Tag Archives: Big Ben

Club Carlson Hotels – The Loyalty Program That Makes Us Fall In Love!

By Lakshmi and Siddhi:

We’re in love!  Yes, we fell in love about a year ago in Sweden and then the romance was rekindled recently in London.  We can safely declare that for us, this romance is here to stay.  We are officially in a long-term relationship, with Club Carlson playing cupid in our romance with its hotels.

Ok, if you think we are going crazy, you are right.  Now let’s tell you why we are in this state of mind.

Last May we discovered and wrote about the 50,000 points giveaway from Radisson.  If you stayed a night at any Radisson property, you would be awarded with 50,000 points in Club Carlson’s program.  Siddhi and I were in Sweden, needed a couple of hotels and the bonus points steered us towards our maiden Radisson Blu experience.   We LOVED the service and better yet, loved the 100,000 bonus points we got.

Fast forward ten months later and we had a chance to use our points at the Plaza on the River in London.  This Carlson brand appealed to us for its picturesque location on the water and promising views of Big Ben.  Plus, we’d be lying if we did not admit that it was awesome to redeem our points for a pricey, waterfront property.

Now to the details on how this property made us fall in love with Club Carlson all over again.  First, we were “quadruple upgraded” to a two bedroom, two bathroom, waterfront facing suite with a living room and kitchen.  Take a look at the pictures at the end of this post and you’ll realize what a big deal that is.  We were provided late check out.  The people at the desk were incredibly friendly.  The concierge, incredibly efficient.  When we said that we were hoping to do laundry and noticed the machine in the room was not working, guess what they did?  Yes, they tried to fix the machine, but when they could not, our laundry was done free of charge and delivered overnight.

Let me not forget to mention that we had views of the Parliament and Big Ben and were within a few minutes walk of the Vauxhall tube stop.

Now to the grand finale – when we checked out, we discovered that we had stayed for FREE in a hotel that was going for 460 pounds per night that week.  And we had stayed without spending a dime for two nights.

We absolutely love the rewards offered by the Club Carlson program.  And more importantly we love how their hotels enable us as travelers.  That’s why this relationship will be forged forward.  And the next step in this romance? We are getting the Club Carlson Visa Card which will reward us nicely for signing up and for our many upcoming stays in Europe in the not too distant future.

Thank you Club Carlson for wooing us over.  We’re here to stay!

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St. Paul’s Cathedral, London: The Ultimate Vantage Point

St. Paul’s Cathedral
Source: Wikipedia

By Rohan:

London is a city filled to the brim with picturesque architecture, gorgeous landmarks, and vibrant culture. It is hard to take in the entire city at once when you are walking endlessly through its labyrinth of streets. If you only have a few days in London but wish to see it all, fear not, because St. Paul’s Cathedral is a fantastic spot to see the entire city from a bird’s-eye view.

Don’t get too excited. This amazing view is not cheap. Sure, entrance into the cathedral is free provided you are dressed appropriately for the occasion and agree to follow the church’s rules, however getting to the top requires that you either wait in a long line for an elevator or climb flights upon flights of stairs. We recommend climbing up because it adds an adventurous feeling to the experience and being able to explore the catacombs and tunnels of an old cathedral is an awe-inspiring experience.

When you reach the top, you can literally hear your jaw dropping. The Tower Bridge looms majestically over the Thames river to your left and Big Ben chimes proudly to your right. If you want to get a chance to see all of London’s landmarks in one sitting, this is the place to be. Everything from miniscule double-decker buses to Buckingham Palace can all be clearly spotted from this view. Remember to bring your cameras because St. Paul’s Cathedral is perfect for getting the ultimate aerial shot of London that will blow your friends and family away.

Once you finish climbing endless staircases, you probably would have worked up quite an appetite. Luckily, there is an awesome pizza place just down the street from the cathedral as well as several fast food joints native to London that can provide you with a quick, cheap lunch.While this view is precious during the day, to truly see the city come to life, a second visit at night is highly suggested.

And attention single men out there, popping the question here almost guarantees a yes!

London In A Day- Things To Keep In Mind

London

By: Rohan

Welcome to London! The only city where the glitz and glamor of the United States intersect with the old traditions and architecture of Europe, the crossroads where past meets present to fuel the future. Parts of the city are quaint with little coffee shops dotted with fresh plants and delicious pastries while other parts are as bustling and hectic as the heart of New York City. In twenty-four hours, you see all the city has to offer without breaking the bank. Here’s how:

1. Travel by Foot: London is famous for its public transportation. It is a sprawling city connecting by the famous underground subway system, beautiful above-ground trains, and of course, iconic double-decker buses. Add up your fare prices and you are looking at a staggering number. London isn’t cheap. The best way to avoid this is by using your own two legs. It’s easy to walk from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey without feeling the need to soak your feet in cold water. Some of the best sights can be caught only while on foot. You can’t get a picturesque view of the Tower Bridge majestically watching over the glimmering Thames from a taxi cab. Well you can, but it will only last a split second before it ducks into a tunnel or swerves on to another road.

2. Immerse Yourself Entirely: London is filled with history and there’s something to see everywhere you look. When you dine, dine with the history, not away from it. Why eat at a Cheesecake Factory when you can grab a few cheap  sandwiches and eat on a statue in the middle of the beautiful Trafalgar Square? Why go for your usual cup of coffee at Starbucks when you can enjoy a delicious, reasonably priced ice cream cone adjacent to the Tower of London. The choices are endless and the views are all equally gorgeous.

3. Enjoy the Journey: London is filled with secrets. If you travel by bus or train, you can miss out on some of the charm that makes it unique from any other city in the world. For example, by walking from the shopping hub that is Piccadilly Circus back to our hotel, we encountered stores you would never see in the United States. For example, Hamiley’s, a six story tall toy store that makes the Times Square Toys R’ Us look miniscule. While it is definitely crucial to see the landmarks (Big Ben, Tower of London, etc.),  these little stops that make your trip to London different from your neighbor’s trip to London. And window-shopping never broke the bank (if of course, you control yourself)!

4. Do Your Homework: Thankfully, most of London can be seen with the eye. Big Ben for example, is not an attraction that comes with an admission ticket and tour. However, there are some attractions like the London Eye and the Buckingham Palace that require tickets and time for tours. Before you travel, make sure to think of the three things you want to cover in a day. Any more and you will be so tired that you won’t want to enjoy the sights around you. Make sure to get tickets in advance and research when attractions have short waits. Usually, the line for the London Eye will suck up a good hour of your day. But when we went, five minutes of research at the hotel helped us save time and we got our tickets in no time.

Of course, may of these tips seem more self-evident. But there are ways to see London in a feasible way without compromising the experience!