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London Hotel for New Year's 2007

Old Apr 12th, 2006, 06:47 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
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London Hotel for New Year's 2007

My spouse and I (both in our 50's) will be flying to London on December 30, 2006, in order to catch the QE2 to New York on January 2.
We'd like to do some relaxed sightseeing (London Eye, Trafalgar Square, New Year's Eve fireworks (?), New Year's parade, a museum) over December 31 and January 1.
I'm looking for suggestions for a hotel location. A few years ago we stayed in South Kensington. It was great, but I thought we would try a different neighborhood this time.
I've found possible mid-range (3-4 star) hotels in the Westminster and Covent Garden area. Both areas are appealing to me, but I wonder if anyone has insights into what they will be like over New Year's weekend. Will shops and restaurants in Westminster be closed? Will the Covent Garden district be noisy with revelers?
We would like to be within walking distance of a choice of restaurants, if that tips the scales.
Thank you Fodorites, and Londoners, for any advice you can give.
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Old Apr 12th, 2006, 07:11 AM
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We spent our first Christmas and New Year's in London this past year. We always stay at a flat in Covent Garden so let me say, yes we were sort of "in the thick of it". On New Year's Eve we went to a concert at the Barbican. Complicated by a one day -- semi strike -- of the Underground, we had some problems getting there. Busses were very late and taxis were at a real premium. And when we tried to return to our area for the fireworks over the Thames, we had a real problem. The busses were cancelled because the Strand and other streets were closed to traffic. We finally managed to flag down a taxi, but he couldn't take us very far due to the traffic, and he suggested we get out and walk -- which we did.

The point of all this? This is probably a good reason to stay right in the thick of things if you want to be a part of it all, particularly the fireworks "over" the London Eye.

Few things were closed, and it was pretty much business as usual. There is a big parade on New Year's Day in the Trafalgar and Picadily areas. We went to the Opera on New Year's Day -- tickets were hard to get, sold out way in advance, but we managed to get returns that morning.

We had planned to grab something casual to eat after our concert New Year's Eve, but most places were a big deal -- special multi course meals at inflated prices. The simple places were overflowing. We ended up a little place in Chinatown and had really good food in a party atmosphere.

If you want to do a special New Year's Eve dinner, you'll probably want to book quite a bit in advance.

Care to share which hotel in Covent Garden? My favorite recommendation is the Covent Garden Hotel for a splurge or the almost next door Montbatten for a little less.
Old Apr 12th, 2006, 08:35 AM
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For the last couple of years the main action on NYE has been near the London Eye, so somewhere like the London Marriott Hotel County Hall or the Premier Travel Inn Metro London County Hall (depending on budget) wuld be suitable.

Avoid Trafalgar Square on NYE as it's not very pleasant
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Old Apr 12th, 2006, 08:56 AM
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Thanks for your advice and experience, 'Neopolitan'.
I like the idea of being within walking distance of a variety of sights, so as long as a hotel in Covent Garden would be relatively quiet by 1:30a (meaning no loud singing in the streets, banging on the walls, all the things I did on New Year's at age 22), then I think that's the neighborhood we would choose.
And yes, the Radisson Mountbatten is one of the hotels on my list. (The QE2 gets the "splurge" points for this trip.)
For the record, the other hotel I was looking at is the Rubens, near Buckingham Palace and St. James Park. It looks like a beautiful location for warmer weather, but I was concerned (rightly or wrongly) that the area would be shut down on New Year's and could be a long windy walk from the areas which would be more active, especially if the Underground had stopped running. (Though I have read elsewhere that they keep the Tube open all night on 1/1, barring a work stoppage(?)!) Thanks again for the benefit of your experience. And yes, the next task is to figure out what to do for dinner on 12/31.
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Old Apr 12th, 2006, 09:22 AM
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AlanRow - Thanks for your advice as well. The Marriott Hotel County Hall website features their impressive view. I also checked the Premiere Travel Inn, but it looks like they are already booked.
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Old Apr 12th, 2006, 09:47 AM
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Take a look at Marriott's Renaissance Chancery Court. Walkable from Covent Garden. Check reviews for this hotel on
Old Apr 12th, 2006, 10:27 AM
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I've never stayed at that Marriott County Hall and I know it gets good reviews. My only concern would be in winter. That's one cold, cold walk across the bridge, which I suspect you'd be doing a lot.
We're from Florida and we looked like Eskimos in London this year, bundled up for some record setting cold days. We survived fine, but we walked across Waterloo Bridge just once and I thought I'd freeze solid!

We once had friends stay at the Radisson Montbatten, and they loved it, but the hotel gave them a great deal (since we passed ourselves off as local residents using our Covent Garden flat's address) and they had a tiny, tiny room under the eaves. I'd want a larger room than that.

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