Tag Archives: Hotels

Snagging a Reasonable Hotel Room in London – An App Enables Success

By Lakshmi:

This year, I wanted to wake up in London on my birthday.  And since it was my birthday, I wanted to start the day some place nice.  There was only one obstacle to this beautiful dream.  Given my aversion to paying sky-high prices for hotels and my desire to be at the heart of the city, getting a lovely room appeared impossible.

We arrived at London Paddington at noon, the exact time that the Hotel Tonight app releases last-minute hotel deals.  Could Lady Luck favor us? There were indeed a few hotel rooms available in London that night.  Scanning through a list, the Montagu Place Hotel caught our eye.  It would cost us under $200.  The hotel was a lovingly restored townhouse conveniently located to four tube stops.  There was more….the hotel had fantastic reviews, had earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2013 and carried Molton Brown toiletries in the bathroom.

My fingers worked quickly to snag the deal.  It was one of the easiest hotel bookings to make.  Within nanoseconds, I had my confirmation and we boarded the tube to Marylebone from where the hotel was a quick 5 minute walk.  Situated among beautiful homes in a leafy, upscale neighborhood, the Montagu Place was easy to miss.  The lobby was intimate and lovely, stocking some of the latest magazines and maps.  The staff was incredibly welcoming, acknowledging my upcoming event and even remembering to wish me the next morning.

The room was spacious and well-appointed; the bathroom huge by European standards.  We indulged in every ounce of the Molton Brown toiletries and were so so grateful to snag a beautiful room in the heart of London for a bargain.

If you are an impulsive traveler, do check out the HotelTonight app.  You can learn more about HotelTonight at


If the Montagu Place Hotel intrigues you, please do visit their website at


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!





The Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas

By Rohan: 

The Aria represents everything Las Vegas is known for. Luxurious accommodations, divine dining options, vibrant nightlife, and a major gambling scene. It is the crown jewel of CityCenter, Las Vegas’ new expansion that welcomed five new casinos to Sin City. The Aria’s design sets it apart from many of the other hotels on the strip. It is sleek, modern, and sophisticated with a very welcoming aura and staff ready to cater to your every need. While some hotels nearby focus on a tacky theme or suffer from the strong smell of cigarette smoke, Aria feels fresh, clean, and elegant.

Aria boasts some of the most technologically advanced rooms ever seen in a hotel of its magnitude. Despite its enormous footprint, each room feels personal and provides for an excellent view of Las Vegas’ glitz and glamor. The rooms contain software built into them that allow the guest to adjust the temperature, start up a warm shower, or listen to some music without leaving his bed. Just playing around with some of the fancy devices in the room is an experience in and of itself.

When you are done exploring Aria’s unique accommodations, several fine dining options await in the lobby. A Tapas Bar, an award-winning Thai restaurant, a taste of Mexican flavors, and a delicious spot to grab dessert can all be found within a short walk from the guest suites. Jean-Phillippe Chocolatiers is a must-see stop in the Aria. This French pastry-maker has shops in several Las Vegas hotels (including Bellagio and Venetian), but his Aria location is considered his flagship chocolate paradise. Keeping with the Aria’s modern design, the store sells an incredible variety of fudges, candies, pastries, and crepes. As to be expected from a chocolatier, Jean-Phillippe makes a mean hot chocolate for a very hefty price tag. If Blackjack, Craps, or slots are treating you well, treat yourself to some delicious desserts and espresso drinks.

Aria also has a variety of pools, shops, and a spa to make your stay as relaxing as possible. It is home to Cirque Du Soleil’s new show Zarkana, which I was able to catch in New York City at Radio City Music Hall earlier this year. Zarkana is a visual masterpiece from the world-renown French-Canadian circus troupe. It dazzles you with breathtaking acrobatics, amazing set pieces, and music that is sure to give you goosebumps.

If you’re traveling to Vegas with family, business, or pleasure, the Aria is the ultimate place to stay.

You can visit their site here:


If you would like to share your Vegas experience with us, feel free to do so in the comments.