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Planning for Europe Part 3: London Hotels – IHG Stay 2 Nights for Price of 1

Part three of Europe Vacation Planning is a look at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) properties around London for April 10-18, 2009 room rate deals. Hotel search strategies I am using to find low cost, upscale hotel lodging for London is applicable to much of Europe.

European Vacation Travel Planning Part 1 is an example of the low airfare deals to Europe currently available in this tough economic climate.  Europe is cheap right now.

London Calling, but can I afford the charges? Europe Travel Planning Part 2 is about finding a hotel with Starwood Preferred Guest hotel options. Starwood options are upper upscale hotels at a total cost of about $1,500 for 8 paid nights. SPG Cash & Points awards could bring the total cost for 8 nights to $600 and 30,000 Starpoints. 30,000 starpoints in lieu of $900 is a fair exchange, however, paid nights would also earn thousands of Starpoints and receive elite credit to my account. I like to receive at least 3.5 cents per Starpoint redeemed and the Starwood hotels plan using 30,000 points does not achieve that objective.

Part 3 Planning a London Vacation: The IHG Factor in London

There are loads of InterContinental Hotel Group hotels, 60 or so in the greater London area. With a dozen or so properties in the central London tourist area, there are plenty of options to consider.

First, I checked for IHG PointBreaks hotel award for 5,000 points per night.  These are basically $60US room rates if you are around a participating hotel.  You can buy 40,000 points for $460 from Priority Club. There is one participating Holiday Inn at Stevenage, about 13 miles east of Luton Airport, north of London. Stevenage sounds like a nice place to visit for a boring sod like me.  No Pointbreaks properties in London.

Next, I checked www.frequentflyerbonuses.com for Priority Club links and that site showed me a 2 nights for Price of 1 link for Europe hotels.  The promotion states for two night stays through March 31, 2009 and for mostly Friday to Sunday stays, however, over the past two years this “2 nights for the price of 1” offer typically allows mid-week bookings at many hotels and allows bookings for dates past the stated deadline.

I have followed Europe hotel rates through this IHG promotion for the past couple years and this most recent survey of London hotels just has me saying WOW!

Rates are so incredibly low for London hotels.

Per night rate using 2 Nights for Price of 1 booking link for London:






Price (1GBP=$1.43)

Price per Night  in US $ after tax (15%).

Hotel Indigo London Paddington


Standard Room

64.50 GBP




Executive King

77.50 GBP



Crowne Plaza London – The City


Standard Room

52.50 GBP



Deluxe Room

70 GBP




Crowne Plaza Club Room

92.50 GBP




147.50 GBP


Crowne Plaza London-Shoreditch


Standard Room

49.50 GBP


Club (free breakfast)

54.50 GBP


Crowne Plaza London Docklands


Standard Queen

39.50 GBP


King Executive

54.50 GBP


Junior Suite

77.00 GBP




114.50 GBP


Holiday Inn London Mayfair



67.50 GBP





King Executive

82.50 GBP



175 GBP



Holiday Inn London Oxford Circus


Standard Double

55 GBP



Junior Suite

140 GBP



Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park



49.50 GBP



65 GBP



Holiday Inn Kensington Forum


Standard Room

44.5 GBP


Executive Room

54.50 GBP




79.50 GBP



There are actually Holiday Inn Express hotels in the greater London area for under $35 per night using the 2-for-1 reservation link.  Holiday Inn Slough-Windsor has rates at 21GBP.  I’m thinking Ricky Gervais and The Office.

I’ll take a hotel in central London please.  I still remember being 14 in 1974 and commuting an hour each way by train to travel from the campground in north London where our family slept to the city center during our week in and around the city.

From my travel experience, the rule of thumb I developed is get as close to the city center or in the vicinity of places you want to see.  Travel is costing you money and spending your time transiting from the place you sleep to the place you want to see can be a lot of wasted time.

Hotel Recommendations Anyone?

I am not IHG Priority Club elite and aside from the Crowne Plaza St. James where I stayed for my honeymoon in 1989, before it was a Crowne Plaza, I am not familiar with the IHG properties in London.

TripAdvisor was too daunting.  I searched and there are over 1,000 hotels in the database for London.

I quickly moved on to FlyerTalk where I could get the IHG experts’ opinions on the benefits of particular hotels.

Within 30 minutes I found a consensus for the InterContinental as the top choice for London. Crowne Plaza The City seems to be a popular choice.  The main complaint is the closure of the Tube station by the hotel this month for two years means a five to ten minute walk to the next station.

Crowne Plaza-The City has standard rooms for $86 and a Club room for $152 per night. TripAdvisor.com shows the Crowne Plaza-The City as having a $362 average rate. The hotel has an overall four star customer rating with 123 reviews. 80% of the TripAdvisor reviews are at least a 4 and mostly 5 star ratings.

The Holiday Inn Kensington Forum also is a popular choice for one of the best IHG hotels and the 2-for-1 offer has standard rooms for $73 or even a suite for $131 per night. TripAdvisor has 440 reviews for Holiday Inn Kensington Forum and mostly 4 and 5 star ratings, but more 4 star than 5 star.  Average price is listed at $209.

Crowne Plaza Shoreditch at $90 per night including Club lounge access with free breakfast sounds like a great deal. According to FlyerTalk posters this hotel would put me in the clubbing district. There was also the comment the club lounge is closed on weekends and guests receive vouchers for a much better breakfast at the hotel restaurant. That sounds good to me.  Looking for breakfast on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday holidays is not as easy as you might think in a major city like London.

TripAdvisor.com gave Crowne Plaza Shoreditch the highest popularity rating (#71 of 1,169 London hotels) of the three hotels.  Guests have supplied 153 hotel reviews, although the Crowne Plaza-The City has overall higher guest rating. Average price is listed at $205.


IHG can place me in central London for under $100 per night with a choice of hotels.  I can even book a suite at a popular hotel like the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum for $130 per night. A Crowne Plaza Club Room in central London (CP-The City) for $150 per night can easily save $50 a day or more in breakfast, snacks, and drinks for a couple.

My initial budget allows about $900 for my hotel and transportation for the week.  The closer I am to the central London sites, the less I spend on transportation around London. 

The IHG “Stay 2 Nights, Pay 1” special rates allow me to stay in central London hotels for under $600 for eight nights.  Counting on an elite status upgrade with Starwood or Hyatt is not so important when I can just pay for a suite.

Priority Club’s current 3,000 points for 3 nights along with the regular base points earned for $500+ in room spending for IHG stays will add another $100 value to the paid rooms through points received. 

Another advantage of the IHG plan for this April trip to London is my Starwood points can be saved for another vacation destination where there may not be such a good alternative like the IHG 2-nights-for-1 rates.

Note on IHG 2 for 1 London rates: Rates vary depending on the dates selected for two day stays.  I only included a sample of the rates for comparative purposes.  Rates during the April 10-18 period vary by as much as $50 per night or more depending on the dates selected.