Sheila Gallant-Halloran

Made-to-measure travel; please, go away! :-)

“Best holiday ever”-client returns fr Noteworthy Events tour London

I just received the most wonderful of emails from a client. She’d just returned from a trip to London with her DD5, DD11, and her mom (grandma).  We had a private driver pick them up at Heathrow, drive them to their hotel, and then had a private tour guide arranged for areas of their interest. DD11 is a musical theatre junkie, so we threw in some special things for her, while balancing the energy and interests of her younger sister (a ghost story affecionado) with  mom and grandma (whose interests are of historical bend).

Want to know why I rave about working with our Virtuoso partners (like Noteworthy Events – see  http://www.noteworthyevents.com/index.cfm?asset_id=1446 ) to customize the best vacation for each client? Read this client’s take.

You can’t recapture your vacation time, so your holiday has to be right the first time. Call me to arrange similar memories for your family!

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Hi Sheila,

We had a fabulous time – best holiday ever.  Can’t thank you enough for your help.

The hotel was fantastic (The Haymarket – http://www.haymarkethotel.com/index.php?page_id=8) – very big room and effectively sole use to a large second floor “courtyard” .  Very cool decor.  Extremely convenient location.  Lots of interesting public space within the hotel that we used, including the pool and a library where I read DD5 a bedtime story at night.  Breakfasts were very good.  I’d recommend this to others who want small luxury boutique hotel.

 Our driver was excellent – well informed, friendly and – importantly I guess – a good driver.  As well, he has chauffeured Colin Firth, which made me feel very well-connected 🙂

 Private guide of Churchill War Rooms (http://cwr.iwm.org.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.5797 ) and Imperial War Museum ( http://www.iwm.org.uk/) was excellent – extremely personable, not academic but sufficiently knowledgeable for our purposes.   He has been a professional actor in his life, having played “Rooster” in Annie in London in a production for over a year – so that was a cool coincidence and was a good point of commonality for DD11.

Private tour of Tower of London was excellent – really one of the highlights (I think my favourite). A bit too complex for DD5 and since the fellow was an actual Yeoman of the Guard, so effectively one of the Queen’s soldiers and a retired RAF guy (only appointees are retirees of medal-level distinction), which meant he was very serious about the historical implications of the sight.  As such, while he indeed talked about ghost sightings etc, he didn’t camp them up in a way a five year-old would appreciate. DD11, however, loved it.   Also, he happened to be both the Ravenmaster (which is just weird – they keep 6 ravens at the Tower due to some ancient prophecy made to Charles II) and the layperson/Guard responsible for the church of St. Peter ad vinculus – which is where all the headless bodies are buried.  He took us in there, although it isn’t usually open to the public.  Best part was going down to crypt where Thomas More has actually been afforded a particular grave – one of the few in addition to Henry VIII’s wives.  Once again, no public access to that.  He says they have requests all the time, which are usually denied.  So, your group in London [sic – yeah, Noteworthy] seems very well placed.

 The West End shows were entertaining – Wicked, in particular, had very high production values and we all enjoyed it. http://www.wickedthemusical.co.uk/ 

Only disappointment in booked stuff, which wasn’t a problem but of which you may want to be aware re recommendations to future clients, was tea at Harrods (http://www.harrods.com/visiting/restaurants/georgian-restaurant ).  It wasn’t even close to being as nice as tea at the Chateau Laurier (http://www.fairmont.com/laurier/GuestServices/Restaurants/ZoesLounge.htm ) .  The room was sort of like an inferior version of the Arcadian Court at Simpson’s (now the Bay) in downtown Toronto, if you’ve been there.  If tea is on someone’s itinerary, probably better to pick an upscale hotel such as the Dorchester or Savoy or something.

Filled in the rest of the time with self-booked stuff, which was fine.  If DD5 were older, would have booked more, but figured correctly that I’d need to add in some lighter, more spontaneous stuff.

Had an excellent tour of St. Pauls’ that we just walked into – informative and okay for kids as the guide gave them stuff to look for and the Whispering Gallery in the dome was entertaining.  DD11 was old enough to engage with the history as well.  Shakespeare’s Globe is excellent for any kid who has any contact with/interest in Shakespeare (I had my doubts given that it’s a replica, but it was really quite well done and interesting).  River boat tour is boring, as is London Eye.  Madam Tussaud’s was boring as well, although it’s okay in context of “pop” entertainment as there isn’t much of that in London.

 One neat thing we didn’t do but about which I learned when I was there was that you can go horseback riding in Hyde Park.   DD5’s too little so wouldn’t have done it anyway, but it would be good for older kids.

 In summary, it was a fantastic holiday.  Everyone loved it, including my mom.  We saw the city, got out and around and the accommodations were top notch.  Even though London doesn’t seem like a family vacation destination, I’d highly recommend it if the family is interested even remotely in historical stuff.

See you soon and, again, many thanks (including for last minute medical insurance).

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April 1, 2011 - Posted by | Lush Life Destinations, Lush Life Partners, Lush Life Value - Why Use a Travel Advisor

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