Just back a few weeks from a wonderful 12 day, 4 country tour with my son! The next several editions of the Critics Choice Vacations Travel Blog will be dedicated to highlights from our trip! Join us on our adventure.........
This was my son's 1st time in central London. He was there about 12 years ago as a young boy but we only visited the outskirts of London on that trip! I have been to London many times but it's been about 10 years since I had time to do any touring. Most of my time in London has been passing through one of its airports onto another destination. I do find London one of those cities you fall in love with and can visit countless times and there is always something new to see and do. You could spend 2 weeks in London exploring all of the interesting areas and historical sites and barely scratch the surface.
This was a TRUE vacation trip, but it is hard for me to go anywhere and not take the chance to see some popular hotels I sell or add to my knowledge of hotels I already know in the area. We were fortunate to do all of that on this trip.
Our first stop was the lovely, classic, chic London Corinthia Hotel. A beautiful property in a great location (within 10 minutes’ walk to Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and The Royal Mews) with an iconic lobby feature; the one red stone in the amazing chandelier that hangs to welcome every guest. Service is outstanding without being stuffy. The lobby is welcoming with its ever changing florals (it has its own floral shop in the hotel) and a wonderful "signature scent" that lingers in my mind, even now. This "secret" scent is common to the entire chain and the smell permeates throughout the hotel and the rooms without being overpowering at all. A fresh reminder and a fresh welcome home. Rooms are nicely appointed with a flash of color, spacious and comfortable. Thank you Ms. Beirong Liu, Ms. Vanessa Holve and to the GM, Mr. Thomas Fischer for more than a lovely stay!
Our 2nd stay was at the iconic Goring Hotel. I am so richly blessed as a Virtuoso travel agent to be invited and welcomed at many amazing 5* hotels across the globe. I must say, in my experience, service at this hotel is 2nd to none! We were treated, indeed like royalty without anything being stuffy or pretentious. As one of their recent posts indicated, their service is, "impeccable manners and a subtle streak of wit and wonder". I cannot agree more! We adored many on staff, including their 51+ years door man, Mr. Peter...(what a gem). How many of us can say we have been in the same job for 51+ years and are still there doing the same job with passion? Well Mr. Peter does so and with a gentleman's flair! I could have spent days in the garden with him, just picking his brain on all that he has seen come and go over the years (photo below, which I will forever treasure). We loved the staff most of all and would go back in a heartbeat. This is a very typical English style hotel and has the stamp (only one in London) of approval from the Queen, herself. One of their many signature accents is a lamb or several in each room, a new fresh daily flower in Mr. Goring's suit (outside in the garden), and their service, service, service. I have never felt like such an honored and special guest, so welcomed and yet like family all at the same time. A big THANK you to Peter (photo below), Tibor, Taylor, Ned and the wonderful guest relations Manager, Samantha for making our stay so magical! Thank you Rebecca Recommends (Rebecca and Cindy) for your help and assistance. What a team! Great memories!
Additional highlights while in London were tours to The Royal Mews where one can view many of the carriages used by the Royal family over the years. If you are lucky, you will get to also visit with some of the horses on the team. I found the tour very fascinating and educational! A must do! Here are a few shots from our tour. Thank you Matthew and Dawn for the coordination of our tickets.
Time permitting, one should take in The London Eye for some great views across the River Thames and views you would otherwise miss of the London skyline! Tickets can be bought in advance to skip the lines. For those with a fear of heights, no worries. I too am not a big fan of heights and this was a piece of cake. There is no swaying or sharp hard movements and the pace is so slow you barely notice you are moving. Fun for families, kids of all ages and accessible too for those with extra special needs!
Excuse the pollution shot but gives you some idea of the perspective.
Another treat we experienced which I have not taken the time to do on previous trips was a tour of St. Paul's Cathedral. You will need about 2 hours for a complete tour, but it is worth it. Tickets can also be purchased in advance. St Paul's Cathedral, London, is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. It sits on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London. Parts of the amazing structure date back to 604. How is that for history? Thank you Matthew for the coordination of our tickets.
Lastly, a few highlights of another site inspection along the way. We were treated to a lovely lunch and quick tour at Brown's Hotel London, located in Mayfair (one hip area of London). This is a happening hot spot! I am a big fan of the Rocco Forte Collection for their unique design, smaller, quality character hotels loaded with charm and ambience. The Brown's Hotel London is no exception!
Brown’s Hotel is not only London’s first hotel, but also one of the most illustrious in the city. Since opening on Albemarle Street in 1837, the five-star hotel has hosted esteemed guests, from royals and presidents to world-famous authors. Add your name to the guest book and revel in the history of this classic hotel, which offers first-class facilities, award-winning dining and outstanding service in the heart of the distinguished Mayfair neighborhood. Thank you Mark and Nick for a wonderful lunch and site inspection.
If you would like to see additional photos of London including Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, more from The London Eye and our general tours about the wonderful city, please click here: London Album.
Stayed tuned for the next edition which will feature our time in Mallorca, Spain.