The most satisfying words to hear from your loved ones are, “I am loving this trip.” The totally unexpected reason for why I love The May Fair London is we can live well for less.
The May Fair is the flagship property of London for Club Carlson. The May Fair and Plaza on the River, a residential style hotel, are two London hotels that entered the newly created Category 7 rewards when they were introduced earlier this year at 70,000 points per night. That was a 40% reward rate increase from their former 50,000 points per night.
Mind the Gap and Find the Gap
Getting from Radisson Blu Edwardian to The May Fair on the Underground was a short two stops on the Piccadilly Line from Leicester Square to Green Park. The difficult part was navigating this trip at 6pm in peak travel time. Thousands of people rushing around us through the stations made it difficult to move with our luggage. We squeezed into a train car with three small carry on bags. When we exited the Green Park station outside, we could not walk across the sidewalk for more than a minute as the crowd hurriedly surged into the station entrance, preventing us from even taking a step as we waited for some kind of gap to squeeze through the suits going home from central London.
The May Fair is only a couple minutes walk from the Green Park Underground station. We entered The May Fair lobby and there were guests in front of us waiting to check-in. Kelley looked around at several smartly dressed women and commented, “I am ten years out of fashion.” As for me, well, I have never been in fashion.
There was a table of sweets at reception with candies, gum balls and chocolates beside the reception desk. Even more desirable to me were two glass water containers with fruit slices. We had been in the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery for hours without anything to drink.
London is a travel budget buster
Readers of Loyalty Traveler may know that I traveled two weeks around Norway in September and only spent $25 on food thanks to Choice Hotels Clarion Collection providing complimentary breakfast, afternoon pancakes and a light dinner buffet each night.
Only Club Carlson members holding Concierge membership receive complimentary breakfast at Radisson Blu hotels.
Our first night in London, Kelley said, “All I want to do is find a pub, order fish & chips and drink beer.” There are two pubs within crawling distance of the Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street at the Seven Dials roundabout.
The Crown is directly across the street from the Radisson Blu Mercer Street hotel and The Two Brewers is about 50 meters from the hotel.
There were no tables open at The Crown. We found one table available at The Two Brewers. Three other open tables had ‘Reserved’ signs with ‘JAZZ 7PM’ printed on them. It was 7pm as we sat down at the table. Musical instruments were lying around. I asked Kelley if she really wanted to sit and eat dinner next to a jazz band? She reiterated, “I told you, all I want to do is find a pub, order fish & chips and drink beer.”
Happy wife makes a happy life.
I ordered two pints with fish & chips and told the barkeep to open a tab as we would be hanging out in the pub for the evening.
One of the measures I use for travel budgeting is the cost of beer. In Norway the average cost of a beer was $15 in a bar or restaurant and about $5 per bottle in a store. I pledged to myself not to drink any beer for my two week solo trip in Norway.
In London, the cost of a beer in a pub is 4.00 to 5.50 GBP. That is about $6.50 to $9.00 per beer. The cost of a pub meal is 8 to 13 GBP or $13 to $21. A couple of pints each with pub food quickly adds up to a $70 tab.
Once the music started, we found ourselves in the midst of an Irish expats session with an acoustic guitar player and harmonica player leading a procession of songwriters and vocalists who performed one or two songs each. There were about 25 people in the pub and about ten of them performed at some point or other during three hours of music. The songs were mostly blues, not jazz, with a few rock tunes thrown in, like Sweet Home Alabama. Lynyrd Skynyrd was my first rock concert I attended as a young teenager in Frankfurt, Germany in 1974 when they opened for Queen. I chuckled hearing some different lyrics to the song from the lyrics I have known for 40 years.
Live Well for Less
The unexpected reason I am loving The May Fair London is the hotel is directly across the street from a Sainsbury market. Their market tagline is “Live Well for Less”.
- British Museum – 500ml sparkling water £1.60 ($2.60)
- Sainsbury – 2L sparkling water £0.20 ($0.33)
London Pub – Chicken Curry – £8.99 ($14.58)
Sainsbury – hot chicken masala £3.50 ($5.67)
- London Pub – Two Pints Stella Artois – £8.80 ($14.26)
- Sainsbury – Stella Artois 3 bottles 660 ml – £5.50 ($8.91)
Museums and pub crawl food and drink price = $31.44
Sainsbury market price is $14.91 with 4x more water and almost an extra pint of beer.
This is Kelley’s trip and if she wants to pub crawl around London, that is fine with me. Our days in the museums are free.
Our location at The May Fair London allows me to utilize the Sainsbury for some of our dining and drink needs and help get us back into a desirable travel budget where we can ‘live well for less’.
At check-in I received a coupon for one free drink at the The May Fair Bar. Kelley will get a pub upgrade today at The May Fair.