Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Lodging - London and Greece 2012
Finding lodging for our trip to London and Greece was a royal pain. First night was in Athens. Then to Chania, Crete for three nights. Followed by one night in Heraklion, Crete. Four nights in Santorini. Another night in Athens. Finally, five nights in London… what a nightmare.
Athens – I had some luck using Hotels.com for a European trip in 2011. So I dipped in the well again for Athens. Found a room that could accommodate four, and in the shadows of the Acropolis. The hotel also agreed to hold our warm weather luggage in storage while we traveled the Greek Isles. So we agreed to stay here again at the end of our Greek portion of the trip. BIG MISTAKE!! This property is situated close to the Acropolis but quite a distance from the airport. The ground transportation to and from the airport was expensive, and I paid it twice. Except for the stored luggage, there was no reason to have stayed here again. I would have been best served staying at an airport hotel for my second night.
Chania, Crete – thanks to a wonderful friend whom I met on a Baltic cruise in 2011, I found an amazing VRBO.com vacation rental in Chania, Crete, overlooking its Venetian harbor. It was very comfortable and in an amazing location.
Heraklion, Crete – our lodging plans changed last minute as we had a morning ferry ride in Heraklion, about two hours from Chania. We decided it would be best to stay near the ferry port, instead of driving two hours in the morning. I found a Best Western again on Hotels.com. I did not know until I stayed at this property that Best Western sells their name to properties and not much else.
Santorini – thanks again to my Baltic cruise friend for this find on VRBO.com. The cave house in Oia was an experience. The lodging was not the most comfortable, but the view of the caldera was hard to beat.
London – the easiest lodging to book for this trip. I had just signed up for the Chase Priority Club card, now IHG Rewards. After meeting the spending requirement I received 80K Priority points, which brought my balance over 120K points. The Crowne Plaza – The City was available with the cash and points option at 40K + $40/per night. My wife also had 80K Priority points thanks to the same card. Using the same point and cash option, we booked five nights total. Upon check-in, the front desk agent offered me an upgrade to a Club level room for 50 pound extra/night. That was about $75/night, or $375 total. That’s a lot, but when I was told that I would get a room with more space, wi-fi, access to the club lounge, this was a no-brainer. The club lounge access alone was worth it. Thanks to the club, I did not have to buy any beverages, and their breakfast appetizers were good enough for our breakfast.
The lodging for this trip was a nightmare, but in the end, it all worked out and we had some interesting places in which we slept.