Claire Spreadbury checks into The Savoy to see if fancy weekends away are doable in a cost-of-living crisis.

I’m sat on a stool at the American Bar in The Savoy Hotel, in awe of their head bartender, Chelsie Bailey. Rewriting the stereotype for who you might imagine has the most famous bar job in the world, Chelsie brings a fresh explosion of youth and coolness to the delectable drinking space.

Imparting a plethora of cocktail tips (drink a non-alcoholic beer on the side of your cocktails if you want to reduce your alcohol intake; never buy sugar syrup – it’s so easy to make, with a 1:1 ratio of sugar and boiling water, and stir) her enthusiasm is infectious. After discussing my favourite flavour profiles, she serves me an Old Cuban and I have to say, it’s the most delicious cocktail I’ve ever tasted.

Chelsie continues the history making at The Savoy, only the second female to hold the iconic role here since Ada ‘Coley’ Coleman in the early-1900s, her knowledge fizzing about women in the industry.

The Savoy, of course, is renowned the world over. Its 267 rooms and suites offer up elegant Edwardian or art deco style, as well as a bed for the night. But if you want to make your experience a little more affordable, you can just indulge in the phenomenal food and drink experiences here.

The tasting menu at 1890 by Gordon Ramsay is up there with some of the best. Open only for dinner, t’s the tiniest restaurant I’ve ever eaten in, seating just 26 guests, and overlooks the glorious art deco entrance – ask for the table by the window and you can while away the evening people watching and spotting fancy cars.

Everything about the experience feels special, from my handbag being given its very own stool, to the first taste of Libertine – an English sparkling rosè that is only available to Gordon Ramsay, and the way you’re told what you’re eating as they bring it to the table – there are no menus to peruse and ruin the surprise.

Geometric designs stand out on lit up wall tiles and the copper ceiling is mesmerising, as spirographic patterns twist and turn in the dark, atmospheric lighting.

Great British Life: 1890 by Gordon Ramsay restaurant at The Savoy, London1890 by Gordon Ramsay restaurant at The Savoy, London (Image: Sim Canetty-Clarke/The Savoy/PA)

Named 1890 – the year the legendary French chef Georges Auguste Escoffier joined The Savoy and began creating his culinary legacy, the nine courses delight the senses in every way.

As we tuck into a smoked Cheddar gougère, which disappears the second it enters my mouth, the following contemporary fine dining courses do not disappoint. The Jerusalem artichoke royale with crisp artichoke skin and black truffle arrives in the most beautiful golden egg, and the winter flavours in the bean cassoulet consommé are to die for.

The Royal Windsor Park fallow deer is perfectly pink and paired divinely with a Torres Mas Plana Penedes juicy red wine, from Spain. The elevation of every dish is exquisite, and by the time the pre-dessert and dessert are gobbled up, you might just forget everything you’ve eaten before. The titles of Yorkshire rhubarb melba and hazelnut soufflè don’t come close to describing the heavenly flavours that make silence fall to our table, as we spoon up every last scraping.

Great British Life: Beaufort Bar at The Savoy, LondonBeaufort Bar at The Savoy, London (Image: Claire Spreadbury/PA)

Tasting menus are, of course, expensive. This one, at £165 per person, comes in around a price point you’d expect. You can find cheaper, you can also find more expensive. But I would argue that a tasting menu is actually more appealing than a night away. A true experience and the perfect gift to give in a time when we’ve never been more aware about how little we need ‘stuff’ and instead hanker after creating memories.

The paired wine flight can put people off too, but again, don’t be afraid to skip it and instead opt for a glass of fizz to start, and a glass of wine paired to your main course. Having enjoyed several wine flights over the years, I’m often quite sad about how little I remember about the actual food afterwards. (If you do decide to splash out, however, make your way through a litre of water on the side, and memories won’t completely disappear the next morning.)

Other ways to help save money include asking for a doggy bag. OK, so this might not feel appropriate when indulging in a tasting menu, but for other delicious dinners, it’s now much more commonplace. If that pricey dish feeds you the following day as well, it wasn’t actually as expensive as you thought.

Great British Life: Beaufort Bar at The Savoy, LondonBeaufort Bar at The Savoy, London (Image: Lewis Wilkinson/The Savoy//PA)

Same goes for breakfast. When I was eating my eggs and avo at The Savoy’s Thames Foyer restaurant and the waitress asked if I’d finished with my pastries, she read the expression on my face and offered to box them up for me to take home instead – and even popped an extra in there for good measure.

And finally, if you want the experience of luxury without the price tag, simply head out for a drink and take your time over it. No one will be tapping you on the shoulder if you haven’t ordered several rounds within the hour.

The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar is classy and clubby – it feels like a whole destination on its own. Golden leaves hug lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling over black velvet tub chairs and dark floral sofas. Order yourself a Hanky Panky cocktail, made from gin, sweet vermouth, and Fernet-Branca, created by Ada Coleman herself, and savour every sip.

How to plan your trip

To book a table at the American Bar, Beaufort Bar, 1890 by Gordon Ramsay, or a room in the hotel, visit The Savoy ( or call 020 7836 4343.