It’s access-all-areas with ITV’s ‘The Savoy’

Wednesday: The Savoy - (ITV, 9pm)

By Claire Cartmill
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 5:00 pm

“As long as it’s legal we’re going to be doing it for you!” so says Sean, Guest Experience Manager at the iconic Savoy Hotel, the subject of this delightful fly-on-the-wall documentary series, which raked in more than five million viewers for the opening season.

The Savoy is a Grande Dame hotel with a star-studded history that spans more than 132 years.

Anyone who is anyone has stayed there, from Hollywood royalty such as Judy Garland and Katharine Hepburn, to the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.

Butler Michael

Now, after the most turbulent time in its history, when the pandemic forced it to close its doors, the hotel is open once again, with a new maitre’d, Franck Arnold, in charge.

The second series of the access-all-areas programme follows hotel life in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, which hit the hospitality industry particularly hard as the Great British public was forced to stay at home.

Having lost tens of millions of pounds in revenue, The Savoy is battling to stay at the top in the fiercely competitive, London luxury hotel market, and everyone’s got a role to play, from the front-of-desk employees to the cleaning and waiting staff.

Unsurprisingly, Franck Arnold has big plans to revive The Savoy’s fortunes: including a flagship £16,000-per-night Royal Suite newly made over by Gucci, a new restaurant in partnership with Gordon Ramsay and the refurbishment of the hotel’s world-famous American Bar, London’s original cocktail bar.

Guest experience manager Sean

With exclusive behind-the-scenes access, viewers are whisked both upstairs and downstairs, getting a glimpse of wealthy guests and famous faces walking through those gilded revolving doors, and the mid-sized army of staff that are busily catering to their every whim.

This second series also sees the return of Head Butler Sean, who has been promoted to Guest Experience Manager, and now oversees the doormen, the concierge and the porters, as well as the butlers. No pressure then…

After a challenging start to life at The Savoy, Michael is now one of Sean’s most trusted butlers and is up for a prestigious hospitality award, so it remains to be seen whether all Sean’s training will finally pay off.

Meanwhile, in the (fully booked, natch) Savoy Grill restaurant, director Thierry is overjoyed to be back serving his glamorous customers with his renowned flair, welcoming the likes of dancing queen Shirley Ballas and national treasure Christopher Biggins for a delicious dinner.

As well as the return of some familiar faces, the hotel has also seen an influx of new staff, all doing their best to get to grips with The Savoy’s five-star standards.

While battling staff shortages, the looming pressures of future Covid restrictions and the decline of international travel, we catch up with new housekeeper Kirsten, chefs Andrew and Dennis – who are working round the clock for the launch of Gordon Ramsay’s new River Restaurant – and event sales director Jamie, who has a backlog of weddings to deliver.

It’s all in a day’s work at this glorious, iconic hotel.