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Old 06-24-2014, 08:33 AM
Location: South Carolina
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Okay I can tell you from personal exp I would choose a hotel closer to convent gardens gets my vote and let everyone else make their own personal choice as to hotels , food , day trips etc ...I can tell you one thing , the first thing I did when I went to London was hit a hotel , rest for a while and then I visited a tea shop and picked up a few teas and went back and made dinner plans for myself and two other people I was traveling with . I had a very enjoyable time because none of us forced the others to join us they could if they wanted too but were not forced too . Good luck and safe travels .
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:07 PM
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Previous poster makes a good point--the first day will be a wash.

It's quite possible that you won't be able to get into hotel rooms until mid afternoon, make sure they are all aware of this and plan accordingly.

We usually spend our first day in any city getting our bearings, dealing with any errands (topping off cell phone, buying forgotten toiletries like toothpaste, etc.), do a little sightseeing that doesn't require reservations, having an early dinner, and getting to sleep around 9:00 pm. That way we can wake up on the right time zone the next morning.
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Old 06-25-2014, 03:58 AM
Location: NW Indiana
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Thanks for the Convent Gardens recommendation. I will definitely look at that area.

I personally push my first day, however I do realize others are not as used to jet lag as I am. I am hoping to get rooms in the same hotel for everyone. This makes logistics and communication a lot easier.

I also am considering paying extra for early check in for one room. If this can be done for a reasonable fee, then it gives the group a base of operations until the rest of the rooms are available.

In any case, my plan was drop off luggage at the hotel, grab a quick lunch and then catch the "hop on, hop off" double decker bus tour of London on the afternoon of the first day. I have done this in London and really enjoyed it. It gives everyone a nice way to get their bearings in London, while not requiring a lot of physical effort. If you start this in the afternoon, then you can still use the bus the next morning, with the "hop on, hop off" feature making it a very effective taxi service the next morning. Also, at least in 2007, the bus deal we purchased included a short river tour.

So, if I get the group into our hotel, drop off luggage and then do the double decker bus tour in the afternoon, that puts us back at the hotel later in the afternoon to check in and rest up a bit. Then I would probably gather everyone for a nice first day dinner. Some of our travelers are "foodies", so picking a good place ahead of time will be a nice treat for the end of our first day in London.

After that some will likely just crash out and rest up, but others will "hit the streets" and see a little of London at night. Potentially, you can still use the bus tour, like a taxi that first evening for those who want to venture a but further away.

Then on to day two!
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:36 AM
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The best way (and only way, really) to be guaranteed a room on arrival is to book it for the night before and alert the hotel that you won't be arriving until early morning. That said, European hotel rooms are quite small, and I don't know that there would be room for 10 people and luggage even standing--that is if the hotel will even allow all to go into the room. They certainly won't give 10--or even five--room keys.

Keep in mind that it's quite possible that it could take over an hour to get through customs and immigration, another 30 minutes to get to either the tube stop or the taxi stand, and then it's give or take an hour ride to your destination given the part of London you are considering. If people are not very able or traveling with more than a small rolling bag, you should plan on taxis. Also keep in mind that your cab would be entering the congestion zone, so the fare would be quite high--higher yet if you manage to get out of the airport before 6:00 am.

I would not count on everyone staying at the same hotel. People will have different budgets and different ways to spend those budgets. Some might want a full service hotel with full amenities including laundry and room service while others will want an inexpensive tourist class hotel with small rooms and no services. The fastest way to get a vacation off to a bad start is to have people unhappy with the accommodations--be it due to lack of amenities or having to spend more than they wanted to.

This is why I suggested that you find two hotels that are very close to each other, one a tourist class hotel and the other a business class or luxury-lite hotel, and put both on offer to people. That said, I'm not sure that you'll find an acceptable tourist class hotel in Convent Garden.
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