The story of the original Savoy Bed has a glamorous beginning. In 1889, when famous impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte opened The Savoy in London, he unveiled one of the world’s most innovative and luxurious hotels. Delivering unsurpassed comfort, like no other hotel in the world, it was the first of its kind.
In D’Oyly Carte’s quest for the best, no creature’s comfort was spared. Guests marvelled at the ensuite bathrooms with hot and cold running water, electric lighting and the ‘luxurious ascending rooms’ we know as lifts. During a refit in 1905, it was felt that no bed on the market met the hotel’s legendary standards of excellence. Lady D’Oyly Carte, who helped her husband realise his vision for The Savoy Hotel, also believed so strongly in the health benefits of a good night’s sleep. A new class of beds came into being.
The prestigious upholsterer James Edwards Ltd was specially commissioned to create the Savoy Bed. The hotel did not want its rivals to buy the beds from James Edward Ltd, but guests could order the beds from The Savoy. On one such occasion, the late King Hassan II of Morocco, who travelled with a large retinue and much of his own furniture – found his mattress had been damaged beyond repair. Forced to use the Savoy Bed provided by the hotel, he declared it was ‘like sleeping on a cloud’. He promptly ordered 24 for his palace. Following a wonderful night’s sleep on her Savoy Bed, Liza Minelli also refused to leave the hotel without one.
“(…) After a night’s sleep on a Savoir, our guests are ready for the day ahead, mentally alert and physically rested. For the hotel, Savoir beds have been woven into the fabric of The Savoy since 1905, with memorable experiences at the heart of everything.”
The Savoy Hotel
To ensure exclusivity, the Savoy Group bought the James Edwards Bedworks in the 1930s. It did not change hands again until 1997 when The Savoy sought a new owner. This was on the condition that the beds would be handmade in the same way. Savoir was the only buyer willing to keep the existing craftspeople and continue to use traditional techniques.
Think of a factory, then think again. Calm, light and airy, the Savoir Bedworks in London and Wales defy the archetype. In place of hulking machines, there are highly skilled craftsmen working intently at individual oak trestles. Instead of adding the clatter of a production line, you hear the soothing tapping of tacks, music from a radio and occasional amiable exchange between colleagues.
Arjoon, the London works foreman, has been making beds by hand since 1987. One of the three original Savoy craftsmen inherited by Savoir in 1997. He has trained most of our current team. Standards are so high that it takes at least a year to teach an apprentice the techniques necessary for making a Savoir bed base – two years of you include mattresses and headboards.
“It’s worth all the effort when customers write to thank us for the best night’s sleep they’ve ever had”
Arjoon, Savoir’s craftsman since 1987
A century after it was first created, the story of the original Savoy Bed continues today. We currently craft this masterpiece in London, now the Savoir Nº2. Its comfort and durability are legendary. Modern mechanisation cannot begin to match the traditional skills required to produce this world-famous bed. Therefore we continue to craft this iconic bed by hand. We only use the finest natural ingredients and the original techniques, so it takes at least 80 hours to create. We still use the trademark Trellis ticking designed by Lady D’Oyly Carte herself. The repeat of the jacquard pattern ensures precise cutting of the mattress and topper casing.
A masterclass in craftsmanship, comfort and style, the Savoir Nº2 continues to be an icon in sleep. Its cloud-like comfort, enjoyed by Winston Churchill, Giacomo Puccini and Marilyn Monroe to name a few, will make every night feel like a night at The Savoy. Discover the craft and natural materials of a Savoir Nº2.
Visit the House of Savoir to discover more stories about design, sleep and so much more.