London: Our First 24 Hours

Our inauspicious beginning notwithstanding, we are fully enjoying ourselves, leastways our hotel is wonderful.  Seriously, it is as if somewhere in the EU there is a hospitality college where all the over-achieving students come to the Waldorf Hilton upon graduation.  Perhaps it is our lowered expectations from staying at American hotels, but the staff here is wonderful. We've been Hilton Honors Diamond members for some time now, and I have to note that this hotel has the absolute best Executive Lounge we have had the pleasure of enjoying.  Breakfast, afternoon tea, and canap√©s are substantive and delicious, not the droll, perfunctory foodstuffs we have come to expect, and the drinks--alcoholic and otherwise--are gratis.

A complimentary upgrade took the edge off a rough patch of travel.  More on our travel woes in a minute, first, please have a look at this nice room.
We stayed in more well appointed rooms, but not many, and never a cleaner one.  There are switches for everything: night lights, "do not disturb", an indicator to have the room serviced, and a master switch controlling all the others.

The weather was very nice last night so we went for a stroll and hunted down a "Sunday roast."
In front of our hotel

We grabbed a photo of the hotel and an iconic phone booth and set about exploring the immediate area, known as Covent Garden.  We found a few places with open windows and plenty of patrons; one advertising a Sunday roast prix fixe called Boulevard Brasserie.
Photo of the Boulevard Brasserie's business card
Our reflection in Godfrey's
After dinner we strolled back to the hotel in a leisurely, roundabout way, and stopped in at the hotel's bar Godfrey's to have a nightcap.  Christopher had the Waldorf-tini, a sophisticated take on a classic martini with gold-leaf flakes.  Carly's drink, the eponymous Godfrey's Cobbler, was decidedly more fun, but highlighted something we've noted since we arrived.  The produce here is excellent, and the berries dusted with powdered sugar atop her cocktail were no exception.

And so, we settled into our room happy and expecting the bulk of our luggage to arrive by morning.  Unfortunately, that was not to be the case.

That our large suitcases have not yet arrived is not hugely problematic for today, as we followed the traveler rule of packing enough in your carry-on to get you through a couple of days.  If they do not arrive by tomorrow, things start to get more interesting, and honestly, we do not want to buy any clothing here, if for no other reason than the exchange rate.

London is very expensive; Christopher's cocktail last night was £19 to which one must add: the charged 12.5% "service charge" which is not exactly a gratuity, an exchange rate of roughly 2:1 (double the cost), and about 3% in credit card or ATM fees.  So, that £19 cocktail was in fact about $50.  Needless to say we will be ducking into more humble establishments in the coming days, but you can be sure we will still take pictures.


  1. I absolutely LOVE the pic of the two of you "reflection in Godfrey's" Am enjoying strolling through this whole blog ....can't help smiling along with your comments....what a beautiful trip! - Carol P.S. Your house is doing fine :-)


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