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Well, how about that. Construction hasn't even finished on London's 95-story iceberg-inspired tower, The Shard, which will house the Shangri-La Hotel—and already we've gotten a sneak peek at the building's killer views from a daredevil who climbed a ladder to the top.
Urban explorer Bradley Garrett, who literally has a PhD in 'breaking into places,' was out on one of his nocturnal raid missions and decided to share some photos he took from the 76th (and currently highest) floor of the tower. He even got to touch the red light at the top of the crane—an accomplishment he calls "incredibly exhilarating."
As far as we're concerned, he's overshot things a bit, as the hotel itself is only set to occupy floors 34 to 52. But if this is what it's like just twenty stories above, then we remain confident that views from the actual rooms will be pretty frickin' awesome. No word yet on hotel rates, but they're likely to cost significantly more than what Dr. Garrett paid.
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For several months now we've heard that hotel rooms for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London were sold-out or going for ridiculously expensive rates. But according to the BBC, there may be room in town after all.
It turns out that about 8,000 hotel rooms, ranging from budget options to five-star, are no longer needed by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and have been put back on the market for the rest of the general public. Whee!
We hit up the Visit London site to look for hotel rooms during the first week of the games (July 27-August 3) and we found quite a few options available, although at predictably high prices. Two-star and three-star hotels were averaging about £260 a night while we found four-star hotels like the Hotel Indigo Paddington for £578 a night and the newly relaunched St. Ermin's Hotel for £467 a night. That's close to a $1,000 a night or about $7G if you plan on staying the whole week.
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The Olympics site in Stratford, London
Remember when we told you about the ongoing crackdown on scalpers hawking non-legit Olympics tickets? Well, the local po-po (or, would that be bo-bo, since we're talking U.K. bobbies?) are going after delinquents selling fake hotel rooms, too.
We've brought you news about the forthcoming opening of The Belgraves, capsule accommodations inside the Trocadero, and other newbies on the London hotel map, and today go-to publication The Guardian brings our attention to two more soon-to-be players on the scene.
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Cue "God Save the Queen": The Daily Mail lists their top picks among London's hotel crop
Though there's no Olympics event that doles out medals for superior concierge service or Free WiFi, every Londoner's favorite guilty pleasure read, The Daily Mail, recently took the opportunity to anoint a handful of local hotels "gold medal" winners in the local accommodations scene.
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A look inside A Room for London's nautical interior
Now that London's hotel of-the-moment, the single-suite Room for London, has opened its nautically-themed doors, we're on a mad hunt for reviews. Creative or kitchy? Comfy or cramped? Opinions will filter through in drips and drabs, as ARFL's limited coterie of guests experience and check out of the Southbank-perched lodgings.
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You might remember a recent report we logged about London's pop-up, one room hotel, "A Room for London," set to open this January in the lead up to next summer's Olympic Games. Bookings for the floating suite of sorts—"perched" on the edge of the Thames River and offering a spectacular view of the Southbank—have already sold out from January through June.
Not surprising, considering the novelty factor and the fact that London hotel rooms in general are disappearing faster than you can say "tourist board windfall."
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They're ever so helpful, those hotel concierge servicemen and women—at the ready when you need directions to the nearest museum or package deal on a sightseeing package. But come summer 2012, this crop of Guy and Girl Fridays better think twice about scrounging up Olympics tickets for guests in London, as local police officers are cracking down on third-party resellers leading up to and during the games.
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His name aside, hotelier Stuart Bowery has absolutely nothing to do with the eponymous New York hotel. Bowery resides across the pond in London, where he manages the comparably luxe Grosvenor property. Bowery recently received profile treatment from Air & Business Travel News, where he had some interesting things to say about the local hotel scene in the wake of London's disastrous riots and in the lead up to next year's Olympic Games.
We've seen this happen numerous times before--Olympics come to town, hotel rates go through the roof--but for an already expensive town like our beloved London, the rates are expected to blast off into another planet. Or so it feels like.
Although the majority of hotels have not yet released their rates for the period covering the Games – July 27-August 12 – those which have are quoting prices well in excess of what they would usually be at that time of year. A double room at the Sheraton Park Tower in Knightsbridge this month, for example, costs £209 a night. The price quoted for a stay in August next year is £605. A night at the W London, in Leicester Square, costs around £290 this August. The same room during the Games will cost just under £540.