On our last trip to London, we went to The Savoy for afternoon tea then attended The Play that Goes Wrong. It was a night that could have gone very wrong since I booked everything online. I worried about the location and if tea and finger sandwiches would be enough to sustain us through the length of the play. The tickets had been reasonable so I hoped it was decent. You never know. I crossed my fingers and toes.
A month later, my husband, Danny and I stood in the impressive entry of the Thames Foyer inside this famous hotel. A man played piano inside a wrought iron gazebo under a stained glass ceiling. The light scent of bakery floated through the air. Then a cheerful waitress led us to our table where the fabulous feast began. I was swept away.
The waitress insisted we each order a selection of sandwiches or desserts, although I figured it would be way too much food. Danny ordered savory and I ordered sweet. No surprise there.
Why did I worry? Our shared meal could have fed a very hungry family of four.
I watched a young man at a nearby table with awe. Major awe. Well taught in Manners 101-1001, this kid picked up his knife and fork while eating biscuits. He set down the aforementioned silverware between each bite and dabbed his cupid’s bow lips with the corner of his napkin. Nothing like eating in the States where everyone is in a hurry and most don’t give manners a second thought. Go America.
Without a place to store the savory leftovers, I made off with the sweet treats. Yum. I couldn’t resist.
I would recommend afternoon tea at The Savoy as an option before seeing a show. Be prepared to buy too much food. It’s worth the price of admission in this grand hotel. You won’t be disappointed by the quality or service. I felt like a queen!
And now for a bit of Quirky History
Speaking of royalty, the land between the Strand and the River Thames was originally gifted to Count Peter of Savoy by King Henry III. The Count built the Savoy Palace in 1263. He gifted it to the Congregation of Cannons of the Great Saint Bernard and it became a hospital, but not for long. Queen Eleanor bought the place and it became a castle once again. In 1381, the Peasant’s Revolted and burned it to the ground. It wasn’t until 1505 when Henry the VII willed money to renovate the ruins that it became a hospital once again.
But low and behold yet another fire destroyed the property in 1864. Richard Carte bought the property to build a the Savoy Theater for performances of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, which he produced. Ha! But after extensive research, he decided to build an opulent hotel instead. It was the first of its kind with electricity and elevators. Most rooms had their own bathrooms. Imagine.
In a few years, The Savoy bled money. He hired Cesar Ritz (of Ritz hotel fame, much later) to help him. Ritz was fired for stealing wine and spirits and for being a layabout. He probably spent his time working on his own hotel plans.
Yada yada and years go by until 2007 when the hotel is closed for major renovation costing over 220 million pounds. It reopened in 2010 with the addition of the Thames Foyer and the Beaufort Bar among many other improvements.
The Savoy is considered one of finest hotels in London today. Click to make a reservation.
Watching our time, we headed into the fresh air and took a quick sprint to The Play that Goes Wrong. It was located at the Duchess Theater only two blocks away. We arrived in plenty of time.
Loved the vibe in this comfortable and cozy theater and was very happy with our seats.
The play started while we sat waiting for it to start and not because we were late. Wait. What? The humorous antics in the pre-show set the tone for an escalating romp. The play amps up what goes wrong as the minutes race by.
By the second act the death defying acts of the cast had my heart pumping like I was on a high wire act in the circus. Thank the Lord, I sat a safe distance away from the frightening foibles being hoisted and dropped in a precise and unpredictable series of super scary feats.
Yes. I would recommend The Play that Goes Wrong. I double dog dare you to yawn during the second act.
If you’re in London, click here to buy tickets in advance. I picked mine up at Will Call before the play. Easy peasy.
It’s also touring the United States. I included the dates and locations below. Click here to purchase tickets.
Detroit, MI – Now through Feb. 24th, 2019
Tulsa, OK – Feb. 26 – March 3rd
Denver, CO – March 5 – 17
Tempe, AZ – March 19 – 24
Houston, TX – March 26 – 31
Kansas City, MO – April 2 – 7
Columbus, OH – April 9 – 14
Las Vegas, NV – April 18 – 24
Appleton, WI – April 30 – May 5
Minneapolis, MN – May 7 – 12
Baltimore, MD – June 4 – 9
Dallas, TX – June 11 – 16
San Antonio, TX – June 18 – 23
They will be adding more tour dates to this list. I hope it Goes Very Wrong and comes to your part of the world. It’s fun and takes prat falls to the next level.
In the meantime, slow down when you eat. Think of that young man with his delicate grace and style in savoring to remember the meal for years to come. I’ll definitely remember High Tea at the Savoy.
Have you ever experienced high afternoon tea? Are you a tea or coffee drinker? Do you like to go to plays?