written by Olivia Williams
Published September 2020
THE STORY OF THE SAVOY HOTEL’S FOUNDERS, THROUGH A CENTURY OF LUXURY
“For The Gondoliers-themed birthday dinner, the hotel obligingly flooded the courtyard to conjure the Grand Canal of Venice. Dinner was served on a silk-lined floating gondola, real swans were swimming in the water, and as a final flourish, a baby elephant borrowed from London Zoo pulled a five-foot high birthday cake.”
In three generations, the D’Oyly Carte family pioneered the luxury hotel and the modern theatre, propelled Gilbert and Sullivan to lasting stardom, made Oscar Wilde a transatlantic celebrity, inspired a P. G. Wodehouse series, and popularised early jazz, electric lights and Art Deco.
Following the history of the iconic Savoy Hotel through three generations of the D’Oyly Carte family, The Secret Life of the Savoy revives an extraordinary cultural legacy.
‘A real triumph, beautifully written, with many wonderful stories of the Savoy.’ – Lady Anne Glenconner, author of Lady in Waiting
‘An elegantly crafted, yet spritely and sparkling book, perfectly befitting its subject. Williams uses group biography to beautifully illuminate some of London’s greatest hotel and theatre landmarks.’ Ophelia Field, author of The Favourite
‘A thoroughly entertaining account of some of London’s most treasured history, with its beloved The Savoy at the heart of a fascinating and delightful plot. Bravo to Olivia Williams and her fantastically colourful cast of characters.’ – Lady Kinvara Balfour, director and producer
‘A cracking good read and a fascinating story that – amazingly – has not been told before.’ Fiona Duncan, the Telegraph
‘This is a fascinating story, and it could not be better told. Elegant, great fun, and with a finely-judged personal touch: much like the Savoy hotel itself.’ – Laura Thompson, bestselling author of Agatha Christie and The Mitford Sisters