Take a magical trip to The Savoy at Christmas

Savoy Head Doorman TonySavoy Head Doorman Tony
Savoy Head Doorman Tony
Thursday: The Savoy at Christmas; (ITV, 9pm)

The recent run of docuseries The Savoy illustrated how one of the world’s most prestigious hotels coped during a pandemic.

And now we get to see how the staff at the London landmark manage during its busiest time of year.

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Across the hotel, every department is preparing for the Christmas rush and the rooms are fully booked.

Upstairs in the Butler’s Pantry, tensions are high as head butler Sean is instructing his newest recruit, Michael, ahead of his first ever Christmas at the hotel.

Michael has an important role – he is responsible for preparing the room for the Sprenger family, who spend every Christmas at The Savoy.

He says: “People are going to come and spend Christmas with their families.

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“They want the tree, they want the presents. They’ve saved up for this. It needs to be perfect.”

Restaurant director Anne is busily preparing the hotel’s four restaurants – Thames Foyer, The Savoy Grill, Kaspar’s at the Savoy and Simpson’s in the Strand – and her 160 staff for Christmas.

But she only wants one thing from Santa this year – to be able to take the day off and spend it with her own family for the first time in four years.

The last time Anne was at home on Christmas Day was when she was on maternity leave, and she is desperate to get home in time to put her little girl to bed on Christmas Eve.

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Anne says: “It’s a very challenging job to make plans, because if I have to be here then I have to be here.

“That’s the nature of the beast. As parents, you can really give yourself the guilts, you feel like you’re not enough.”

The Savoy Grill’s restaurant director Thierry and executive head chef Ben are also preparing for a very busy period.

With a seven-course Christmas lunch to prepare and three sittings, they will be serving up a total of 4,500 dishes on the big day.

Thierry says: “It’s not like a normal day.

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“Of course, I’d rather be at home. But let’s enjoy it. Hospitality is tough – if you don’t keep control of everything, then it’s going to collapse.”

Thierry’s mum is over from France for Christmas and pops into the Thames Foyer to sit down a festive afternoon tea with her hard-working son.

Meanwhile, regular guest Howell Harris drives from Wales to spend his first Christmas at the hotel since his mother died. Head butler Sean goes out of his way to make sure he is looked after and surprises him with a special trip to make it a Christmas he will remember.

We then skip forward to New Year’s Eve and see Michael rushed off his feet delivering in-room dining to the high paying guests.

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And downstairs, Anne is dealing with another staffing crisis as she prepares to welcome 400 guests, who have paid up to £495 each to see in the New Year with riverside views of the midnight fireworks. Anne is understandably feeling the pressure.

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