- OzFest 2012 (Canberra) - Introduction
- Lufthansa First Class, Denver to Frankfurt
- Lufthansa's First Class Terminal and LH901, Frankfurt to London
- Hilton Paddington Station
- London to Sydney, the Long Way, in United Business
- Sydney's Qantas Club & The Q400 to Canberra
- The Park Hyatt Canberra
- Touring Canberra
- Canberra's Qantas Club & The Beginning of a 13,000 Mile Journey
Although I had finalized most of my plans for OzFest, I realized that I had forgotten to book a hotel for my one-night layover in London. A quick check of Hyatt.com revealed that the Andaz was sold-out (of paid and points nights), and the Churchill was advertising a Diamond Guarantee rate of 800£. No thanks!!
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee was right around the corner, so I was not surprised to see the results from the Hyatt. In fact, I spent over an hour on various hotel websites, hoping to find an available room. Hilton had previously had availability, but it disappeared when I went to book, so I turned to properties that I could use some of the Club Carlson points I had collected over the winter. One property was available, although it was a forty-five minute cab ride from Heathrow. Tentatively, I booked this property, all the while hoping that something a bit closer to Heathrow would open up.
Two days before I was scheduled to fly to London, I checked Hilton, and to my surprise, I saw that they had some availability.
Unlike Hyatt, Hilton has an abundance of properties in London (33 to be exact). As expected, Hilton wanted a minimum of $500USD for one night, so I switched my focus to a rewards stay. After fifteen minutes of searching, I discovered that the Hilton Paddington Station had one points room available, and without thinking, I grabbed it as fast as I could. This was quite a steal, as it would save me several hundred dollars, and the location couldn't be better!
image courtesy; hotels in London
After a very relaxing flight on Lufthansa First Class from Denver to Frankfurt, four hours in the First Class Terminal, and then a short hop from Frankfurt to London, I hopped aboard the Heathrow Express, which takes fifteen minutes to reach Paddington Station.
The entrance to the hotel is one level up from the train platforms, and about fifty feet from the entrance/exit of the Heathrow Express. If you have lots of luggage, there is an elevator, although expect a rather long wait for the elevator to descend the one story to pick you up.
As I entered the hotel, I provided the front desk agent with my Hilton HHonors Gold card, and credit card. Although I got my Hilton Gold status through a Visa Signature promo that only required three paid stays, the agent was very welcoming, and told me about the benefits that I would receive at the hotel. To me, the most valuable benefit was the free internet, which normally goes for 15GBP ($23.50) per day. The agent wrapped up by thanking me for my business, and offering her business card, should I need any additional assistance throughout my stay.
My room was located on the fourth floor, and featured a nice view of the Paddington Station roof. Although the view wasn't very pleasing to the eye, the room was very comfortable, and nicely decorated.
This amenity pack was waiting for me when I entered the room. Although small, it was a nice touch, and the cookies were delicious!
extra power outlets!
Unlike most hotels, this room featured fairly high ceilings, which made the room feel a lot bigger than it really was.
mini-bar/tea & coffee
The over-priced mini-bar menu - $6.67 for a coke?!
Take home your very own Paddington Bear!
Although I had to fork over 50,000 Hilton points for this room, I was pleased with the accomodations. The bed was pretty comfortable, and the location couldn't have been better! The only downside to the hotel was the air conditioning system in my room. Despite being set on high, the unit strained to pump out cold air. Other than that small issue, my stay was fairly uneventful. To my knowledge, Hilton Gold doesn't qualify for lounge access, so I ventured into London for some dinner.
Started by a man from Kansas City, and a KU grad if I'm not mistaken, Bodean's offers traditional Kansas City BBQ, and also has satellite hook-up's, which allow them to show live sports games from the US. During my freshman year study abroad trip to London, we spent our last evening in London watching KU compete against Northern Iowa in the 2010 Final Four. Although we lost by two points, the food was delicious, and I have made it a goal to visit Bodean's every time I am in London.
Rock Chalk! ;-)
The following morning, I was able to get some extra sleep, and then walked the fifty feet to the Heathrow Express platform. Another fifteen minute train ride, and I was on my way to the United check-in at T1, to begin my trip to Australia.
Although I'm a Hyatt person, I would certainly consider staying at the Hilton Paddington in the future. The room was clean and comfortable, and the location is unbeatable. If I were to rate the hotel on a scale from 1 to 10, I'd give it an 8. The points required for the room were quite steep, though I wouldn't be surprised if they offered discount rates for booking more than two weeks in advance!