glad to see you enjoyed your trip. You have provided plenty of useful information for those coming to London.
yes best foreign exchange is the place I use all the time. best to check the rates after 10am as that his when they have normally checked on the competitors and adjusted accordingly. Make sure if you are changing usd for Gbp that you print out the page on the website showing the exchange rate. They will honour that and it is a better rate than you will get walking into the shop,
im happy you enjoyed Petrus and hawksmoor. I revisited hawksmoor the other day and it was up to its usual standard. The express menu which includes main course of steak is good value. http://thehawksmoor.com/food/menus
ERC: Great info, as a frequent UK travller, I can attest to much of what you wrote. One item to add: consider getting hard copy or app for London streets, known as A to Z (Zed as the Brits say it). You can find the hard or electronic copy at: http://www.az.co.uk/. I recommend this asthe London we know now in the 21st century is really a series of villages and towns linked together and there are so many small streets, needs to find your way around outside a tube station, walking and distance measures that are needed that makes this invaluable and indispensible. I find it vastly superior to google earth, and other GPS applications. A suggestion to those who are geographically impaired like me!
You had me "Laughing so hard", enjoying your great report and pictures! And NO, I don't have more "Juice than Tropicana" with hotel managers, I just try to be friendly and fair. My gift of "USA Atlas", is always appreciated. (Thank-you State Farm)! I find that people have little concept of the size of The USA, and when they can see where some of their guests come from, it really delights them!
Your trip and experiences will help all of us on our next trips to London! BTW, glad you got those pictures posted from the Shard and The London Eye! Not only did you save me a lot of money, I would never have the "Courage" to do either escapade!
Again, thanks so much!
Thank you for sharing this WONDERFUL write up! I wish I had more time to spend in London, but I guess we'll just have to save that for another trip far into the future! I fully intend to request a runway view room if at all possible. It's an aviation geek's dream come true!
A funny side note. We were trying to take a photo of a schedule on the window (didn't work - too much light for us amateur photographers), but got this instead. My wife (who gets my occasional Hawaii updates on your tips) said, "well save the photo maybe some of the airplane/airport fans (like my nephew) would get a kick out of it". So, not much of a photo, but you get the idea. And, of course like all of the photos above, if you click on it, it enlarges with more details.
The other point is that, like you, there were other aviation lovers there, we just missed the British Airways Airbus A319 (greek to me) plane that had to emergency land there with an engine fire and was a major topic of discussion. Reminder youngbuck; you're there on your honeymoon - too much plane gawking might get you grounded !
erc, this is a fantastic write up. Hopefully the community managers can pin it to the top of the london section for everyone to view. Glad you had a great trip over, looks like things worked out well for you. How was the commute on the train into city center? Also any pics of the room itself? Looks like one on the curve with a fantastic view
No interior shots, but my County Hall room was about 100 feet larger than the Heathrow Renaissance. We were on the curve four or five rooms down from the elevator and had a nice little table with two wing chairs, on the third floor, great for going to the 4th floor Concierge or down to the lobby and out the building. We always went out through the Noes Lobby and the London Film Museum exit.
You were dead on about Hatton Cross. I never dared tried to walk from there once I discovered how reliable and easy the buses were from Heathrow (besides crossing anywhere around the airport made you think of Checkpoint Charlie with many tight squeezes with cars and buses). Thanks for the heads up.
Sounds like a great room. My only experience there was a suite on the 2nd floor overlooking the river. It was an amazing room and while I would love to get it again next time I'm there, I realize that's not likely. Always good to hear that other rooms in the property have good views, size, etc. Nothing is worse than using points and getting the closet room with a view of some building wall and drain pipe
Glad to help on the Hatton Cross. I will have to try the T1 route next time I'm there. I dont mind the Hatton Cross route but sounds like that one might work easier
It really is an amazing property that is worth every point you spend to be there. These rooms facing the river all seem to have great views but the really cool part for me was being able to open the window and hear Big Ben chimes every hour. I guess for the locals they take it for granted but its something I definitely enjoyed. I guess as a tourist those types of iconic things really stick in your head
Yes, it was room 235! It had the large "Gargoyle" just outside the window, and it made it a little harder to get "Clean photo's"!
They have now moved The London Dungeon, to right below this room, so it can get a little noisy, during the day! Still a great room!
That is room 235! It's on the second floor above the Dungeon. Note: the "Body" on display. It had the school kids amused all day long! On our last day I walked down to see what they were all excited about, and got this picture.
Zuk, thanks for the post!
This brings a warm memory. The "guards" working the Dungeon are very personable, animated, carnival barker types attempting to increase sales by playing with/threatening many of the passerbys. Unaware of that, my wife, a theatre buff, and huge Spamalot fan, walked by and when she saw the dead body, muttered, "Bring out your dead". The guard put on a huge show with enormous attention grabbing antics about her being disrespectful and breaking the law and she would have to serve time unless she could justify otherwise, to which my wife broke out in song, nailing every word to the song from the play, Not Dead Yet. Applause among the bystanders broke out, the guard was satisfied, if not disappointed over lacking a jailee, and off we went to enjoy our Queens Walk down to the Tate Modern, the Globe and the Borough Market.
ERC - That's a HALL OF FAME post - well done! I'm actually headed back to London a couple of times soon.... One of the world's great walking cities. There's something new and interesting every time you visit.
p.s. my two cents on the airport (LHR) Renaissance - http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/thread/8971
p.p.s. and count me among the folks that miss the Renaissance Chancery Court - that was a splendid property - http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/thread/7810
It's too bad there's not a "like" button on this article. I bet the numbers would shoot to the moon. (Domino game popped into my mind for some reason so I added "to".)
Pictures are great!!! Article is one I'd want to go back to if I ever get to London since it's so organized and has so much info.
You and so many others could write books on travel that would be so interesting. Glad we don't have to go to the bookstore or e-book to get all of this. Just come to Insiders.
We had a fantastic trip! I have separately addressed the merits of the Maida Vale Marriott -- 5 nights for 120,000 points is a great value for Tube enthusiasts like us. The trade-off is that we don't get the photos above from our actual hotel room ... we had to leave the room . Which we did each day from roughly 8:00 am til 10:00 pm each day.... and still barely scratched the surface of what London offers.
Yes to all key tourist sites mentioned above. One additional (at least I didn't see it above) is the Churchill War Rooms - a must for history buffs. Grenwich is a short rail ride away and a fascinating tour - also provides a great "look-back"/perspective of the city of London. A pub crawl through Camden is recommended. Our 20 yo daughter enjoyed thrift shopping in Soho. Yes, the dim sum IS special in London's Chinatown. Looking forward to another visit. Mind the Gap, indeed!
This article might be useful for outlining travel options from the airports:
This is a great post!!!!
Just a couple of additional thoughts:
If you stray from the Marriott banner, beware. Many of the hotels operate under the European plan, where they advertise a room rate, but you discover upon check-in that it is a per-person/per-night rate.
Also, some hotels have floor bathrooms, not room baths. That includes toilets, also.
London is one of the very few cities in the world, where the cab drivers can be trusted (mostly). The penalties for them are too great to take chances.
GB really knows how to run a first class in their train system. I often traveled by train in England/Scotland, and found that the additional charges were money well-spent