London/Paris Itinerary Advice Needed

Nov 9th, 2007, 09:59 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 320
London/Paris Itinerary Advice Needed

My husband and I would like to start planning our next big trip and are intrigued by the idea of flying into London, spending six nights, taking the train to Paris, and spending another six nights. We'd appreciate any general thoughts/suggestions on that. We are Starwood gold and want to use points for our hotels. Looking at the Starwood site for both cities, it appears they have a lot of properties in their more luxury classes. However, looking at TripAdvisor ratings, it appears the Sheraton Park Lane and the Westin Paris are our best bets in terms of ratings and travelers and central locations. Unfortunately, The Lanesborough doesn't participate in the SPG program. Any thoughts on those hotels? Thanks for your help with this--we so appreciate all the nice suggestion we always get from Fodor's travelers.
marysmommy is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 09:59 AM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 320
Sorry, in London, I meant the Sheraton Park Tower, not the Park Lane. Thanks
marysmommy is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 11:02 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 320
Also, any advice on the most affordable way/best airline to book business class to London (or to Paris and do this itinerary backwards would be helpful too). Thanks!
marysmommy is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 11:18 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 66
My husband and I stayed at the Westin Paris in March using our Starwood points. The room was small (I think they all are), but had everything we needed, including a fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower outside our window! We put in a special request for a view upon booking (and mentioned it was our anniversary) and even though we arrived well before check-in time, they immediately took us to our room with a view! We also had a bottle of wine and a card wishing us a Happy Anniversary when we returned that afternoon. First class service and good location.
overplanner is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 12:33 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
For the Eurostar trip London to Paris if you book well in advance you can save mega bucks over just showing up

You can book up to nine months in advance.
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 03:33 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,579
Your best bet will be to fly open jaw into London and out of Paris w/ the Eurostar in between. Air departure fees out of the UK are much higher than out of France so you'll save about $300 on the 2 tickets just in taxes.

Both hotels you are considering are fine -- especially on points
janisj is online now  
Nov 9th, 2007, 08:04 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 320
Thank you so much--this is exactly what we need to get started!
marysmommy is offline  
Nov 10th, 2007, 09:04 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,301
Another vote for the Eurostar. I think that sounds like a wonderful trip!!
jamikins is offline  
Nov 10th, 2007, 02:05 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,836
You won't be able to do an open-jaw, but as for reasonable business class airfares from US to London, you might want to check all-business airlienrs like MaxJet, Eos Airlines, and Silverjet. They all use either Stansted or Luton in London. I believe Eos is thinking of starting flights between JFK-Paris in future.
W9London is offline  
Nov 10th, 2007, 02:09 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 320
Thanks for that idea--I've heard that Maxjet is serving DC now--I'll check these out!
marysmommy is offline  
Nov 11th, 2007, 09:22 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 320
More info: apparently MaxJet doesn't serve DC yet, but looking at it from NY to London, it's $500 less expensive than business class from DC on any other carrier. Has anyone flown MaxJet? Any thoughts on it?

Thanks!
marysmommy is offline  
Nov 13th, 2007, 07:55 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
MaxJet?
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 09:38 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 75
Very wise of you to use points considering the state of the dollar...

Starwood is somewhat limited with the luxury hotels they feature in London and Paris, and I'm not overly impressed overall with the ones they do represent.
The list of best luxury hotels in London when compared with Starwood's list do not overlap much. The exception, as you found, is the Lanesborough, which doesn't really count; I'm not even sure why Starwood has it on their website.

Same goes for Starwood hotels in Paris.

Keep in mind that small rooms are often the norm even for the high-end hotels in Paris and London.

My favorite luxury hotels in Paris are Le Meurice, Plaza Athenee, and the Lancaster.
(none of them Starwood.)
I'll be in Paris in January...sigh...

It's too bad the Lanesborough doesn't participate in Starwood points redemption. It's most certainly because they don't have to, there is no benefit to them as they have enough business as it is.
I was at the Lanesborough in August and it is truly lovely. Busy locale, though, I must say. (But the plus is you can walk to Harrod's!)

You could go to the Lanesborough for breakfast even if you don't stay there. I had a lovely breakfast there in the Conservatory at the L.

My favorite hotel hands down in London is the Stafford...again, not Starwood, but in a class by itself.

The hotels that Starwood represents in Italy are more impressive overall, particularly the ones in Sardinia, if you wanted to save some points for a trip there.

Best,
Ellen Craig
[email protected]
ellencraig is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 10:17 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 320
Thanks so much for those comments--very helpful! I agree, the Italian Starwood properties are very good, we stayed there last year on points in some fabulous places and they were very generous with upgrades as well.

I think we may just go for one week and go to Paris only, instead of doing both cities in the same trip. The air fare is going to kill us and we are all out of frequent flyer miles (and who can get them to work with any airline now, anyway?), so we'll definitely need to use points for the hotel.

I've checked out the Westin Paris on TripAdvisor and some other sites it has an above-average rating. The location is good anyway. Any thoughts on this?
marysmommy is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 09:28 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 561
Marysmommy-

Here's what I really don't understand: Considering that cost does seem to be a consideration (as it always is for me) why would you consider shortening your trip to only one city and six days and yet want to pay the enormous differential just to fly business class? And you are only flying a relatively short trip over the Atlantic whereas I must fly from Los Angeles. I invite others to correct my thinking as I admit to never finding any affordable business class tickets nor am I too savy about how to use FF miles to upgrade.*

But just to run a test to see if this plays out the way it usually does when I bother to check business class fares, I went onto Orbitz, selected the dates April 15 to April 23 and compared these three options for two tickets, with the following cost results, all non-stop flights on United or Delta:

RT IAD to CDG Business Class: $6,516
RT IAD To CDG Economy Class: $1,778
Open Jaw, IAD to LHR, CDG to IAD: $1,740

That's $4,776 less to keep with your original plans! Did you check this out before compromising on your preferred plan? Granted, there are costs on the ground for another 6 or 7 days but for the difference in airfare, that's almost $800 per day which is more than you would spend on the ground.

*I recently asked American what it would cost to 'upgrade' my award seat LAX to LHR, returning Madrid to LAX next April and was told it would be another 20,000 FF miles plus $600 per ticket. No thanks.
LeslieC is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 05:41 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 75
You can occasionally find business class tickets to Europe for about $3000-3500. Sometimes less.
ellencraig is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 07:59 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 320
I agree--sorry about that, forgot to mention we also abandoned any thought of business class when we dropped London. You can take those all business class flights for around $1600 (lowest) and Virgin Atlantic has some flights for around that too, but nothing to Paris. We'll go coach, but it's still showing up at $1300 or so for a nonstop.
marysmommy is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 09:09 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 25,026
A couple of notes:

1) Maxjet did serve DC, but dropped the route. Too little business.

2) While I'm not sure it would be worth the hassle, L'Avion is an all-business airline that flies out of Newark. I know that last summer they had business class tickets in the $1500 range.

3) I stayed at the Westin Paris last Christmas. Great location, good staff, nice public areas. However, as noted the room was pretty small. 20k-25k SPG points per night does seem sort of steep to me, though.

4) Regarding the 20k SPG point rate, 6 nights is at least 120k points. That converts to 150k miles in many programs, including Delta and Northwest. Call one of them, see if they have availability on the Air France nonstop or a good connection, transfer 80k SPG points for 100k Delta/NW miles, book two coach tickets, and you have saved $2,600 (less taxes). This gives you $400 or so per night to use on hotels, many of which you might prefer to the Westin, and you have (at least) 40k SPG points left. Or if you have a few more, then look into a business class award. You could use a similar strategy with US Airways and see if they can get you on a United flight. On top of all this, the FF tickets can be redeposited if a great deal comes around or if your plans change, so you aren't locked in.

Regardless, I don't see how using the SPG points for a room at the Westin is a great value.
travelgourmet is online now  
Nov 15th, 2007, 09:38 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 320
Great advice--I'm going to look into the points for miles. We never realized that they traded at that level, we thought they'd be much less valuable. THANKS!
marysmommy is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 01:05 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 25,026
That SPG is so liberal with transfers to airlines is why it is THE BEST rewards program out there. And it is why the SPG Amex card is pretty widely considered to be the king of credit cards.

Between all the partners, you have all of the major alliances covered, as well as Virgin Atlantic and Emirates, two of the bigger independents. Just avoid the ones that transfer at 2 points per mile - Continental and United chief among them. But with Delta and Northwest subbing for Continental and a whole host of Star Alliance partners taking the place of United, they are easily avoided.
travelgourmet is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:33 PM.