Olivia Williams has unearthed a wealth of fascinating details about three generations of the eccentric, secretive D’Oyly Carte family, owners the hotel for nearly a century ... As for Richard D’Oyly Carte, Ms. Williams writes: 'His confections sit alongside Sherlock Holmes, gin and tonic, Wimbledon tennis, grand public spectacles of monarchy and Test Match cricket as rarefied features of Victorian Britain that have proved remarkably enduring.' Her book is a lively testament to that.
This detailed history rambles along, dropping names (Oscar Wilde, Sophia Loren, the Beatles) and attention-getting tidbits (Johann Strauss used to provide dinner music). Entertaining anecdotes document legal wranglings, eccentric guests, titillating scandals, and accounts of unimaginable extravagance ... Williams has done an effective job in recreating the Savoy’s remarkable past. Music theater enthusiasts, celebrity cognoscenti, and social history buffs will enjoy this account of timeless elegance and unparalleled service.
A rich and rewarding history of London’s Savoy Hotel and Savoy Theatre ... Williams drops plenty of names (Claude Monet painted the view from his hotel room; Bob Dylan was denied entry for not wearing a tie), folds in colorful anecdotes (one maid’s sole job was picking beads from flappers’ dresses off the dance floor), and incisively analyzes real estate deals and other business matters. The result is a delicious peek behind some rather luxurious curtains.