Jul182015

Six nights at The May Fair London for 210,000 Club Carlson points

The appealing aspect of The May Fair London for me is location. The hotel is centrally located near the Royal Parks of The Green Park and Hyde Park, about 15 minutes walk south to Buckingham Palace or north to Selfridge’s on Oxford Street and only about 200 yards from the Green Park Underground on the Piccadilly Line with direct service to London Heathrow.

May Fair exterior

Guest arriving at The May Fair London in a brilliant green Lamborghini

Best of all for me is the proximity of The May Fair to several grocery stores, including Sainsbury’s across the street and Marks & Spencer next to Green Park Underground, about three minutes walk.

The location met my primary needs with 300 to 350 square feet rooms, large by London hotel standards, and easy access to food and beer at the markets. Loads of HDTV channels with several focused on British history (Yesterday Channel) and reruns of British mystery shows (Midsomer Murders, Inspector Lewis, Vera, A Touch of Frost, Prime Suspect and more) met Kelley’s primary needs for in-room entertainment.

The end of an era for Club Carlson Visa 2-for-1 nights

Last October, when I purchased WOW Air tickets from Boston to Copenhagen, my plan was to spend a couple of weeks touring Scandinavia and staying in Nordic Choice Hotels redeeming Choice Privileges points.

My plans changed once Club Carlson announced the free night on award stays of two or more nights would cease as a Club Carlson Visa card member benefit effective June 1, 2015.

Kelley is deeply interested in London history and British Royals and Club Carlson is a fantastic program for London hotels with 18 properties. The May Fair is their flagship property for London.

We stayed at The May Fair for two nights in November 2014 and it was by far our largest and quietest room in London during that trip.

May Fair lobby

The May Fair lobby late at night

Club Carlson London Exchange Rates:

210,000 points = £2,230 = $3,480 for six nights at The May Fair Hotel

Hotel rates in London are astronomical for high end properties. I booked three 2-night award stays in early May at The May Fair Hotel London for our July trip.

May Fair July6-8 rates

The May Fair Hotel stay #1 lowest rate was £410 per night when I booked our first award stay on Monday and Tuesday nights July 6-7. At an exchange rate of £1 = $1.56, the nightly rate was $640 USD.

We stayed at the InterContinental Park Lane on Wednesday night using one free night from fall 2014 Into the Nights promotion. The advance purchase lowest rate for that hotel night at time of booking was £382 per night = $596 USD. We were upgraded from an interior courtyard room with no view to an exterior room with a view of the Four Seasons hotel. 

Loyalty TravelerInto the ‘Free’ Nights at InterContinental London Park Lane

The May Fair stay #2 for Thursday and Friday nights July 9-10 had a lower published room rate of £375 per night = $585 USD.  I made sure to break each Club Carlson 2-night award stay using points with one night at another hotel, so there would be no issue with one free night on each Club Carlson stay at The May Fair.

Saturday night, July 12, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Camden Lock using 35,000 IHG Rewards Club points. Kelley loved the hotel location in Camden ‘party’ Town area of London. She says she wants to stay there again when we return to London.

Loyalty TravelerRock history and a view at Holiday Inn London Camden Lock

There was a substantial rate drop for The May Fair to £330 per night =  $515 USD for our third stay booked on points for Sunday and Monday nights July 12-13.

All together, six nights at The May Fair cost us 210,000 points for this Club Carlson category 7 hotel with lowest published room rates at $3,480 USD for a redemption value of $16.57 per 1,000 Club Carlson points.

Check-In at The May Fair London

Really, the only thing to share about check-in is the drink coupons provided for one free drink for each night of our stay.

May Fair Bar

May Fair Bar

Those six drink coupons could have had more than $100 in value in free cocktails at May Fair Bar. We had intentions each day to go have drinks at the bar, but we never made it during any of our six nights at the hotel.

Honestly, we were content to watch Wimbledon tennis, Tour de France and British mystery and history shows in our hotel room with big bottles of cold Stella Artois and Indian food meals purchased from Sainsbury’s across the street from the hotel. We toured London during the day and used our May Fair hotel room like a residence most evenings.

Room Stay #1: Deluxe Room 855 on Eighth floor, interior view

Three days walking miles and miles over cobblestones in Copenhagen tore up Kelley’s feet with blisters and fried our brains, when daytime temperatures were in the 90s during a blistering European continental heat wave. London had hit the high 90s too.

I only took one photo of our first hotel room at The May Fair, where we were upgraded to a Deluxe room.

May Fair room1

The closet door was not level and would slide open. This room was the only room we stayed in with hardwood floors. Room size was about 33 sqm or 355 sq. ft.  The May Fair rooms are fairly basic with the bathrooms being the main area of distinction.

The InterContnental Park Lane had much nicer furnishings and felt like a luxury hotel room. Our room at InterContinental Park Lane was only about 275 sq. ft.

The May Fair bathroom was large with a tub and separate shower and two sinks. Most notable about the room was a stair down into the bathroom. I worried one of us would forget about the step and trip face down on the hard marble floor in the middle of the night. My suggestion for the hotel would be to install a little night light by the bathroom step.

We did not trip and fall during our stay.

Room 855 had three windows and no view, except for other room windows. We were in a corner of the hotel, so the adjacent corner room windows were only a couple feet away.

Last November we stayed in an exterior view 8th floor room.

May Fair exterior view

The May Fair view of Lansdowne House.

Lansdowne House was built as a private residence in the 1760s near Berkeley Square. Lansdowne House was the residence of several British Prime Ministers and owned for a time (1921-29) by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the American founder of Selfridge’s retail store in London. The building now houses Lansdowne Club, established in 1935 as a ‘social, residential and athletic Club for members of social standing’ and their families.

Loyalty Traveler – Ritzy enough for The May Fair London (Dec 4, 2014)

Room #2 Deluxe Room 355, interior view

Our second stay took us down several floors to an interior view 3rd floor room in the exact same corner as the previous room. This time I took room photos.

May Fair 355-bed

Room 355 compared to room 855 was like one of those spot the differences puzzles.

  1. Room 855 did not have large headboard.
  2. Room 855 did not have carpet.
  3. Room 855 had a different bed lamp style.
  4. Room 355 had two steps down into the bathroom and still no night light to illuminate the steps in the dark.

May Fair room 355 tv

The May Fair Room 355 TV and electronic mini-bar cabinet with coffee maker. Not a fancy Keurig or Illy coffee maker, but rather a noisy heated water kind of coffee maker with freeze dried coffee packets. Kelley said she hated the noisy water kettle. There were two bags of candy as a welcome amenity gift. They were some chewy jelly bean type candy and not something I ate. I’m a chocolate guy.

May Fair 355 table

The May Fair Room 355 difference #5 is one window compared to three windows in 855. Windows opened for fresh air.

May Fair 355 sinks

Bathroom products were Gilchrist & Soames in large containers.

The bathroom had a full-size tub and walk in shower without a door. Amazingly, in four nights I never photographed the deluxe room showers or tubs.

bathroom stairs

I did photograph the two bathroom steps of room 355.

May Fair 355 room view

The May Fair room #355 view

Of note is Kelley thought the exterior room at InterContinental Park Lane was very noisy in the morning when delivery trucks service the hotels. Basically, interior courtyard rooms trade lack of view for quieter rooms. If this had been our first time in London, I’d probably have been very depressed with the room views. I learned from our previous stays that truck and vehicle noise can ruin a night’s sleep. I did not mind the trade-off of lack of views for quiet room nights.

Our stay at Holiday Inn Camden Lock gave us a terrific view and the loudest hotel room noise of our two week trip.

Camden lock crowd

Camden Lock on a warm Saturday afternoon.

The May Fair Hotel Interior Spaces

Even though I stay frequently in hotels, I generally do not enjoy the public spaces of many luxury hotels. I have stayed at The May Fair a total of eight nights in the past year, but I never felt comfortable about taking hotel photos in the public spaces. There are just too many suits around the place.

I walked up the stairs from the lobby with my camera one time when the three small elevators were taking too long.

May Fair Floor 1

The first floor of The May Fair had some seating, the Business Center and a reception space under a clear courtyard ceiling.

May Fair Mezzanine   Mezzanine ceiling

The view of the May Fair through the clear mezzanine ceiling shows the three windows of the 8th floor interior facing rooms. That might be room 855 in the right corner of the photo.

The May Fair Superior Room 219 Blu Dungeon View

We joked upon our return for the third May Fair Hotel stay that we would either have a bathroom with three steps or a basement room. Actually, there were no steps in the bathroom. Our room downgrade was to a superior room with a combination shower/bath and a single sink. The room was smaller at about 300 sq. ft. and at the end of the hall. The advantage of the second floor room was the option to walk the stairs rather than waiting for one of the three elevators to the lobby.

May Fair room 219 bed   May Fair room 219-2

The South Wall of Room 219.

May Fair 219 bed   May Fair 219 tub-shower

The bathroom had only one sink in our superior room.

may Fair 219 sink

Of course the distinguishing room feature was the view.

May Fair 219 view

We had been relegated to The May Fair dungeon in Room 219 at the end of the hall. Accentuating the positive, our thoughts turned to the fact that we would be the first guests out of the hotel with fire escape stairs, both outside the room door and the room windows.

May Fair dungeon   May Fair Blu Dungeon

The May Fair Room 219 Blu Dungeon View at night.

Glad we did not pay £330 per night for room 219.

Seriously though, the hotel location met our objective. After our first night at The May Fair we walked 15 minutes over to Hyde Park for the 7 July Memorial Commemoration, where we saw Prince William.

Prince William-2

Prince William seated at the 7 July bombings ten year commemoration.

Loyalty TravelerLondon 7 July Memorial Hyde Park Ten Years After (July 7, 2015)

On our second stay at The May Fair, we walked out of the hotel to Green Park with our destination being the Royal Mews to see horses at Buckingham Palace. We saw crowds heading to Buckingham Palace. Unknown to us at the time was the morning included a balcony presentation of Queen Elizabeth and several royals for the Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary flypass.

QE2 on Battle of Britain Commemoration

Queen Elizabeth II waving from balcony of Buckingham Palace July 10, 2015.

Loyalty TravelerSo much owed by so many to so few, London 75th Anniversary Commemoration of Battle of Britain (July 10, 2015).

The May Fair Hotel was all about location for us. If not for our hotel stays at The May Fair, we would have probably missed these Royal sightings.

210,000 Club Carlson points for six nights at The May Fair in London and photo opportunities of Prince William and Queen Elizabeth II provided once in a lifetime moments for this trip to London.

That redemption value was priceless for Kelley who had the London trip of her dreams.

Scandinavia Next Summer

In my opinion, Choice Privileges points offer better value than Club Carlson points for Scandinavia. So I changed our trip from a focus on Norway and Sweden to Copenhagen and London this summer with four nights at Radisson Blu Royal Copenhagen and six nights at The May Fair in my purge of 310,000 Club Carlson points using the 2-for-1 Club Carlson Visa card member benefit. Our plans include travel to Amsterdam and Stockholm in 2016 with another 8 nights booked at Club Carlson hotels for 200,000 points.

Thanks Club Carlson for the London memories.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. I booked 3 consecutive 2 night stays for next Spring, my acct, then my wife’s acct, then mine. We’ve done this before at other Radissons without incident. Saw that you broke up your stays with a single night somewhere else. Have you heard of trouble doing it the way I did at the May Fair? We booked the 105k rooms.

  2. Does the Mayfair hotel now have A/C in the rooms? We spent a miserable couple of summer nights at the hotel some years ago,and were finally given a fan, which didn’t appreciably improve things. Vowed never again…..

  3. @SST – Mayfair AC worked fine and it was in low 90s (33C) during our first stay. Kelley has to have a cool room. We had no problem with AC at The May Fair London.

    We had good AC at all our hotel rooms, except it was too warm during our first stay at Radisson Blu Royal Copenhagen, if curtains were open. That room got a full 12-14 hours of direct sun (facing east) and it was in low 90s outside. Our second stay at Radisson Blu Royal on other side of hotel was better with less direct sun in the day.

  4. Club Carlson promotions in 2011-12 offered 50,000 points for one night in Radisson, 44,000 points for one night in Country Inn, 44,000 points for one night in Park Inn. My wife and I did those offers. These promotions were offered twice.

    Paid for two nights in Berlin in 2013 on Gold member 2-for-1 rate. Status matched to Club Carlson Gold for free. Perhaps $150 in spend and redeemed 100,000 points for Oslo and London.

    In 2014 signed up for Club Carlson Visa card and earned 85,000? enrollment bonus points.

    In 2015 earned around 100,000 regular and bonus points for about $500 in paid hotel stays with a couple of 30,000 point bonuses for 3-night stays.

    There were more good offers from Club Carlson.

    All-in, I probably spent about $1,200 over the last four years for about 15 hotel nights and earned about 500,000 points. My wife earned around 200,000 points from four hotel nights and we transferred those points to my account. I earned around 150,000 points from Club Carlson credit card.

    I have stayed in more Radisson Blu hotels on free nights than I stayed at Club Carlson hotels on paid nights over past four years.

  5. Thanks for the info, I missed those 2011-12 promotions, but it is always interesting how others gather their points.

    btw, I appreciate the great tip using points on Clarion Collection in Norway, I am just back from a 11-day trip, 7 nights in Clarion Collection, in Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim. Also I spend four nights in Tromso, above the Arctic Circle, definitely worth the trip.

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