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Archive for April, 2011

Sauna experience in the room at Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes London Apr 26

We stayed at Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes during Easter of 2011 (from April 19th to April 24th) and I booked it online. We were a bit in a hurry when checking out so I totally forgot to take photos of the room – what an amateur. Anyway, we found the hotel without any problems (after all we use Google StreetView for what it is worth) but entering the hotel is a bit weird – you enter right into a small desk and a bar and I was a bit confused at first. But then I looked further into the room and noticed the check in desk was further in. Check in was fast and we were assigned to room 310 – there is just one small lift that can be slow but at least you don’t have to carry the suitcase to the room. I normally just used the stairs when coming down as I didn’t want to wait around for the lift but note that the stairs are a bit steep and narrow.

The room we got was a pretty decent size compared to other London hotels we have stayed at. The walls were painted in light yellow and there were light wooden floors. All in all the room looked pretty new and fresh so first impression was very good. The king-size bed was not too bad but it was a bit “springy” but at least soft enough for me – it only had one duvet but that didn’t turn out to be a problem – I’ll get back to that later on.

In the room there was a flat screen TV, there was a minibar that we didn’t use, a desk and chair – the desk had lots of plugs for charging our phones and stuff and we actually didn’t need to use the converter as one of the sockets fit to our Norwegian plugs. We had a window to Baker street and there was a bit of noise from the street but it was not a huge problem. There was enough light in the room but it was a bit weird that the switch to turn on my reading light over the bed was located at the other side of the bed – and vice versa. I think they must have done a mistake with the wiring ;-)

The wardrobe contained a few hangers but it was a bit on the small side for the two of us as it also contained the ironing board/iron and a safe. But it was at least great that there was an iron in the first place. I like the fact that the floors are wooden compared to carpets but it also introduce a few other challenges – our floor seemed to make a bit of squeaking noises when we walked around in the room. There were also some squeaking noises from our desk when the people in the room next door were walking around.

The bathroom was quite stylish – a bit on the small side but with tiles on floor and walls and with a proper shower corner that avoided splashing and good towels. The shower pressure was very unpredictable – one second I was blasted with great water pressure and the next there were hardly any water – I guess that happens when many take a shower at the same time? The amenities was limited to shampoo, shower gel, lotion and shower cap but the shampoo and soap was not bad at all. One thing that was a bit unorthodox was the door between the room and the bathroom – it is a glass sliding door. It is more or less frosted but it doesn’t provide 100% privacy.

The hotel had a pretty good internet policy – you could get an internet connection for free via wi-fi but it was a slow line or you could pay for it to get a better connection. Not a bad solution in my opinion. There are also a couple of PC’s located in the lobby area near the elevator and it seems like the user there was free of charge.

The location of the hotel is quite good – located on Baker Street it is only a couple of minutes away from the Baker Street tube station and this station has a couple of good subway lines to get around London (see location in this Google map). It is also possible to walk to Oxford Street in like 10 minutes. There are lots of places to eat in the area – we did not have breakfast included in the hotel but we could get breakfast at places like Eat, Starbucks, Pret a Manger, Canteen etc.

But I also have to mention things that were not that great. The room was quite warm when we checked in but I adjusted the air-con to 15 degrees as I thought that would solve the problem – but at night we woke up and we were soaking wet and the air-con did not seem to have any effect to the temperature at all. Some friends of ours also stayed in the hotel and they had the same problem and on Gowalla I saw a comment about the same thing (and that comment was given in the middle of winter). So in the end we have to turn off the air-con and open the window but that resulted in a bit of noise from the street. I see this is a problem noted several times in other TripAdvisor reviews and the hotel has an explanation but it doesn’t really matter – if you have an air-con you expected to work not to turn the room into a sauna.

The squeaking noise that I have mentioned already was also a bit annoying.

Conclusion
All in all this is a pretty decent hotel and the room looked quite new and fresh. The location is also quite good and it is easy to get around from here. But I’m not sure I would stay there again – the sauna experience in the room combined with the fact that it was kinda pricey for a room with no breakfast. Note that the frosted bathroom door can be a bit of a problem if you want some privacy from your fellow roommate. But kudos to General Manager Pascale Fioretti for taking the time to give feedback on reviews posted on TripAdvisor.

I paid 710 GBP for 5 nights (including taxes but excluding breakfast) – that is about 235 USD per night. You can read more about the hotel on the hotel website.

The London trip report will be posted later on on http://gardkarlsen.com Winking smile

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Free wi-fi on Norwegian airports Apr 10

wifi-iconGood news people – according to Norwegian newspapers, Avinor will introduce free wi-fi on Norwegian airports very soon. The rumor says that the free wi-fi will be available already in May/June 2011 on the larger airports in Norway.  I was just at Geneva airport and I was happy and surprised to see that they had a free wi-fi network and hopefully the setup will be as easy on the Norwegian airports as well. But I guess time will tell ;-)

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British Midland opens London-Stavanger route Apr 02

Another airline will start operating on the London-Stavanger route. This time it is British Midland (BMI)that opens a new route from Heathrow to Stavanger airport at Sola and according to their press release you can get an economy ticket from 120£ for a return ticket. Flights started on April 1st 2011 and it looks like it will be daily flights. BMI is also a member of the StarAlliance.

At the moment there are also routes from Stavanger to London being served by SAS (to Heathrow) and Norwegian (Gatwick). At least this is making it even simpler for Londoners to come over to see our fjords (e.g. the Pulpit rock) and it makes it even simpler for Stavanger people to go shopping in London Smile. You can find some information about British Midland’s flights to Norway on this page.

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