Savoy offers room with a view that inspired Monet

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The Independent Online

It is a well-known detail of art history that Claude Monet produced some of his most famous paintings while staying in London at the Savoy.

But while the hotel has always been ready to take fans to see the views of Westminster and Waterloo bridges just as the famous Impressionist saw them, they have never really marketed the Monet connection ­ until now.

In a belated response to this niche cultural demand, it is launching the Monet Suite Experience, whereby the artistically inclined can bag one of the suites the artist stayed in with a range of art materials and the services of an art tutor for advice on reproducing his famous works.

For further inspiration, Neil Meacher, the art teacher, will conduct guests on a tour of the Impressionist paintings on show in the nearby National Gallery.

The slap-up Monet Suite Experience for two, including dinner with fine wines, cocktails in the famous American bar and buffet breakfast, will come in at £2,600 (with VAT) ­ which, while not cheap, is a fraction of the price of a Monet painting.

A one-day Monet programme for two people for a night in the fifth-floor suite, with views along the Thames, costs from £720.

Pam Carter, a Savoy spokeswoman, said: "We have taken it for granted that Monet stayed at the Savoy. Where else would he stay? But we have always had lots of inquiries over the years, especially if there's an exhibition on, from people wanting to come and take photographs and we just let them."

About six months ago, the hotel had decided to take the connection more seriously and placed a copy of one of his acclaimed views of Westminster Bridge in one of the suites he stayed in. It invited a British artist, Peter Brown, whose style was influenced by Impressionism, to become the hotel's first artist-in-residence. He has already produced the first works which will be reproduced in limited edition prints as the Savoy Art Collection.

Both the suite ­ rooms 512 and 513 ­ and the art collection will be formally launched next week.

Monet made several visits to the hotel between 1899 and 1901, always staying on the fifth or sixth floors where he produced around 70 paintings immortalising the Thames.

"You need to be at that height to get above the tree-line. It's the best view. You can see seven bridges," Ms Carter said.

Brown, 38, from Bath, has painted from the suite and from another on the same floor across several days. His residency lasts for a year and he is free to come and go.

"When I first got there it was very, very daunting. It's such an opportunity to paint from the location that Monet did. It's an amazing place to paint from.

"But I was a little bit worried about doing a dodgy Monet rip-off. I guess I'm like an English Impressionist but my painting is not like Monet's. I'm more like [Walter] Sickert."

The view was rather different from when Monet stayed there, he added. " The atmosphere that Monet had ­ the smog ­ isn't there. And I think the skyline has got better with the Eye and stuff like that. I guess Monet would have loved that guff as well."

The Frenchman was not the first artist connected with the Savoy. James McNeill Whistler was a friend of Richard D'Oyly Carte, who opened the hotel in 1889 and painted the scaffolding even as building was taking place. Monet followed him as a guest, as did Oscar Kokoschka and Andy Warhol. Ms Carter expects there will be a core of real fans wanting to stay where Monet once painted. "I don't imagine it's going to sell daily but I think there will be a number who are very interested," she said.

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