Pakistanis Find London Hotel Bargains

The visit to London of the Pakistan President, Asif Ali Zardari, had not gone down well with Pakistanis who feel he should have stayed at home to supervise the flood relief. The London High Commission for Pakistan has caused some derision attempting to defend the President by saying he was being economical and staying at “London’s cheapest 5 Star Hotel”.

We probably would not turn to the Pakistan High Commision for hotel advice in London but, on this occasion, it looks as if they are right and might well have found a good deal.

The Hyatt Churchill in Portman Square certainly fits the profile of a hotel suitable for a head of state, but its prices are notably lower than the obvious competition. Looking at rates for tonight (Monday 9th August) the prices of a standard twin room are:

The Churchill – £235

Carlton Tower – £265

Browns – £305

Intercontinental Park Lane – £340

Dorchester – £346

Hyde Park Hotel – £398

Claridges – £690

London has been so heavily-booked over the last few weeks that even budget hotels have been quoting rates of £100 a night so, whilst £235 might not sound “cheap”, it is actually quite a good deal for a hotel of that standard.

Sale Time in London

London hotels have had a very good 2010 so far with strong demand through the year. The period from the Chelsea Flower Show to the end of July is always particularly good as wealthy tourists flock to London to enjoy the many summer events. August is normally much more mixed as the tourist-type hotels are busy with holiday visitors but higher-level hotels take a dip as businessmen and the better-heeled tourists stay away until September. Normally, August is boosted by an influx of Arab visitors who come to London to avoid the summer heat at home but this year is different.

Ramadan begins next week which means that most Arabs will want to be back home for the whole month. July saw a huge influx of Arab visitors as people rushed to take their summer breaks before Ramadan. London hotels have been almost constantly sold out since May with some very high rates.

Next week, this will suddenly change and we have already seen a large number of special deals for some of the better London hotels. This will trickle down to even budget hotels as some people trade up to take advantage of lower rates at the higher grade hotels. September already looks to be busy again for London so, if you want to grab a quick break in London, August is definitely the time. Shop around carefully because hotels are bringing out new deals on a daily basis.

Four Seasons Hotel in London For Sale – only £9 million

Yes, it is true. The Four Seasons Hotel in London is for sale for just £9 million. This might come as a bit of a surprise since the famous Park Lane hotel is just coming to the end of a massive renovation project and will re-open at the end of the year.

But, apparantly, it is not that Four Seasons Hotel that is up for sale but a rather more modest bed and breakfast hotel in Gloucester Place that, rather usefully, shares the same name.

There are actually quite a lot of “Four Seasons-type” hotels around the world. You will find a number of hotels calling themselves Five Seasons or Three Seasons but I have never seen one use the actual name – maybe the Gloucester Place establishment is older.  One might imagine that the brand managers would be anxious to take advantage of the sale and see if they can buy the name, but not the property.

Anyway, the famous Four Seasons hotels are at www.fourseasons.com and their lesser-known London cousin is at www.4seasonshotel.co.uk

The Savoy – Tempting Fate

The Savoy in London has been undergoing a major refurbishment designed to make it once again one of the world’s great hotels. Inevitably, the work has taken much longer than anticipated but now the hotel, managed by Fairmont and owned by Arab investors, has announced that it will re-open on 10th October.

An iconic hotel and a memorable date – 10th day of the 10th month of 2010.

And, for good measure, bookings will open on 10th August.

We do wonder what came first – the fact that the hotel will be fully ready on 10th October or that it seemed like a good date to hold a party.

Memorable dates can create memorable problems. Boeing decided to unveil their new Dreamliner, the Boeing 787, on the 8th July 2007 (07.08.07 in the American calendar).

Great idea – except that the production of the aircraft has been beset by problems ever since and caused great damage to Boeing’s reputation.

We wish the Savoy well and hope that any bad luck is restricted to ten days, rather than ten weeks or ten months.