London is back and why you need to book now for 2022
In a typical year (remember those?) January is the busiest month for travel planning. Families get together over the holidays, talk about where they want to go and begin firming up plans for the next year. But if you’re waiting until January to start planning your 2022 spring break or summer vacation, you might very well find yourself out of luck.
Demand is high, and because space is limited, prices are going to go up. This is especially true for popular spring break destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean and summer vacation spots such as Italy and France. We know how badly you could use a trip. The problem is, so could everyone else, too! Let’s start working on your plans as soon as possible so you don’t get stuck at home again.
One great destination that is back and ready to welcome you is London. Largay Travel advisor Cliff Morgan was among a group of Virtuoso advisors that visited the British capital recently, hosted by bespoke touring company NoteWorthy and the city’s finest hotels.
The process for fulfilling the UK’s COVID requirements as quickly and easily as possible begins as soon as you step off the plane at Heathrow. Americans need to not only have a negative test taken within three days before travel but also one on or before their second day in the UK. This test needs to be booked before you arrive, and you can reserve a spot at a clinic right there in the airport to take it as soon as you land.
“The lab is right there at the terminal, and I got my results by email the next day,” Morgan said.
With that hurdle easily cleared, Morgan and the group were free to enjoy the best of what London has to offer (masks are required on public transportation in London, but elsewhere fully vaccinated visitors may go without). This included a private audience with Prince Edward and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Churchill War Rooms.
“I even got to sit behind the desk Winston Churchill sat at,” Morgan said.
The group also got to feed cavalry horses, have a special viewing of the Changing of the Guard with Guards Museum curator Andrew Wallis, see Princess Diana’s dresses on display a Kensington Palace and a street art class inspired by Banksy, all things your travel advisor can arrange for your trip.
The hotels were resplendent in their finery as well, with The Savoy showing off its new Royal Suite by Gucci, exquisitely appointed by the designer. Founder Guccio Gucci worked as a luggage porter at The Savoy in his youth, and a century later the fashion house he founded has made its mark on the venerable hotel. Just before lockdown, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park debuted a renovation that guests may now freely enjoy, along with a view of the guards and stables across the park. The newly renovated Claridge’s showed off its makeover.
“The rooms look brand new,” Morgan said.
After a long lockdown, so does London.