London Olympics & Home Exchanges for All Occasions

Two words: London Olympics. Two more: Cheap Hotels. Three more: Apartment Swap Instead. We all know that from July 27th – September 9th, London will be the center of the world while hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. 8 million fans are expected in the mythic stadiums to support 10,000 athletes from 204 nations. But for those who come from abroad, the budget including travel, tickets and accommodation can be a big problem, especially for families. London ain’t cheap! In the meantime, a number of Londoners will take advantage of the Olympics to take a break from the city, leaving empty houses and apartments behind them.

Enter…

HomeExchange.com which allows people wanting to come to different locations around the world to meet and become happy home exchange partners: Londoners plan vacations of a lifetime at no cost, while visitors find real homes in the City during its most demanded time ever. A benefit for both parties. In the past few years, HomeExchange has become a mainstream travel option, now recommended by major insurance companies. The success of the site at the occasion of the coming London games proves that discerning travelers have discovered value that goes well beyond unlimited vacations for less than the cost of a single night in a hotel.

Founded in 1992, HomeExchange.com is recognized as the largest and most respected home exchange agency in the world with now more than 40,000 members in 142 countries. The site started its strategic development in 2005 with the French Trocmaison, followed by 16 more international sites. 60,000 exchanges were achieved in 2010, while 200 new listings join HomeExchange.com every 7 days. Among members, 98 percent declared they were satisfied with their exchange partners. Families are the most represented social group.

www.homeexchange.com

3 month   $15.95 per month

1 year    $9.95 per month

England On My Mind

Coworth Park

There’s nothing quite like a late summer, early fall jaunt to the English motherland.

The leaves are just about to change, the air smells of fresh fire and rain, and everyone starts to pile into the pubs at 6pm. Theater, food, and wine… England isn’t what it used to be.

In fact… it’s better.

And right now, new hotels across England are offering unrivaled luxury from which to explore the country’s most unique attractions with developments including York’s first five-star hotel & spa, Stratford-upon-Avon’s first boutique style hotel and London’s largest hotel opening in a generation.

Significant new openings, situated by some of the country’s most iconic attractions, are set to make the destination even more appealing for visitors looking to enjoy luxurious accommodation while exploring England’s unique history, heritage, culture and countryside. From chic and contemporary urban hotels to sophisticated countryside estates and manor houses featuring imaginative golf courses and spas, properties across England are being created to cater to the most discerning traveler.  New hotel openings include:

The Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa

The Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa: Station Rise, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 6HT, +44 (0)845 409 6430

The Arden Hotel: Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6BA, +44 (0)1789 298682

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London: 200 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7UT, +44 (0)844-415-6780

Coworth Park: London Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7SE, +44 (0)134 487 6600

ABode Chester: Grosvenor Road, Chester, CH1 2DJ, +44 (0)124 434 7000,

Casa Hotel: Lockoford Lane, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S41 7JB, +44 (0)124 627 5302

The Halcyon: 2/3 South Parade, Bath, BA2 4AA, +44 (0) 122 544 4100

Rockliffe Hall: Hurworth-on-Tees, Darlington, County Durham, DL2 2DU, +44 (0)132 572 9999

Heacham Manor Hotel: Hunstanton Road, Heacham, Norfolk, PE31 7JX, +44 (0)148 553 6030

For more information about visiting England: www.VisitEngland.com

Eyes Wide Shutter

We’re always looking out for an eye-catching, artistic good time so when we heard about the InterContinental London Park Lane‘s new unique Insider Experience offering guests an unforgettable photography experience around key London landmarks, we had to check into it.

The EYE Photographic Workshop has been created in collaboration with professional photographer and founder Michael Potter, offering guests of the hotel a one-day photography workshop with a digital SLR camera.

Canon 35mm digital camera equipment will be provided if clients do not have a digital SLR camera with them. The workshop not only gives guests access to London’s iconic sights and landmarks, but allows them to acquire a valuable new skill and a truly local and authentic experience to take back home.  The workshop is for all levels and for those looking for an intimate size class with real hands-on experience.  Be it knowledgeable amateurs or snap-happy novices, the workshops are tailored to all abilities and offer an unforgettable hotel stay in one of the world’s most famous cities.  Guests enjoying the experience will be offered the choice of four different packages:

Old and New

Contrasts the new buildings with the old, juxtaposing the historic aspects of London with the city’s modern pace of life.

Pro Studio Fashion Shoots

Guests learn how to shoot fashion on a model both in Shepherd’s Bush Market and at a studio.

Wildlife in Richmond Park

Guests learn the techniques of stalking and photographing birds, large game and the landscape of the park.

Petersham or Clifton Nurseries

An opportunity for guests to visit the greenhouses and plants exhibited at the nurseries and photograph the setting and local environment.

The photography experience kicks off with introductions and coffee in the Club InterContinental of InterContinental London Park Lane. After a brief on camera operation and basic digital photography techniques, it is onward-bound with a professional tutor for a day of shooting.  During a working lunch in the city, guests take an opportunity to review their own shots before spending the afternoon with individual photography tasks.  The day finally comes to a close back at the hotel where participants have the opportunity to edit their collective shots and compile their own slideshow on a DVD.

Prices start from approximately US $1,548 for two people (plus VAT) including one night’s accommodation at the prestigious InterContinental London Park Lane and a one-day tailored workshop for two with EYE Photography.

For reservations or additional information on unique Insider Experiences at InterContinental London Park Lane:

http://www.london.intercontinental.com or call 888 424 6835.

Design Hotels – Christmas Travel Deal

We think there’s nothing quite like a hotel that can make you feel like you’ve stepped into a cleaner, better, sexier world; a world with great lighting where your wrinkles disappear and attractive majordomos cater to your otherworldly whims.

Whether that means an extraterrestrial haven created by Renzo Piano or Delphine Buhro and Michael Dreher’s Frankfurt den, the 25Hours Hotel (seen here). With that in mind, we’re always keen on sniffing out what the Design Hotels™ group is doing.

Design Hotels™, a group of chic design-oriented hotels from across Europe, Asia, and the Americas, offer just about everything for the design aficionado, the swanky lover of all things cutting-edge, hip, and sleek when it comes to modern hospitality design. So, for those longing for some style and festivity this holiday season, they’ve decided to fill our special Jaunt Magazine readers in on a little christmas travel deal not to be missed.

Check this out, but you better act fast!

This year, Design Hotels™ will be releasing its first annual gift guide to give away fantastic prizes worth up to €2,000/$2,991 each!

From December 1 to the 24th, visitors to Design Hotel’s website (www.designhotels.com) will not only receive a special holiday recommendation – from a themed weekend break to a Thai island-hopping adventure – but they can register to win free nights, designer bags, complimentary meals, and more.

A sneak preview of some of the prizes include:

A three-night stay in a pool villa at X2 KuiBuri, a seaside resort in Thailand, including a round-trip transfer to and from Bangkok airport

A two-night stay including breakfast in a suite at The Hotel – Lucerne, designed by French star architect Jean Nouvel

A €100/$200 voucher to spend on food and beverage at Sanctum Soho, London’s coolest Rock’n’ Roll hotel

Limited edition Raf Simons for Eastpak bags.

To join in the festive fun, participants only need to register their name and email address on http://www.designhotels.com/happyholidays and each morning from December 1-24th, 2009, a new calendar window will be opened to reveal an insider tip and prize.

Guests can then register within 24 hours to be eligible to win the gift shown. The winner will be chosen at random the following day and notified by email.

For the prize draw on December 1st, users can register from November 23rd onwards.

In addition, the Rock’n’Roll-inspired London-based Sanctum Soho is running it another brilliant (as those charming Brits would say) Christmas package. Fans and visitors of the Sanctum Soho include the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Joss Stone, Prince Harry, Natalie Imbruglia, and yes… your favorite tit trawler, Katie Price.

The Xmas at Sanctum Soho package includes:

A 3-night stay (Dec. 24, 25 and 26) with complimentary breakfast
Christmas Eve Dinner
Christmas Day Lunch
Boxing Day Brunch (“Boxing Day” is the day after Christmas)

Rates start at $815 per person, based on double occupancy.

For reservations: www.designhotel.com/sanctumsoho

Sleep It Off: London

Whether you’re sleeping off a good shag or still pissed from those drinks on the plane, here are a few select spots to rest your weary head. We’ve handpicked a small group of properties that fall into the following categories: quaint little gem in a hip part of town that won’t break the bank and sweet digs worth the splurge because, well…
you only live once.

Portobello Hotel
Notting Hill, baby. In a converted neo-classical mansion, you’ll nuzzle your lovey and feel like the King’s top courtesan. Remember, you’re playing in pounds so even luxe moderately priced digs like this will make a small dent. They also offer a hotel apartment rooms for those wishing to live like a Queen just a little longer.

From £142-£310
http://www.portobello-hotel.co.uk

The Main House
This one you’re really gonna thank me for… each suite occupies an entire floor in this home away from home that starts at an amazingly low £50/night. Private bathrooms and wireless internet, a complimentary newspaper with morning coffee or tea is brought to the room or enjoyed on the balcony. Too good to be true? The Main House is also just a minute from the famous Portobello Road, antique markets, designer shops and art galleries. Man, it sure is good to know smart travelers.
http://www.themainhouse.co.uk

Blue Bells
Also known as Number 14 or 14 Pembridge Square. Ideally located in the heart of Notting Hill in Kensington, this place is just flat-out pretty. An 18th Century Victorian building situated in a quiet residential square makes you feel like you live here. At £55-£125/night it’s another sweet steal that might make you want to bake me a fluffy cake or buy me a really nice bottle of wine. (Du Vin on San Vicente has a Viognier with my name on it… winky wink)

http://www.bluebellshotel.com

#5 Cavendish Square
It’s a sophisticated club, a restaurant, and a boutique hotel. Take a Whiskey Bar with dark mahogany wood, plush leather seating, a restaurant with dark red walls, and a menu that features homemade pastas and brilliant wines, this former Spanish Embassy turned exclusive nightclub, restaurant and hotel even boasts a rooftop terrace.

http://www.no5ltd.com

Base2stay
Contemporary chic budget accommodations, it’s all about Base2stay. The rooms are small, but absolutely clean and crisp, you’ll thank me for introducing you to a place that’s a steal at £89/night.


http://www.base2stay.com

Sloane Square Hotel
Located in Chelsea aka. central London, this hotel was suggested from a friend of a friend of a friend on asmallworld. Thanks, random friend of a friend. Modern, beautifully designed rooms with Philippe Starck basins and blackout drapes, you’re just a quick jaunt to Tiffany’s, Gucci and everyone’s favourite London landmark… Harrods!
From £140/night

http://www.sloanesquarehotel.co.uk

These properties say chic like no one’s business.

St Martins Lane Hotel
Part of the Morgan’s Hotel Group that also operate the Delano, Mondrian, and Sanderson (see below), this 5 star Covent Garden hotel says ‘dazzling’ with it’s interactive light displays, Asia de Cuba restaurant, and Philippe Starck sex appeal. Atmospheric lighting throughout the hotel and in the rooms shift from pink to orange to green. In the Light Bar, Raspassion Martinis and Elderflower Collins are sipped alongside giant black and white photographs of different people making funny expressions. If you’ve got the dough, flaunt it here. Starts at around £245 so better enjoy yourself, sweetcheeks.

http://www.stmartinslane.com

Sanderson
With a similarly swank vibe to St. Martins Hotel, in the heart of the West End is The Sanderson. Their Purple Bar is like no place you’ve ever seen… or been. With a Dali-esque twist, at some 80-feet in length, their glowing onyx Long Bar is another spot to thank yourself for a life well led. Expect to see beautiful people and men with style.


http://www.sandersonlondon.com

SoHo Hotel
Average price £320. Average accommodations? No siree. Ultra fabulous. Entirely cool. This is considered by many as the #1 hotel in London for luxury, service, and design. The Tatler calls it the ‘Most Glamorous Hotel in the World.’ We call it posh and extravagant. Along with the Charlotte Street Hotel, Covent Garden Hotel, The Metropolitan and Number 16, this is a member of Design Hotels.

http://www.firmdale.com

The Berkeley
I love Maybourne Hotels. They’re classic, luxurious, and have the finest staff in the world… right up there with the Ritz. You can’t really go wrong with any of them. Claridges is world famous among nobility and The Berkeley world famous among discrete celebs (psstt… Madonna loves The Blue Bar).


What is The Blue Bar? you ask. Think a more refined Purple Bar. One also mustn’t miss their Fashionista Pret-a-Portea experience.

Starts at around £349 so you do the math.

http://www.the-berkeley.co.uk

Now where were we? Oh yeah… you were ready to book your Virgin Atlantic flight, find a good shag and get pissed on the plane.

Toodles.
— LR