The specific promotions described in this article have now passed, but it remains online so that the resources named will be of future use to travelers.
London is hot again. The restaurant scene has picked up, the shopping is as fashionable and stylish as those mod days in the 60s, American celebrities are everywhere, and the sites are so many it's hard to do London right with just a few days travel time. Also, it's not terribly expensive. Since the United Kingdom does not use the Euro, Americans do pretty well on the exchange rate. Hotels are now offering spring adding additional savings so travel to London has come down in price.
The owner of four and five star properties in London and other major cities, Red Carnation Hotels (tel. 866/732-9304; www.redcarnationhotels.com) offers luxurious accommodations to go with its special "Spring Package" that includes air and three nights in the hotel of your choosing. This package includes round-trip flights from U.S. departure points, three nights in a luxury double room with or without twin beds, a full English breakfast daily, early check in and late check out, and a welcome glass of Champagne per traveling duo. Starting at $854 per person flying out of New York, you can add additional nights to your tour for approximately $96. Accommodations are at number of London or Dorset properties including the five star 41, a boutique hotel with just under 20 rooms that feels more like private club than hotel. Forty-one overlooks the mews of Buckingham Palace. Other hotel choices include the equally luxurious Milestone Hotel near Kensington Gardens, the elegant Chesterfield, the Rubens at the Palace and Montague on the Gardens. Compared to budget hotels offered at similar prices for air/land trips to London, these hotel properties mix fine hospitality and with high interior design. From Chicago, the three night trip with accommodations at the Montague on the Gardens costs approximately $989 with airfare. Out of Dallas the trip costs $978. This special deal is good from April 1, 2006 to May 28, 2006. A Saturday night stay is required.
For those more budget conscious, Go Today (tel. 800/227-3235; www.go-today.com) has a special to London that includes four nights' accommodations and round-trip airfare. Starting at $509, travel is good for this deal from now through May 25, 2006 with a purchase deadline of April 20, 2006. These deals range in price from the $509 mentioned above to $1,789 for accommodations at the Ritz London Hotel. The Ritz London is a world-renowned hotel where dignitaries have stayed. A jacket and tie is required "or greatly appreciated" when drinking a famous Dry Martini or a Pimms at the Ritz's Rivoli Bar. At the budget end of the accommodations spectrum, the Eden Plaza Hotel, located near Queen's Gate, is a small but comfortable hotel with "compact" sized rooms. Air and security fees are not included in the price of the trip. You do get daily breakfast, though.
For you early planners looking ahead to the holiday season, Go Today offers a six night "New Year's Special" (www.go-today.com/site_gtweb/vacation_packages.asp?id=11035) starting at $599 for early bookers who lock in their travel plans by April 20, 2006. That's round-trip airfare out of New York and six nights in a hotel for $599 plus airline and airport taxes. Add $30 more if departing from Boston, $50 from Philadelphia and $140 from Dallas, Houston or Atlanta.
Doing London on your own can also be cost effective. Air sales from British Airways (tel. 800/247-9297; www.britishairways.com) usually hover around the $199 each way mark from New York. While a recent sale just ended, look for another to start up soon to encourage spring flings to London before rates go up this summer. An added benefit, when you book your round-trip ticket with British Airways you'll receive a free London Pass (www.londonpass.com) entitling you to free admittance to some of London's most popular and famous sites including the British Museum, the Queens Gallery and the Tower of London. The London Pass also allows you to get in free to such lesser known but extremely entertaining museums and sites such as the Fashion and Textile Museum, the London Zoo, the Sherlock Holmes Museum and Cutty Sark.
Your London Pass can also gain you admittance to the Wimbledon Lawn and Tennis Club for a tour. The Wimbledon Championships (tel. +44 20 8971-2473; www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/index.html) take place from June 26 to July 9, 2006. On April 12, 2006, the brand new Wimbledon Lawn and Tennis Museum will open to the public. Highlights include a virtual walk through one of the men's "dressing rooms" with American tennis-great John McEnroe.
London savings can continue with your choice of a hotel. Easy Hotel (www.easyhotel.com), started by the same entrepreneur who founded the European discount airline Easy Jet. The hotel has rooms starting at just 30 pounds per night or approximately 52 dollars. The minimum stay is one night; the maximum stay is ten nights. Easy Hotel is attempting to revolutionize the hotel world by offering very small rooms with virtually no amenities or frills at a very low price. Each room is equipped with its own bathroom. The rooms are 6 to 7 meters long, and although the beds fit two, they dominate the space. Maid service and watching the flat screen attached to the wall all cost extra. Having your sheets changed will cost 10 pounds, or 17 dollars. The Easy Hotel in London, however, is centrally located on Lexham Gardens in Kensington. Bookings need to be made online.
Even if you're seeking the comforts of home while you travel, Coach House London Vacation Rentals (tel. +44 20 8772-1939; www.chslondon.com/vr) offers the homes of London residents temporarily out of the city. With over 70 properties to choose from ranging from small apartments that sleep just two to large mansions that accommodate 12, Coach House becomes a strong alternative to hotel living. In London, the minimum number of nights stay is five. They also offer a 24-hour emergency phone number and a normal hours business line for general questions and needs. The Coach House website displays prices, several pictures per apartment or home, and a very long description covering the area and the apartment in detail. Prices for a London studio start at $150 per night. A chic mews house sleeping up to nine people will run you approximately $795 per night, or less than a $100 per person.
Another option comes from Uptown Reservations (tel. 800/872-2632; www.uptownres.co.uk), a company offering B&B stays from $166 per night double, including en suite bath or shower, tax, service and a full continental breakfast. This is an affordable option when compared with the $295-per-night average on a standard London hotel room. Rooms are in comfortable homes owned by empty-nesters -- businessmen, diplomats, interior decorators and even lords and ladies -- who enjoy meeting and entertaining visitors. All homes are close to public transportion and are in some of London's most desirable neighborhoods. Guests can enjoy all the comforts of a top hotel at affordable prices, plus the personal touch of staying as a guest in someone's home. Single rooms are available from $131, as are quadruple family rooms -- sometimes two adjoining rooms with a bath -- that start from $271.