LONDON AND PARIS EDUCATIONAL
By Shannon Benson
The A380 is an amazing aircraft, quiet and smooth. QF crew were very friendly and accommodating, found the AF crew a little less helpful however they were still pleasant. Overall the flights booked were good times and excellent connections.
Thistle Kensington Gardens:
Excellent location and well equipped for large groups, however the reception area is rather small to handle more than one arriving at the same time. Having the early check in available was awesome as we all wanted a shower and change before heading out touring.
Rooms are clean and modern, great value for money for people who want to spend the majority of their time out seeing London, proximity to tube is also a plus.
May Fair hotel:
Loved this place, the staff were fabulous and the rooms were quite unique. The whole ambiance of the hotel was relaxed but stylish. For clients who are looking for an up market hotel I would certainly recommend this hotel, I would also recommend anyone going to London to dine at their restaurant, best food I have had, mmmmm yum the lamb was the best. The restaurant staff know the menu very well and are helpful and friendly. I was impressed with the interaction between all the staff in the hotel, they seem to be great friends and that feeling creates a very homely vibe.
Park International hotel:
This is a very charming hotel and excellent value for money. I am glad to have seen this property and now better understand the rooms are all different sizes/layouts due to heritage restrictions. Was impressed at how quiet it was, being on Cromwell Road I thought noise would have been an issue. Also glad that I saw the lower ground rooms with view of street above, need to make clients aware of the view (I don’t see it as a negative but its best they are aware) and also need to advise the lower their room is located the larger it is. Very funky restaurant/bar area.
Great for people who are staying in London for a longer period of time, who like extra space or families/friends travelling together. Having a laundry is also a plus for people who are travelling around UK/Europe and London is at the end of their trip. Staff are very friendly and the apartments are located close to the action but in a quiet street.
Presidential Kensington Gardens:
Kind of had an Ikea feeling, minimal and no charm. The apartments are modern and have all you need but lacked atmosphere. The additional bedding was unusual, they are couches that fold out to a mattress which sits on the floor, ok for kids but I wouldn’t recommend adults travelling together. Wasn’t keen on its location opposite a backpacker with another located up the road.
Think Earl Court Apartments:
Massive Tesco located next door therefore good for people staying a long period of time. Location is a bit out of the way but excellent for people who are visiting the exhibition centre. The apartments are new and bright white but the hall ways are dark with minimal lighting (on purpose, not dodgy lighting!). Apparently they are still working on the property with construction of a gym/pool area on the bottom floor.
Waldorf Trocadero hotel:
Really cute typical Parisian building in a quiet street away from the hustle and bustle. The breakfast room is tiny, you wouldn’t want many people in there at the one time but the décor is really interesting with all sorts of art pieces. Location is pretty good with an easy walk to the Champs Elysees.
Tours / Activities:
Used the Oyster Card for the first time, awesome sums it up, can we please have the tube here!! It was a great idea to have optional tours, for those who had seen Madame Tussauds before they could experience something they hadn’t done before. I personally wasn’t too keen on going to Madame Tussauds however found it to be quite fun. Getting in was horrible though, we were shunted to all different lines, no one seemed to know what was going on.
The London Eye is fantastic, we saw excellent views of the Thames and Parliament and it was very organised.
Most of us decided to go to a show that evening, we sure We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre. What a show!
The Eurostar is the best way to travel between London and Paris, from the centre of London to the centre of Paris without the hassle of lengthy check in times and waiting for luggage. The seats are really comfortable, the food served is nothing special but for such a short trip it is fine.
The first evening we did the Dinner Cruise, Eiffel Tower and Moulin Rouge tour with Cityrama. The driver was very nice and gave clear instructions as to where to meet etc. The cruise was lovely and a great way to see both banks of the city, the food like all mass produced tourist dinners was ok. Having fast track tickets up to the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower was fantastic and there was plenty of time to see the lights/sights, good timing after dinner. By the time we were ready to head off to Moulin Rouge I was ready for bed!! Perhaps my tiredness, the wait in line to get in and the amount of people crammed into the theatre was the reason I didn’t enjoy it. I think the three in one tour is too much, if clients have time I will certainly recommend they do Eiffel and cruise one night and then do the early show at Moulin Rouge another night. Would not recommend Moulin Rouge to people who suffer from claustrophobia.
The Eternal Paris – Essential Ride is the best tour I have done in Paris, the drivers are extremely knowledgeable and take you to all the major sights in Paris. People must be prepared to have their photo taken, we turned into a tourist attraction ourselves! They dropped us at Sacre Coeur and we spent the afternoon wandering through the Montmartre area. Working out the metro was a little more difficult in Paris but after being offered advice for a fee from a generous Parisian we worked it out. For dinner that evening we went to the Latin quarter which is very petty to wander, the restaurant choice wasn’t great but the dessert made up for it, mmmm gelato and wandering Paris, simple but enjoyable!
We missed the guided tour of the Louvre however Saskia organised audio tours which are on individual Nintendo DS systems. This was far better as we were able to explore what we wanted to see. After the Louvre we explored the city on Les Cars Rouges, this is a great way to see the city and take your own time. I have done Le Open Tour before and found that they cover more areas of the city however have more than one route, I found it very easy on Les Cars Rouges as they have just the one route. The afternoon was spent shopping on Champs Elysees and chasing Mariah Carey out of Louis Vuitton, not even a fan but when in Paris!! The paparazzi were amazing zipping in and out of traffic on their scooters.
Saskia bought some champagne and strawberries on the way back to the hotel and we enjoyed a glass in the lounge of the Waldorf Trocadero, it was very nice of the hotel to allow us to do this, we kind of took over!
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