By: Debbie Banks, Lago Mar Resort and Club
Hi! Last week I was in London for an International Tiffany Circle Event and had an amazing experience! The Tiffany Circle, which I am proud to be part of, is a group of women who annually donate $10,000 to their local American Red Cross chapter. The group follows in the footsteps of a long line of women leaders who have helped the Red Cross serve the American public in times of war and peace. The society is named for the beautiful Tiffany windows in the Board of Governors Hall at Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C. I have actually had the privilege of seeing these windows in person and they are breathtaking.
Some of the highlights of my trip to London:
The moment I checked into The Savoy I was in absolute awe. It is probably the most beautiful hotel I have ever seen in my life! Last year, The Savoy was named a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star in the first annual rating of London hotels and has maintained this accolade for 2014. My boyfriend and I posed for a picture at the hotel’s famous American Bar, which is known for its 1920s cocktails.
It is one of the most iconic cocktail bars in the world! Legendary The Savoy Cocktail Book was created there over 80 years ago and is still regarded as bartender’s bible. Friday evening there was a cocktail reception at the official residence of The Canadian High Commissioner. Lady Angela Lamport and Pinky Lilani, Red Cross ambassadors, were very inspirational and it was a great way to begin the weekend! Saturday, after we enjoyed breakfast, we all had to opportunity to go out on various excursions. My boyfriend, Chris, and I traveled to Stonehenge and Bath. What an amazing day!
That evening, we dressed in black tie and, at 4:30 pm, all met downstairs and boarded buses to escort us to the Hampton Court Palace, about an hour’s trip from London. When we arrived, we were greeted by King Henry VIII, who took groups of us on a fascinating tour of the Tudor Kitchens, as well as though out some of the other older areas of the Palace. Following the tour, we all reconvened in the Cartoon Gallery for canapés and refreshments. We then were able to tour the King’s Guard Chamber, which was very interesting, and then we had the procession to the Great Hall, where dinner was served.
After King Henry VIII’s opening remarks, we were addressed by Dr. Sindy Newman, a member of the Tiffany Circle National Council; David Bernstein, Chairman of the Board for the British Red Cross; and special guest Linda Porter, author and historian. Angela Rippon, from BBC TV, acted as our Master of Ceremonies for the evening. It was a truly a magical experience.
At almost the stroke of midnight, we returned to The Savoy to sleep and woke the next morning for a scrumptious tea at the home of Madeleine Mossanen. Jim Carter, who plays Mr. Carson on the hit show Downton Abbey, was even in attendance. Bonnie McElveen-Hunter was a co-host of the event and one of a few who addressed us. McElveen-Hunter is the Chairman of the Board of the American Red Cross and one of the women I admire most in the world.