London Lodgings

Springtime in St. James' Park
In an unusual twist of fate, we left North Carolina on a cold and rainy day to take a red-eye to a sunny and mild London. In March, any reasonable person would expect those weather forecasts to be mismatched with their locations. This year, for spring break it turns out that we found the sun in London.

I am not complaining about this. I am thrilled that the half a suitcase of rain gear that I packed for London turned out to be entirely unneeded. Once it became certain that the terrible weather here would not prevent our trip, I didn’t care what the weather in London would be. The fact that we saw the sun every day we were there was merely a bonus.

So as I do generally with the first post I do about a vacation destination, this post is a little bit about logistics, but mostly focusing on the fabulous two hotels where we stayed for our seven nights in London.

We booked our trip to London in two different parts. We originally planned on being in London for five nights, but after we scored tickets to the Chelsea v. Tottenham football game on Saturday, we extended our trip two extra nights. We decided to use some of David’s Starwood points to stay at the Le Meridien at Piccadilly. Here is one view of our room:


I was completely obsessed with the fact that our hotel room was on two different mini-levels.

There are two other huge bonuses to this hotel. The first is that this hotel has an amazing swimming pool in the basement. It was a rare treat to be able to swim laps underground in central London. The second is that the location of this hotel is probably the best in London – right on the corner of Piccadilly and Regent Street. Our room overlooked Regent Street. Yes, this may be the “Times Square” of London, but Time Square at night looks nothing like this:


No hotel in Time Square looks as classic and lovely as this:


Finally, as with the Le Meridien in Paris, the breakfast buffet at the Le Meridien Piccadilly is pretty delicious and comes served up in a beautiful glass conservatory overlooking Piccadilly.


For the longer leg of our trip, we had booked a King Room at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington.  Our room was smaller and more modern, but had a wall of windows overlooking Kensington Palace.  Not a bad view, said the person who swears she saw the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s cocker spaniel Lupo being taken for a walk one day.


The best part about our room was the extraordinarily large bathroom with a separate shower and tub. The tub was long and deep, and considering how sore my feet were ever single day after walking, it was well-used.


The breakfast at the Royal Garden was not as great as the breakfast at Le Meridien, but the service of the staff at this hotel was spectacular. I loved its location at the corner of the park and right by the palace. It makes sense why the trendy nightclub, Bodo Schloss, for Kensington and Chelsea toffs has a special “private” door for Prince Harry and his friends to enter, because it is literally adjacent to the Kensington royals’ private driveway.


So, yes, our London lodgings were more than adequate. In spite of their busy locations, they were quiet and I slept well, which is always a huge success for me (because I am a terribly light sleeper).

Most importantly, both rooms were spacious enough for this:


That would be that we needed enough space for the ridiculous amount of shopping that I knew we would do when we were in London.  Unfortunately, my being prepared for rain meant that I had taken too much space in the luggage with my rain gear, so we had to buy another suitcase in London to get all of our consumer goods home.  I have some guilt issues related to my shopping in London,  but that is a subject for another post.

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