A November 2001 trip
to London by vampirefan
Quote: Last fall I had the wonderful opportunity to take my husband on an exciting trip to London. What a way to spend Thansgiving! It was the perfect first time trip overseas for him, and a chance with an old friend for me!
If you want to see one of the biggest shows, like the Lion King, you must buy tickets well in advance. Like maybe a year in advance. Check out dinner and theater packages to save some money.
Make sure you invest in a travel guide like Frommer’s, which will give you all the information you need.
I had asked our rep if we could go ahead and check in early if they had room when we arrived. After an all-night flight, we knew we would be exhausted and said we would be in around 9am. When we arrived and checked in, they told us they were just about ready and recommended a teashop just around the corner. We went and had breakfast, and when we arrived back at our hotel, it was ready. They allowed us to take check our luggage in, and it was in our room waiting for us.
We had a huge bed, which was very sleek and modern looking. We had a big, comfy duvet on our bed. We had a built-in TV with cable. We had a fully stocked mini fridge. We had a CD player, and you could get CD’s from the front desk. Our room had an awesome view overlooking Hyde Park. We had an in-room safe and closet with padded hangers and an iron. The bathroom was heavenly, with candles in the bathroom and his and her sinks. The amenities basket included their Shambhala line of products, which smell wonderful. In fact, we still have some. We had in-room bathrobes. John used his. I am sure these were very expensive, but I found them stiff and scratchy and preferred my fluffy robe that was $20 from Wal-Mart. Our second room was upgraded to a suite that included an oversize leather couch and table in a separate sitting area. The view, though, was not fantastic. I preferred our other room with the better view. We had turndown service and came in each day to find fresh fruit and flowers in our room. Every morning they brought us a pot of tea, fresh scones, and the local paper. Yummy!
More to follow in the Experience entry
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 21, 2004
19 OLD PARK LANE
Hotel | "Atlantic Paddington"
When we arrived, we were on the fifth floor and had to climb it. Since it was just one night, we took only our luggage we needed and checked in. The room was horrible. It smelled musty and there was not room enough to cuss a cat. We had a tiny bed, a tiny desk, and a TV that did not work. In Europe, you often have to request and pay for a private bathroom, which we did. When I walked into the bathroom I scared my husband with a blood-curling scream. The shower was so nasty, I was afraid to go in! On our way out, I stopped at the front desk, spoke to the manager, and asked for our bathroom to be scrubbed when we returned. When we returned, it hadn’t been touched, and we had to get to the Lion King, so I just had to wash off.
That night, we tried to arrange for pick-up service to get us to the airport the next day and were told it was too late (we found out at the airport that it was a lie). We had a room full of loudmouth girls screaming and giggling all night long near us, and the front desk did squat about it. The next morning, we had the desk to call for a cab. An hour later, I was finally fed up, and went inside and started screaming to the top of my lungs. Finally, a private car came (which was not what we called for). We found out at the airport that this hostel uses this service since the owner’s relatives own the car service. We got to our plane with 10 minutes to spare. Only college students, who don’t mind loud students all night long, might enjoy this. They are a 15-minute hike from the Tube, not just around the corner like they say. You can visit them at
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on December 23, 2004
Atlantic Paddington Hotel
1 QUEENS GARDENS
44 20 72624471
Harrods got its start in 1849, when Charles Henry Harrods took over a small grocery stand. The business took off and continued to build and expand throughout the years. The ownership has changed many times over the years. Most recently, businessman Mohamed Al Fayed took over the reigns in 1985 and invested $400 million in revamping the place. The store was the first to have escalators and the first to offer telephone shopping. Today, Harrods is five stories and carries everything, such as clothes, food, electronics, toys, and ancient Egyptian artifacts! This is where author AA Mille first brought an original Winnie the Pooh bear for his son Christopher. The store offers such luxuries as a personal shopper, gift wrapping, and your own Harrods’s credit card. There are 26 restaurants.
We went here with my friend Nibla, a local. There is a Tube entrance right at Harrods. As soon as we got out of the entrance, it was pure chaos. We had come during Christmas shopping season! We were caught in the middle of a herd of people. I felt like I was in a whirlpool, being sucked in and turned every which way. We came in at the first floor and finally made it over to the food court. From here, we could see chefs preparing fresh meat. I love spiced oils, so I purchased several bottles and some spices and paid for my purchases. We intended to go on though the whole store. That idea was quickly thwarted. We emerged back into a shoving and madding crowd. None of us cared for that and decided to hit Krispy Kreme and go.
Now I can get Krispy Kreme all over the place and have no idea why I had to get some from Harrods. It seemed like a good idea at the time. We made our way to the doughnut shop and encounter a 45-minute wait. There would be no way I would wait 45 minutes here for a doughnut, but I stood in line. As I came near the display case, an employee was passing out samples, which happened to be a whole glazed doughnut, and asked if I had ever tried them. I told him I lived 45 minutes from Winston Salem, where they got their start, and considered Krispy Kreme a food group on its own. He gasped and made a dash for the manager. The manager came over, introduced himself, and gave me a doughnut. Sure enough, it was heavenly, just like home! They stared intently, waiting for my verdict. I think my drooling smile said it all. That dozen doughnuts cost me $15 and I was in line 45 minutes, but Krispy Kreme lovers know it is worth it!
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 26, 2005
87-135 Brompton Road
London, England SW1X 7XL
+44 (20) 7730 1234
I was a military brat and actually born just outside of London. Then my father was stationed near London in the 70s, so London was already a magical place for me.
Last year, I took advantage of some great travel agent rates and decided to surprise my husband with a trip to London. It was my husband’s first time out of the country, so I wanted to take him somewhere I knew he would love…and where English was the common language. So London fit the bill. London is a great representative of the old, yet remains one of the world’s major cities. It is also perfect trip for a first visit to Europe.
The bad part about London is that you will want to see everything, but unless you’re on a very long vacation, you will find yourself with the very daunting task of trying to cram everything into one trip. So my best advice is not to do that. Thankfully, it is very easy to find very heavily discounted airfare to London. Take advantage of that and don’t cram everything into one trip. You won’t do it. Invest in a good travel guide (I am partial to Frommer’s myself) and try to get a copy of Time Out Visitor’s Guide. Check with your local bookseller to see if they carry it. Most Barnes & Nobles carry it or can order it for you. Make sure you ask for the magazine, since they also have a travel guide. This will give you a comprehensive guide to major events, concerts, a current listing of West End shows, and current times and rates for most major attractions. Then just prioritize what you want to see.
One of the best methods of getting around London is the tube. It is fast and inexpensive and very easy to pick up. Most travel magazines and guides will list the tube stops of most attractions, restaurants, and hotels. If you’re in town for a few days, purchase a pass. You can get them for one day or several, and they’re a great investment. They are inexpensive, and you can ride the tube and busses all day long.
Restaurants featuring meals of every sort and budget can be found here. One of your best deals is to stop in at a local pub for some pub grub. Hoist a few pints if you are inclined. But if you don’t drink, you will still find the locals friendly and the food magnificent. One great thing for you non-smokers is that it is fairly easy to get seated if you don’t smoke. Always make sure you ask about non-smoking if it is your preference. It will most likely be assumed that you are waiting for smoking. When we arrived at Planet Hollywood, we were told that the wait was an hour and a half. When I asked if that was non-smoking, I was told "no", and the wait for that would be about 10 minutes!
For Broadway fans, London’s West End is magic. This is where Broadway was born and where theater fans come to be amazed. Shows are housed in some of the oldest and most beautiful theatres around. The West End is also the place to see anything Andrew Lloyd Webber before it comes to the U.S., and the only place to see shows such as Tell Me on a Sunday, which has never made it across the ocean. Time Out visitor’s guides will list all the current shows. Tickets can be purchased in advance and are highly recommended for shows such as The Lion King. Much like Times Square in NYC, a half-price, day-of ticket counter can be found in Leicester Square near Shakespeare’s Statue.
One last bit of information for you to ponder: London is a beautiful place to visit anytime of the year. If you have the chance, though, try visiting in the off months when the crowds are less and travel bargains can be found. We visited over the Thanksgiving holiday. Remember—they don’t exactly celebrate that in England! The weather was wonderful. During the day, we were fine with just a sweater or sweatshirt. The only cold and foggy day we had just happened to be on the day we took the ghost tour, which just added to the ambience.
They offer 24-hour room service. They have a gym and spa. Downstairs, you will find the world-renowned Nobu Japanese restaurant owned by actor Robert De Niro. Since I was dressed in my formal finery for the theater, we decided to take a taxi. The front desk made sure we had a cab waiting for us when we were ready to leave. On our first night there, we were hungry after waking up from our very long nap. We went down to the lobby and asked if the Hard Rock was near, since I noticed it was on Park Lane also. The young woman at the front told us where it was, and she would ring ahead and let them know we were arriving! Sure enough, when we walked into the lobby, the host ask if we were the Burrises from the Metropolitan! While there, we ran into actor Sir Ben Kingsley (Gandhi) and the band Coldplay. I have no idea who they were, but they were very nice. And the front desk made sure to introduce us!
It is located across from Hyde Park, and the Wellington Arch is around the corner. The tube is located on the corner, about a 3-minute walk away. Since I normally go for moderate to budget hotels, this was an experience. I have no complaints here and would recommend them to all. Visit www.metropolitan.como.bz for reservations or more information.
Charlotte, North Carolina