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London Calling

My first trip to London was in 1961 when I was five years old. Since, I have journeyed back 100+ times and at one point, I lived there for 2 years. My Mum immigrated to the States from London by way of Italy and her (and my) large extended family calls the Big Smoke home. To me, it's like a second home. Over the years, I have slept at a variety of places from relatives' homes, bandbox, 2-star rated hotels to the best luxury hotels in the world. They all provide the same thing, more or less, a bed to sleep on and varying levels of service, quality and cleanliness. These days, I tend to pay up for a little more. Sometimes, however, it's not that much more and that's what we're about to discuss today.

One of the finest hotels, I have ever stayed at is The Lanesborough in London. It sits prominently overlooking Hyde Park and conveniently between Knighsbridge, Belgravia and Buckingham Palace. There is round-the-clock dedicated butler service (you don't know you need it until you oversleep and your business associates are waiting for you at breakfast). The beds are insanely comfortable, the service is of another world and the old-world charm is remarkable. It is truly a Grand Residence.

The London Marriott Grosvenor Square Hotel is a lovely spot just south of Oxford Street. CD and I have stayed here 3 or 4 times. You cannot beat its convenient but quiet location. While service can be top-notch, the attentiveness doesn't rival The Lanesborough - not a surprise really. It feels like a small boutique hotel but surprisingly has 237 rooms. My tale of the tape is whether I would return and I can say wholeheartedly that I would gladly stay at this Marriott again.

Another popular option these days is AirBnB and London has more than its share of properties to choose from. This particular flat is located nearby the Lanesborough and has reassuring reviews accompanied by telltale photography. I wouldn't hesitate to stay here as an option.

Lets have a look at these three vastly different hospitality options. Randomly, I selected 4 days in March (15-19) to compare pricing.

  • Belgravia Flat - $818 +$195 returnable security fee.

  • London Marriott Grosvenor Square - $1267.12

  • The Lanesborough - $1345.05

The difference between the AirBnB and one of the finest hotels in the world is circa $132 a night. While I grant you that sometimes the difference may be a budget breaker but also sometimes you should also "live a little." You deserve the best and it's not always prohibitively expensive. Do the work before you book. You may surprise yourself that the best is not out of reach and if it's a once in a lifetime trip, maybe you will want to "reach".

Here are the links to the various places mentioned here:


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