Saturday, January 1, 2011

London, Day 1

It's a new year and I am determined to post a ton on this blog, especially since I actually have a lot to report starting from our trip to Europe back in October :-)  So, dear readers, watch out for a very chatty 2011!

We left for Europe on Wednesday, October 6th and flew American on economy seats.  Mr. J wasn't too thrilled about the idea of a Trans-Atlantic flight in cattle class, but he knew that the cost of business class tickets were not worth it.  So, we left Tampa and had a layover in JFK before landing in London the morning of the 7th.  Jet lag hit us hard this trip for some reason, so we pretty much missed a full day of sight-seeing.  It's all good though because we were able to enjoy our hotel room to the fullest and explore the hotel's neighborhood during the afternoon and evening.

We stayed at Le Meridien Piccadilly, which is located right off the main drag in Piccadilly Circus.  It's the Times Square equivalent in London and it's packed with craziness at night.  The tube is literally steps away from the hotel's front door, which is great.  Double decker bus stops are also nearby as well as the black cabs.  Best part?  Starbucks was two doors down :-P

Fresh off the airplane, I had to take a pic of the black cab we rode from the airport to the hotel.  There are much cheaper ways to travel into London from Heathrow, but I just wanted to get to our destination as quickly as possible so we could drop off our bags.

We were warned that the hotel was being renovated and that some parts might not be available.  Luckily for us, the renovations inside were completely finished and it was only the front that was covered in scaffolds.  If you look hard enough, you can see the Le Meridien sign to the left of Cordings.

Our room seemed to be a fair size for European standards, so we were both pretty happy.  Also, the hotel had evening turn down service and they left yummy chocolate mints on the pillows.   That pretty much made me like the hotel after that. 

The bathroom had a towel warmer that I enjoyed and I loved the Le Meridien bath products.  They smelled so yummy!

Like I said, we were pretty tuckered out for most of the first day.  Mr. J had this great idea of taking pictures with his shoes everywhere we went.  His dad has the same pair and Mr. J named the shoes his "Air IJs."  IJ are his dad's initials and it was pretty hilarious to try and remember to take pictures of the shoes alone.  Here's the first pic, in our hotel room with some British Pounds.  Don't ask me why we thought the currency would make the pic look more interesting.  lol. 

After a super long nap in the hotel, we walked around Piccadilly Circus to try and figure out what was in the neighborhood.  We ate dinner at Cafe Mumbai, an Indian restaurant on Denman Street right off Piccadilly Circus.  
 Images from Cafe Mumbai's website

At the time we entered the restaurant, I didn't think the prices were too outrageous.  However, when we received the bill I was pretty angry considering what we got for our money.  I chalked up the experience as a pretty dumb tourist move since I should have known better than to order from the pre-set menu.  The overall experience in the restaurant wasn't too awful, but I am pretty sure we could have found a better and cheaper Indian restaurant a block or two over.  

With all that said, Mr. J and I ordered the Mumbai Spice Deluxe pre-set menu.  The starter included the tandoori mixed kebab.  I will refrain from repeating what Mr. J called one of the meats :-P

These spices accompanied our entire meal:

The garlic nan was fresh and hot but seriously overpriced:

The main courses were chicken tikka masala and lamb kahari with mix vegetables curry and pilau rice.

The meal was supposed to include desserts and coffee but we passed on both because we were so full in the end.  Sadly, we called it a night pretty early but we more than made up for it during the rest of our short stay in London.


  1. I'm trying to remember ... did you book this trip through Priceline? C and I are desperate for a vacation, but don't want to spend too much.

  2. We used Starwood Hotel points for this trip. I haven't used Priceline for any international trips yet. Have you tried looking at Travelzoo for any deals? I know there should be a bunch for the spring shoulder season. Can't wait to see where you guys go!