Blogging started off as a hobby for me and over the last few years has opened up many doors for me. What I am most grateful is the connections I have made with readers and other bloggers. It’s the connection to other bloggers that has brought me to London twice. I am part of a blogger group that supports, shares and offers a place to vent for all of us. For the past four years this group has been meeting in London, England on the last weekend of February. Most of the bloggers live or have lived in the United Kingdom. I am one of the few that have never.
Last year I had the pleasure of meeting this group for the first time. After reading about all the fun they had and seeing the pictures on their blogs and social media I didn’t want to be left out. Not wanting to go alone to London I roped in my girlfriend who was turning 40 that weekend so we made it a couples weekend. Yes, you read correctly we went for the weekend to London, England from Toronto. The four of us didn’t have the luxury of staying longer plus with such a short window we were sure to make in as much London as possible.
Since this was “my” trip I did the research to find the best deal for the four of us and that led me to book through Expedia.ca. I did extensive research on where to stay while my girlfriend decided where we would eat – divide and conquer. We had such a great weekend last year that when my friends at Expedia.ca asked me to go on a trip to London for 75 hours, I knew it was the perfect fit!. Not wanting to go alone I made this a fun girl’s weekend with my friend Christina.
My airport style – we had a few hours to kill so I showed Christina my new sunglasses. Boucheron from Kaltenbock Opticians.
There are a few things that I learned last year that worked – taking the 8:30 pm flight out of Toronto was the first. There was an extra charge for this flight and it was worth every penny. We arrived in London at approximately 8:30 am and this gave us all day Friday to do whatever we wanted. Jet lag was manageable – we were tired Friday but were able to do everything we had planned. Last year it was shopping and this year we went shopping and had afternoon tea. We stayed up till 10 pm so as to keep on London time.
Customs took a very long time so if you are using a car service to get you to your hotel ask that the driver arrive at least an hour after you land. Another piece of advice is make sure you tell your driver how much luggage you are bringing. This will determine the size of your car. Taking the train into London is a much faster option but lugging your luggage through the city can be annoying. We flew back at noon, this gave us enough time for breakfast and we didn’t feel rushed and we landed in Toronto at approximately 3:20 pm.
When booking your London hotel keep it close to the majority of your activities – location, location location. London is a vast city with many different areas that offer amazing restaurants, sites and shopping. Don’t try to save money by staying outside of the city. Travelling back and forth between your hotel on the outskirts and the city makes the whole trip stressful and you won’t be able to see or do as much if you stayed central. We stayed in the Melia White House in Regent’s Park. It is in the north west of London and from the hotel there are 3 tube stations within walking distance. We wanted to be close to Mayfair, Marylebone and Knightsbridge which were only a few tube stops away. The area around our hotel was quiet during the evening which I really liked. It wasn’t desolate, there were people around but there wasn’t the London night scene which can be overwhelming. There are lots of restaurant options around the hotel which served us well.
The Melia White House rooms where typical London which means they are smaller then what we’re used to in North America. European hotel rooms are not known for their size. This hotel is undergoing some renovations and our room was clean but dated. We had two twin beds (they were OK) with two women that had enough clothing that we changed for dinner all three days of this trip. There was space for everything we brought, the layout was efficient. There is free WIFI throughout the entire hotel which is such a nice amenity. I had a strong signal in the lobby and in the hotel room. The Melia didn’t nickel and dime us which was refreshing. This is all stated in the reviews on Expedia. I read through reviews for all of the hotels I was interested in on their site and decided that for our needs and what area we wanted to stay Melia offered the best value for our dollars. For those guests looking to upgrade their experience, Executive rooms, Junior, Master and Presidential Suites have access to The Level Floor offering private check-in and deluxe amenities. The exclusive Level Lounge serves complimentary full English breakfast, all day tea, coffee, soft drinks and pastries, an open bar from 6pm – 10pm, cold and hot canapés from 6pm-8:30pm, private meeting room free of charge for one hour (max. 4 persons) and a full selection of newspapers. We experienced the Level access on Sunday and it is a nice perk. I would recommend the upgrade if it is in your budget.
Last year we stayed by the London Eye (Christina stayed in the same area the year before) and we both thought that Regent’s Park is a better area to stay for a girl’s or couples weekend. Location, location, location. This is the first post in a four post series. We packed a lot of everything into this trip and I can’t wait to share all of it with you.