1905: No2 Bed
Our most famous creation was commissioned for The Savoy Hotel in London in 1905. On a mission to provide his guests with the ultimate night’s sleep, owner Richard D’Oyly Carte turned to the prestigious upholsterer James Edwards Limited to realise his vision. The sumptuous Savoy Bed, with its unique Trellis ticking designed by D’Oyly Carte’s wife, was an instant success. The Savoy bought the company in the 1920s to prevent the bed being supplied to their competitors, though famous guests were allowed to purchase one and enjoy some Savoy luxury at home. This original design - renamed the Savoir No2 Bed - is still made today for discerning private and trade clients worldwide.
1910: Enrico Caruso
Since the day it opened its doors, The Savoy has been associated with the stars of opera, stage and screen. Among the illustrious names who made the hotel their London headquarters - and discovered the unparalleled comfort of a top-quality, handmade bed - was the Italian tenor Enrico Caruso.
Caruso would retire to The Savoy after a concert for some relaxing chain-smoking, much to his manager’s disapproval. He also liked to entertain the waiters with his party trick: trying to move a piano by inflating his barrel chest against it.
1911: Giacomo Puccini
The majority of musical celebrities enjoyed the dance music at the Savoy, but Puccini was one of the exceptions, pleading for a suite high above ‘the noise’. From the regularity of his visits we can only assume he slept peacefully on his magnificent Savoy Bed.
1923: Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire once held a press reception at The Savoy Hotel where, rather than discuss himself or Hollywood, he held forth on the subject of salmon-fishing.
Twinkle Toes was not averse to ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy’ in the glamorous ballroom - and sleeping off his exertions in one of London’s finest beds - but his most memorable exploit at the hotel was dancing on the roof with his sister Adele.
1924: The Savoy Bedworks
To ensure exclusivity, in 1924 The Savoy Group purchased James Edwards Limited, the upholsterer responsible for making The Savoy Bed. The works was moved to Stukeley Street, just off Drury Lane in the heart of London’s theatreland. This made perfect sense as it was next to the warehouse of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company (formed by the hotel’s founder), which produced all the Gilbert and Sullivan operas staged at the Savoy Theatre. The Savoy Bedworks was born.
1937: Louis Armstrong
It appears that the jazz and trumpet supremo Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong liked to practise in comfort. He once asked The Savoy for a sound-proof room so that he could play his trumpet in bed: the management happily obliged with a River Suite.
1938: Marlene Dietrich
One of the sexiest screen legends ever to recline on a Savoy Bed, Marlene Dietrich would make her trademark regal entrance when she visited the hotel - then disillusion the chefs by requesting that her caviar and pheasant be followed by suet pudding.
1942: Noel Coward
Our beds are made by perfectionists, and no wonder. Creature comforts at the Savoy have always had to be of the highest standard to cater for the most particular of guests.
During the war the hotel played host to many whose homes had been bombed or whose staff were away serving their country. Noel Coward was one such refugee. He was so finicky about his grooming accessories that housekeeping took a photograph to ensure every item was positioned exactly as he wished.
1945: Winston Churchill
It’s not just celebrities from the world of entertainment who have enjoyed The Savoy’s famous restaurant and sumptuous beds. Winston Churchill had a long and distinguished relationship with the hotel. When he made his first post-war visit, everyone stood up and cheered him all the way to his table; he acknowledged the ovation with his trademark V sign.
1952: Charlie Chaplin
When the greatest star of the silent screen returned from America after nearly 40 years, he disembarked from the QE2 at Southampton and headed straight to The Savoy. Chaplin so loved the atmosphere and exceptional comfort of the hotel that he brought his family to stay in the same suite for four weeks every August thereafter.
1956: Conrad Hilton
Conrad Hilton was one of many famous hoteliers who enjoyed a busman’s holiday when in London. He was so impressed with the Savoy’s floor service (and presumably his bed) that he expressed interest - unsuccessfully - in adding the hotel to his own chain.
1960: Frank Sinatra
Ol’ Blue Eyes always stipulated that he wouldn’t play in London unless his manager secured him a room at The Savoy. Usually this meant 15 rooms on the sixth floor, so we can assume he was something of an expert on our beds.
1970: Maria Callas
Divas are known as much for their performances off-stage as on, and Maria Callas was no exception. She once declared that she was leaving The Savoy because her suite wasn’t large enough: a suitable alternative was promptly found. Were she alive today, she’d probably demand nothing less than the hotel’s magnificent Royal Suite, complete with our decadent No1 Bed.
1980: King Hassan II
The Savoy’s sister hotel Claridge’s became the place for overseas royalty to stay when visiting our own monarch. On one such occasion the late King Hassan II of Morocco - who travelled with a large retinue and much of his own furniture - found that his favourite mattress had been damaged beyond repair, so was forced to use a No2 Bed provided by the hotel. The next day he told the manager it was ‘like sleeping on a cloud’, and promptly ordered 24 for his palace.
1989: Change of address
After 65 years in Stukeley Street, The Savoy Bedworks was moved south of London to Mitcham in Surrey. The old property, now far too valuable to operate as a warehouse, was converted into offices. The new location in Mitcham was a modern warehouse unit which housed not only the bedworks craftsmen but a number of other Savoy enterprises, including their coffee-roasting department and a team of French polishers who kept the hotel group’s antique furniture in beautiful condition.
1997: Savoir Beds
By 1997 The Savoy Hotel was under different management and the decision was taken to sell any parts of the business which were not core, including the bedworks. Many companies were interested in buying the brand but there was a problem. The Savoy wanted them to produce the same model of bed, but the very high-quality mattresses and box springs, handcrafted using the finest natural materials, could not be made in a factory set up for mass production. In the end the business did not go to the highest bidder but to the one that offered to take on the existing craftsmen (just three, one of them part-time) and continue making beds to the same exacting standards. Savoir Beds was born, and the bedworks was independent of The Savoy for the first time since the 1920s.
1998: No4 Bed
This bed was devised in 1998 to cater for a wider range of hotel clients, who wanted the key Savoir elements - hair fillings, deep hourglass springs, a durable edge and fabulous, long-lasting comfort - at a more modest price than was previously available.
The No4 delivered the essence and excellence of Savoir in a less labour-intensive way. The hotels loved it, and it wasn’t long before their well-slept customers wanted to buy it too. So the No4 entered our showrooms, to great and continuing acclaim.
2005: Savoir Beds Wales
Demand for The Savoir No4 was growing from hotel clients, and we needed to expand production while maintaining the excellence of the craftsmanship. A small, high-quality bed-maker, well known to us and based near Cardiff in south Wales, was the ideal candidate to allow the business to grow. The Bed Company (Wales) Limited became part of Savoir Beds in 2005 and now makes the No3 and No4 beds.
2008: No3 Bed
The Savoir No3 Bed was designed as a slightly more sumptuous version of the No4 and has also proved extremely popular. We introduced premium loose horse tail to the mattress and deeper springs in the base; we also star-lashed the springs by hand with strong laid cord so as to improve their independent movement.
2010: No1 Bed
Although the No1 Bed is the most recent addition to the Savoir collection, its design and method of construction date back to the early 1900s, the halcyon days of Edwardian glamour and luxury. Crafted using techniques that require time and skills now beyond the reach of other bed manufacturers, the No1 is the apogee of bespoke bed-making and soft, sumptuous comfort. It is fitting that, in the course of its recent 220-million refit, The Savoy Hotel again turned to Savoir to offer its guests the ultimate sleep experience - and insisted on this queen of all beds for its Royal Suite.
Today Savoir Beds has 14 showrooms worldwide, from Paris to Shanghai, New York to South Korea. We are also thrilled to have collaborated with a number of highly influential names in the design world. 2015 alone saw partnerships with Lv Yongzhong, Sacha Walckhoff of Christian Lacroix, and Robert Couturier! We have now opened our second showroom in New York, and look forward to continuing our expansion over the upcoming year.