Travel, UK

Travel: A Weekend In London

Last month I was lucky enough to be nominated and shortlisted to win a national award. Nothing blogging related, I do a lot of training in my day job in a contact centre which was recognised by my boss and the lovely people at the UK National Contact Centre Awards who shortlisted me in the category of Learning & Development Champion. This meant I got to attend a fabulous award’s ceremony in London so I booked an extra day off work and decided to stay an extra night.

After we arrived in London and found our hotel I wandered out to find the hotel where I had booked to have my hair done. The lovely Sal recommended Hershesons and there was a blow dry bar just 30 minutes walk away so it seemed perfect.

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We spotted the Gherkin on the walk and I loved this shot of the building curling up to it. I’m fascinated by the contrast between old and new; this is the first time I have realised that it is my favourite type of photograph.

We went to the Herseshons in One New Change near St Paul’s Cathedral. It is a light and airy salon with a ‘menu’ of blow dry styles to choose from for the bargain price of £25. I thought this was a bargain for a blow dry in the capital and went for the half and half.

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And here we are all ready for the awards! I didn’t win but I was so chuffed to be shortlisted for a national category I really didn’t mind. It was a fabulous night of fizz, dancing and celebration.

The next day I wandered around the corner to check in to my home for the night. I had found a great deal for a night at the Double Tree by Hilton, Tower of London hotel that was too good to pass on and when they handed me a warm cookie at check in I knew I had made the right decision!

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Soft and gooey with a crusty edge, it was delicious and crying out for some milk to wash it down.

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I upgraded at check in to an executive room. It meant I got a later check out the next day and access to the executive lounge for complimentary snacks, drinks and breakfast. Considering I had paid a reduced rate for my room it meant the price went up to what I should have been paying for a standard room so it seemed like the best option.

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When it comes to the room it was large with a big comfy bed complete with an iMac which can be used as a computer or as a TV. I thought this was a great touch especially for someone travelling on business or alone, as I was. It meant I could catch up with the world of social media and search for somewhere to grab some tea!

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The view was disappointing looking into an empty office block that would give a great view of the Gherkin behind it had it not been there! Being an executive room I was expecting a nicer view, especially when the views on the other side of the hotel are so stunning. More of that later…

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The bathroom was also disappointing as there was no bath, just a walk in shower. It was spotless though and the complimentary toiletries provided by Crabtree & Evelyn are a nice touch. After pottering on the internet for a while I wandered up to the hotel bar for some cocktails in the blazing hot sun.

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The Skylounge has the most spectacular views of the Tower of London and the Shard despite the large amount of construction going on in the area.  Thanks to the beautifully sunny day I spent all afternoon out here with my book and an array of strawberry cocktails. All were deliciously fruity without being too sweet, just the way I like them.

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When I started to feel a little tipsy I wandered out to find some tea. Being on my own I didn’t really want to sit in a restaurant so went for a burrito at Poncho 8 on Devonshire Row. The concept is the same as Changos in Manchester where I am a regular. You choose your meat then top it with whatever you like from the counter including rice, beans, sour cream, salsa and vegetables before it is wrapped ready for you to take home. I went for the chicken which needed a bit more of kick for me but the beans were lovely and the rice well seasoned. Suffice to say I didn’t manage all of it as I was stuffed.

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Ready for more reading time I headed to the executive lounge for complimentary mini donuts and some me time. The room is a little like an airport VIP lounge with self serve alcohol including bottled lagers, wine and soft drinks. The choice is limited but for a complimentary service it is absolutely fine. I enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine with my donuts before retiring to bed for an early night.

The next day I was up early in the lounge for my breakfast which was lovely. The choice was a lot smaller than the normal restaurant but I wanted fruit then bacon croissants so it was perfect. I wandered over to see my friend (I say wandered… it was a 4 mile walk along the Thames!) taking some photographs of my new old v new obsession before jumping on my train back to Manchester.

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It may sound quite boring to spend a day and night pottering in a hotel but I had such a relaxing day to myself, it was great. I’d definitely do it again and would recommend this hotel to the lone traveller. I was looked after in the lounge perfectly with excellent service from the wait staff and my room was quite far down the corridor meaning I wasn’t disturbed by other guests moving around. I’m looking forward to my next trip to the big city in a few weeks! Where should I wander to this time?

This trip was paid for in full. This is an honest and unbiased review.


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