London April 2011 Part 1

This is the first destination on my whirlwind mini ‘Round the World tour in April.  Here is the first installment of my trip.  Delta Airlines Economy Class from New York (JFK) to London (LHR) and the Delta Skyclub in JFK Terminal 3.

Getting from the Heathrow airport to the city center is really easy.  Here are the most common options, from fastest (and most expensive) to slowest via public transportation:

  1. Heathrow Express
  2. Heathrow Connect
  3. Underground/subway (or commonly called “the Tube”)

I would recommend the Express, though we had Groupon coupons which brought its price down to a little less than half.  It usually takes about 15 minutes, has free wifi onboard, and full price roundtrip is about £32.  Its final destination is Paddington Station, which transfers to the Tube easily.  A little pricey though in my opinion.  The Heathrow Connect is, I think, the most economical for the time and price.  25 minutes to Paddington Station, for £16.50 roundtrip.  Much more reasonable.

Arriving at Paddington Station

Thanks to Jamie’s HiltonHonors points, we get hooked up with the Courthouse DoubleTree London by Hilton.  Its a really nice hotel, located near the Oxford Circus tube station.  Its situated in an old building (probably an old courthouse) converted to a Doubletree hotel, with a rooftop bar, and a basement that’s been turned into a full service spa & gym.  Nice simple room, though instead of a king bed, it was two twin beds pushed together, with no real way of separating them.

The large "King" guestroom

Rooftop Bar

There was a fresh fruit plate, along with a box with 4 chocolate truffles, waiting for us.  MMmmmmm.

The delicious treats awaiting us. I may or may not have eaten a truffle before taking this picture.

The concierge was also spectacular.  Very knowledgable and seemingly willing to help out with any needs we had.  After about a 15 minute Q&A period with them, I was armed with a map, and a bunch of circles as to what to hit up.  We picked up another Groupon or Livingsocial deal for 50% off £30 in drinks at the Adventure Bar & Lounge in the Covent Garden area.  So that was the evening’s destination.  But at this point, we were getting pretty hungry, so we figured we’d walk to the Covent Garden area, find an Indian restaurant, then do a little more walking around before we head into the Adventure Bar.

Compulsory pint break on the way to dinner

Out of all the cuisines in the world, I would put Indian at the top.  There are just so many robust flavors that their food has, its an awesome experience every time I eat it.  And because of the colonization of India under the British Empire a couple hundred years ago, there are many Indians that live in England, and thus, have spectacular Indian food.

The Adventure Bar & Lounge

After our first real meal in London, we head over to the Adventure Bar where the shenanigans begin.  We get there 5 minutes before their happy hour ended; the special was 2-for-1 cocktails.  Tall cocktails.  Obviously, we take advantage of this first, before using the Groupon.   The night continues, and after each of us drink a couple shots and several Cooper’s Pale Ales, we get fairly drunk.  (People in England, that you don’t know, don’t seem as willing to take pictures with you as some other cultures do.  But if you just tell them that you’re on an international scavenger hunt and you gotta take pictures with locals, they seem to oblige.  😉 Even the attractive ones.)

She wasn't duped with the scavenger hunt, she actually wanted to talk with us.

By this point, stumbling through London sounds like a great idea, so we stumble and come across Picadilly Circus.  This area is lined with shops, restaurants, bars, clubs, and casinos.  So many casinos.  Unlike the US, these casinos have an inebriation code.  They won’t anybody in that appears to be drunk.  And one of us, cough….the female….cough, can barely stand still.  Needless to say, we didn’t pass the drunk test to get into any of the bagillion casinos we walked by.

Its pretty late at this point, but Jamie and I still want to gamble a little bit and just see what the London late nightlife was like.  After dropping off Gina, we go gamble a bit back at the Picadilly casinos.  The time is flying by, and by the time we both decide to cut our losses, it was already about 4:30am!  We walk home, and everything is closed.  No tube running, don’t see any cabs driving by, nothing.  On our trek back we also get a little lost.  Several times I thought to myself,”I swear that Jack the Ripper is going to run out and gut us.”  But after 20 minutes of walking through the creepy 5am streets of London, we finally make it back to the Doubletree.

To be continued….


11 Responses to “London April 2011 Part 1”

  1. dude, totally went on a jack the ripper walking tour when i was in london!

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