Carry the Torch: The 2012 Olympic Games in London
The 2012 Olympic Games are almost here, but there is still time to make plans to travel to London to watch these elite athletes reach for the gold. Travel to London is expected to increase more than 30 percent this summer, and an estimated 17 percent of those travelers are expected to be Americans. Jetset Extra scoured London for the best accommodations so you don’t have to – we’ve found all the best places to eat, stay, and shop while attending the 2012 Olympic Games.
The Dukes St. James London is an elegant boutique hotel on St. James Square in the heart of the city. Live the high life in the Duke of Clarence Penthouse Suite for $3,386 per night, or book a deluxe suite for $1,997 or a junior suite for $1,208 per night.
Volleyball fans will want to book rooms at The Athenaeum, a five-star luxury property in Mayfair across from Green Park, where the Olympic volleyball events will be held.
Mayfair is near Buckingham Palace and just 30 minutes from the Olympic Village. Rooms at The Athenaeum start at $724 per night and apartments and suites start at $1,600.
If you’re looking to save money on a place to stay, check out budgetplaces.com, which lists 450 hotels, hostels, vacation rentals, and bed and breakfasts, including the Mary Rose Inn Hotel, a 16th-century building with 45 rooms starting at $34 per night located in the London Borough of Bromley, just 25 minutes from Buckingham Palace.
Wyndham Vacation Rentals lists vacation rentals in London and the surrounding areas that include apartments and country cottages starting at less than $400 per night. Vacation rentals offer many advantages for the budget-conscious traveler, including kitchens that allow visitors to shop for groceries and cook meals, and laundry facilities that can save money on baggage fees by allowing you to pack lighter. Check out the Last-Minute Deals if your travel plans are down-to-the-wire.
Want to enjoy a spot of tea in the afternoon with a modern twist? Then check out the W’s Rock Tea at the W London – Leicester Square. This delectable tribute to the titans of rock-n-roll is served every day from 1 pm to 4:45 pm. Delicious treats served on tiered trays made from original LPs are named after iconic releases such as Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, London’s Burning by The Clash, the Rolling Stone’s Sticky Fingers, Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion, Jimi Hendrick’s Purple Haze, Cherrybomb by The Runaways and a dessert selection inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way.
If you’re after exotic dishes from around the world, check out Archipelago in Fitzrovia. They serve up crocodile, wildebeest, kangaroo, and a host of other unusual meat dishes along with vegetarian fare. Reservations are essential at this lush dining hotspot festooned with buddhas, palm trees, and giant peacock feathers.
Looking for good, affordable food in a “mood-enhancing” atmosphere? Then look no further than the Little Bay chain of restaurants. With locations in Kilburn, Farringdon, Croydon, and Brighton (the Battersea restaurant is temporarily closed), this eclectic chain offers mouth-watering dishes like crab-stuffed fish fillets, braised pork belly, and chicken breast stuffed with walnuts, peppers, and sun-dried tomato at low prices that are even lower before 7 pm.
If you’re hoping to win the gold medal for shopping, you can’t go wrong with Antiques Diva – they offer customized tours from one to 14 days in England and seven other countries – France, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Holland. Simply tell them what you’re looking for, and they’ll do the rest.
London is famous for its eclectic street markets, where you can find everything from food and flowers and vintage clothing to art, crafts, and antiques. There are more than 90 major street markets across London, so no matter where you’re staying, you’ll find the right street market nearby to locate some prized bargains.
For shopping, dining, and street performers, you can’t go wrong with Covent Garden, which is also the home of the Royal Opera House and the London Transport Museum. Soak up the history of Covent Garden, which dates back to the Roman Empire, or revel in the modern-day enjoyment of street performers, fine dining, shows, special events, and of course, shopping, shopping, and more shopping.