Happy Wednesday to all of our travel friends, both near and far! Here are some articles we’ve read from other bloggers (and other sources) that we think you may like, as well, so we’re passing them along.
The area around Kings Cross and St. Pancras Stations used to be a rough one. People didn’t generally go too far away from the station.
But by the late 20th Century, the area known as the railway lands had become a series of disused buildings, railway sidings, warehouses and contaminated land.
Things started to change when the Eurostar station was moved to St. Pancras. The landowners decided to redevelop the area starting in 2008. Things have changed and the area is undergoing a serious urban renewal, let by the development of the Pancras Square area and its headline tenant, Google.
All of those new employees need places to eat after work and there’s no shortage of brand new establishments popping up to serve that need, each one trying to be more trendy, hip, elegant yet comfortably casual than the next. As I read it described online, it’s like Silicon Valley, but with more British accents.
If you’re staying in the area, this is great because there’s no shortage of places to go to dinner. Well, if you can get a table, that is.
With the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program, you get to choose from a list of gifts when you hit 50 qualifying nights, which is also the point where you earn Platinum status. We’ve never “earned” status before (and most likely never will again). so I was overly excited when I logged into Sharon’s Marriott account and was able to choose our gift.
Here are the gifts we were able to pick from:
- Five Suite Night Awards™
- Give the gift of Silver Elite status
- 40% off your favorite mattress
- Five Elite Night Credits
- A $100 charity donation
I already knew which one I was choosing – the five Suite Night Awards. They showed up in the account immediately.
Now what to do with them…
For our flight home from London, we booked a non-stop on Virgin Atlantic from Gatwick Airport to Orlando. After taking the Thameslink train from St. Pancras station, we arrived at the Gatwick South Terminal. Since we were departing from the North Terminal, we had to take the train between the two terminals, which only took a few extra minutes.
After checking in at the Virgin Atlantic Premium class desk, we went through security and entered the main North terminal area. I did a quick search and found that with Priority Pass we had access to three lounges in the Gatwick North Terminal. The No1 Lounge looked nice so we headed there. Since all the lounges are in the same area, we could have left and headed to a different one if it wasn’t nice or if it was full. We arrived at the lounge at 11:15 AM and our flight was leaving at 1PM so we wouldn’t have a ton of time to sit around anyway.
For our trip to London, choosing a hotel was one of the easiest things I had to do. Knowing that we were staying for five nights, I immediately started to think about hotels where I could get a free night. The Citi Prestige gives the fourth night free on paid stays but I didn’t want to pay for a hotel this trip. Hilton offers the fifth night free on award stays for anyone with Silver status and above, but I didn’t have enough Hilton points for a long stay in London. If you have the IHG Premier credit card, you get the fourth night free on award stays but we still have the older Select version of the IHG card so that wasn’t an option either.
The other program that offers a fifth night free on award stays is Marriott Bonvoy. We had plenty of Marriott points and I’m trying to burn them in a smart way before the first points devaluation (already past) and the future implementation of Off Peak and Peak pricing.
Once I narrowed my focus to Marriott, there was one hotel on our list of places we really wanted to stay.