in their way, we saw how the staff catered for those lucky enough to be able to afford this slice of luxury, with cameras capturing the upstairs, downstairs and the most secret of corners.

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As a result, viewers got to know the team there, including Head Butler Sean Davoren, personally.

“There is no other hotel of this calibre with its history,” he says.

“I would like people to discover that we are a welcoming, friendly hotel. We are not a stuffy hotel. We want everyone to come in and to enjoy this building.

“Sometimes people are put off when you mention The Savoy, but I hope this series shows that our service is for everybody, not for a chosen few.

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“Viewers see a very natural and honest view of The Savoy and they will see exactly how we work on a daily basis.”

In the past, special occasions such as the BAFTAs and Valentine’s Day have featured in the series, which is narrated by Adjoa Andoh.

But like many hotels, the festive season is by far the most profitable time of year for The Savoy.

After the previous year’s Christmas festivities were cancelled, 2021 is now the most vital yuletide in its history.

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The Savoy is fully booked, and every department is preparing for the rush.

The Savoy Hotel doorman TonyThe Savoy Hotel doorman Tony
The Savoy Hotel doorman Tony

Christmas preparations begin in mid-November when, for six intense weeks, the staff work day and night to transform the hotel into a festive wonderland.

Sean, who is now Guest Experience Manager is scheduled to have his first Christmas off in 10 years.

But before he does, he is on a mission to ensure his new butler team is ready for the big day. Hopefully, staff sickness won’t ruin his festive plans…

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Meanwhile, in the Thames Foyer, guests check out the hotel’s seasonal afternoon tea menu. And 13-year-old opera singer Alfie is in for a surprise when a famous face drags him on stage up to perform.

Down in The Savoy cellar, Ella from the procurement team has to organise hundreds of tons of food and wine, as the hotel stockpiles in preparation for the celebrations.

With Sean and Michael both off, fellow Guest Experience Manager, Emily plans to wow some new guests, but she has to scramble somewhat to make sure a family has an emotional Christmas to remember.

Finally, in The Savoy Grill, Restaurant director, Thierry and head chef Michael are working flat out to meet guests sky high expectations.