Thrilled AGAIN have gone to London

Oct 10th, 2002, 12:39 PM
  #1  
Stephanie
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Thrilled AGAIN have gone to London

Part 1 of our 2nd trip to London...

October 1st my son, my grandmother, and I left on United Airlines for London. I have to thank United Airlines for the wonderful flight! We arrived that evening in London (Heathrow), and were whisked off by the car arranged by the hotel to The Gallery Hotel, So. Kensington, 10 Queensberry Place.

The Gallery Hotel is a charming boutique hotel that offers full English Breakfast, in a good neighborhood ½ a block from the Natural History Museum, also right around the corner is the V&A and the Science Museum. It is also close enough to many good restaurants, the South Kensington Underground station, ATM machines, and some nice shops. We had booked a triple room which was on the backside of the hotel, and was quiet, except for when one evening a rather heavy footed person checked in upstairs (but it was only that one night that was noisy). The hotel had some pros and some cons..our room was not the nicest, as I peeked in a few that were very elegant looking, ours did not even have light bulbs when we first walked in (almost on the shabby side)! The breakfast room was understaffed and disorganized, though breakfast was hot and delicious when served. The daytime concierge had a bit of a bad attitude, but the evening staff was wonderfully good natured and helpful! The butlers were friendly, polite and doted on my son. The bathtub was wonderful and the water was scalding hot - definitely a plus!!!! And, best of all was the computer available for the guests to use.

October 2 - Was spent seeing the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum! My son was enthralled with all those bones and artifacts. We left the museum and headed for Trafalgar Square (lots of construction, not allowed to feed the pigeons anymore), where we went to the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and then had a light snack at the Crypt at St. Martins. (Meanwhile, the Underground strike was on this day, so travel was by foot and cab) That evening we went to see Taiko Drummers at the Royal Festival Hall, which was absolutely incredible! Afterwards, we walked across the Thames on the pedestrian bridge, and it was just as we were crossing the bridge that Big Ben struck the hour, which just really etched a memory in my brain! The chill of the evening, the sound of the water under us, the lights of the old buildings lining the river, it was just breathtaking, with Big Ben adding to it all! We grabbed a pizza on the way back to the hotel for dinner, nothing special, just quick and easy. We were totally exhausted.

October 3, we walked to Kensington Gardens where we took pictures of everything in sight. My son had an assignment for school to sketch something of interest every day, so we stopped and sat at a bench while he sketched some scenery. Then off to Kensington Palace, and more picture taking, and then had lunch at the Orangery, where we had some incredibly delicious Zucchini (Courgette) soup, scones and tea. From there we left for Hamley's for my son's shopping spree. My grandmother and I went to the top floor and got some tea and waited for my son to do his shopping. Hamley's was packed! After that we caught some double decker buses (I cannot believe we had never been on one for the last trip!) and we headed across town for Harrods, where we dragged the grandmother around - buying tea canisters, coffee, candies, etc. to bring back for friends and relatives. For dinner we went to Khans of Kensington and had a fabulous feast of Indian food, it was extremely reasonable and delicious, and only about 2 blocks from The Gallery Hotel.

Stephanie
 
Oct 10th, 2002, 12:48 PM
  #2  
Paul
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Love hearing about your trip .
 
Oct 10th, 2002, 01:00 PM
  #3  
scarlett
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These trip reports are so enjoyable! You make me want to
1-go to London, or
2- wait for you to go again so I can read another trip report
Glad you had such a nice time.
 
Oct 10th, 2002, 01:42 PM
  #4  
K
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Hey S!
I can feel your aching feet just reading your report!
Glad you had a wonderful trip!
K
 
Oct 10th, 2002, 06:12 PM
  #5  
jill
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Stephanie,
Did you buy anything at Harrods?
What did your son get at Hamleys?
Did you go to Lush?

-shopping vicariously through you!
 
Oct 10th, 2002, 11:11 PM
  #6  
bob
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Congats on your trip. It sounds like you had a great time, I enjoyed your report. thanks
 
Oct 11th, 2002, 04:48 AM
  #7  
bettyk
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Stephanie, the only thing that strikes me as odd is how in one sentence you say the Gallery Hotel is a "charming" boutique hotel, then talk about how shabby your room was, etc. What's so charming about that?
 
Oct 11th, 2002, 05:27 AM
  #8  
Casey Peicott
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Hi,
I also have a reservation for a triple room at the the Gallery- but I do not want to stay in something "shabby."
Would you reccomend looking for something else?
Thanks
 
Oct 11th, 2002, 06:46 AM
  #9  
uhoh
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Super trip report. We enjoyed taking the bus places while we were there last Spring. I like to ride uptop and study the second floors-and-up of all the buildings you pass -- something you sometimes miss when you're walking! (Our one-week passes worked for both the tube and the bus.)
 
Oct 11th, 2002, 08:23 AM
  #10  
Stephanie
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Second part of my report....

October 4 - Off we went again, this time we took the tube to Westminster station and then caught a boat up the river to Hampton Court Palace. The boat ride is 2 ½ hours. We saw many things that you do not see by train or car. The captain of the boat gave us a nice tour, explaining a lot of the history of sites, and even some homes of celebrities such as Lord Archer’s, Michael Caine, and several others. The boat has a little kitchen, so they served hot drinks, which is needed with the wind off the river at this time of the year. I enjoyed it immensely, and I especially loved seeing all the house boats and the little islands. We
visited the palace, and this time saw a lot more of it than the last visit. This time we visited Henry VIII’s apartments and I believe, Queen Anne’s apartments. Afterwards, we walked down the road to Pizza Express where we had a bite and then caught the train back to the hotel, just in time to get ready for the play, Bombay Dreams. Now, that was definitely a highlight of the trip! Bombay Dreams’ music and dancing is just so contagious! When we left the theater, my son and I could not help but sing and dance our way around, hahahaha.

October 5 – Westminster Abbey, what an incredible place to visit. We paid the fee for the little hand held phones that give you the audio tour, and I definitely suggest getting it. We spent a lot of time there reading the engravings. We also went to Covent Garden, where I shopped at Lush…I bought ballistics, soaps, shampoos, deodarants, and lots of gifts, I had 3 huge shopping bags of Lush items, so we went back to the hotel. We took it easy and wandered around our area, and had lunch at La Bouchee, a French restaurant in So. Kensington, where the food was definitely delicious, reasonably priced, and the service was excellent. My son and I went to Bloomsbury that evening and had dinner at Malibar Junction on Great Russell Street, approximately 1 block from the British Museum. That is our favorite restaurant, the price is perfect, the service is excellent, and if you like Indian food, it is the best we have had yet! After dinner my son and I wandered around Oxford Street, window shopping and stopping for some coffee before going back to our hotel.

[Harrod’s purchases: Chocolate-Orange Coffee (gift for friend, and it is wonderful!), Coffee in Fancy Tins, Tea in Harrods’ tin, Chocolates, Lemon drops in fancy tin, and a few baked items for late evening nibbles]

[Jones Bootmaker – purchased shoes that are incredibly comfortable and chic]

Stephanie
 
Oct 11th, 2002, 08:27 AM
  #11  
jill
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betty,
I would guess from reading this that although the hotel was a charming boutique hotel, the triple room was a little shabby. Stephanie mentions that the other rooms she saw were very nice.
JMHO.
 
Oct 11th, 2002, 09:00 AM
  #12  
Stephanie
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Casey: I found that my room was shabby because it had two beds and a rolled in cot for the third bed, the lightbulbs were all burned out that evening when we checked in causing us to have to wait for them to be replaced (standing in the dark with our suitcases and extremely exhausted, a bit of wear and tear to the appearance of the room, and just little things like that ... meanwhile, when chatting with other guests, one in particular who was staying in a gorgeous room with a little balcony, was very happy with his room. I, of course, have only one other hotel in London to compare this to, and that is the Jury's Great Russell, which I had not one single complaint about - being a very "fine" chain of hotels.

Stephanie
 
Oct 11th, 2002, 04:19 PM
  #13  
casey
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Thanks,
I was wondering if anyone else has had experieince in triple rooms?
Are they usually less nice (shabbier)than the rest of the hotel?
Any suggestions of where to stay in London for aroud $200. per nght for a nice triple?
 
Oct 14th, 2002, 03:55 AM
  #14  
abc
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Where's the rest?
 
Oct 15th, 2002, 07:40 AM
  #15  
t
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topping
 
Oct 15th, 2002, 07:47 AM
  #16  
Generations
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How old is your son? How old is your grandmother? Were you a child bride?
 
Oct 16th, 2002, 07:18 AM
  #17  
Stephanie
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Part 3 -

October 6 – We headed over to Brown’s Hotel to meet a friend from Fodors and her niece for lunch. We made it to the restaurant early, so we wandered around the neighborhood and I bought an antique painting of a greyhound and a bronze statue of a greyhound at a little antique shop, on a little street closed off from traffic (the proprietor bargained with us, so I bought the little oil painting of the greyhound and the small statue for approx. £75). We had a wonderful lunch with good company! Also, the dessert was to die for – sticky toffee pudding! That evening we went to La Bouchee (French restaurant on Old Brompton Road) again for dinner (the Coq au Vin and wine was wonderful – 3 of us ate great meal and bottle of wine for £85)! The waiter remembered us and was very friendly. After dinner, we wandered around Old Brompton Road looking in windows.

October 7 – We took the tube to Piccadilly Circus, walked around window shopping again – Regents, looked in Burberry (got my perfume, Weekends), and many other shops. That evening I met my friend from Fodors again, and we ate at a restaurant called Circus (£15 for three course pre-theater dinner). The food and company was wonderful (I hope we can get together on our next vacation!). After dinner we walked through Leicester Square, where she waited while I jumped in a cab back to the hotel.

October 8 – Early morning visit to Victoria & Albert Museum, son loved the weapon room, I loved the jewelry, what a huge museum, so much to see! Had tea in the little museum cafe, and then a walk through Hyde Park, I took the child to his favorite place, Hamley’s. From Hamleys, we went on to Harrods for High Tea (£16.50 per person). It was very pleasant, sitting out in the glass room over looking the roof tops while sipping tea and eating scones, pastries and sandwiches. That evening the hotel made reservations for our last dinner in London at a restaurant called Al Bustan, a Lebanese restaurant on Old Brompton Road, around the corner from our hotel. It was the perfect “last meal” – the service was impeccable, the food was delicious (£80 for three of us again, lots of food ordered and wine), and to the hotel to sleep – as the driver was picking us up at 4:30 a.m. the next morning to take us back to Heathrow.

It was a wonderful vacation, and I am still wishing to go back because I did not get to see the Imperial War Museum or go on the London Eye….so planning my next trip already sans the kid this time.

Stephanie
 
Oct 16th, 2002, 07:20 AM
  #18  
PartyAnimal
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Anyone ever been to the bar "Sunday School" in London. It's only open on Sunday afternoons. It's awesome. All the girls get totally wasted and take their shirts off.
 
Oct 16th, 2002, 08:35 AM
  #19  
kelly
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Stephanie,
sounds like a good time was had by all!
It is so great that you are able to travel with your child and your grandmother. I did the same thing when my children were young and the memories are wonderful.
Would you use United again? I have heard mixed reviews on their service?
Was the car that was arranged very expensive or would a taxi be just as convenient.
Thanks for the report!
 
Oct 16th, 2002, 08:49 AM
  #20  
friend
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Dear Stephanie
It wasn't Browns Hotel restaurant we met in, it was a restaurant called Browns on St Martins Lane (Leicester Square area) which is actually not linked to Browns Hotel. Just in case anyone wants to go and try that superb sticky toffee pudding!
And I hope we get to meet again too.
Your Fodors Friend
 

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