Travel

By AnnMarie Marano

April will bring its usual round of showers, but for our friends across the pond in London, England, it will also bring a host of hotel openings and events. And thus the trend continues into the summer. We’ve put together a personal calendar of events for this month and beyond; check it out below:

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Grosvenor House, the iconic Park Lane hotel, will reveal the first stage of a ₤100 million plus restoration this season, leading up to its completion in 2008 when the hotel will become the first JW Marriott in the UK. It will boast 494 new rooms and suites, two bars, a tea room, brasserie, signature restaurant and luxury spa.

Yotel, which is one of the most innovative hotels in the world (think of it as a high-end motel room located in airport terminals etc. that you can “rent” for a few hours) will also bring its services to Gatwick and Heathrow airports this spring. Heathrow will offer a 40 “cabin” Yotel and Gatwick will house a 50 “cabin” Yotel. The Yotel idea was conceived after one of its founders was upgraded to first-class on a flight. He then decided to translate the language of luxury airline travel and Japanese capsule hotels into a small but luxurious cabin.

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In May, fuel your Hobbit fetish at the legendary Theatre Royal Drury Lane where Sam and Frodo will take to the stage in a production of The Lord of the Rings.

Following spring’s activities will be the opening of the O2 in July. The O2 will be the first purpose-built music venue to open in London since The Royal Albert Hall in 1871. It will include a 2,000 capacity Live Music Club, 11 screen cinema, as well as exhibition and theatre spaces, bars and restaurants. Justin Timberlake will be one of the first acts to kick off an opening summer season of music, entertainment and sporting events.

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July will also bring the Grand Départ of the Tour de France. This will take place in London for the first time. From the 6th to the 8th, the opening ceremony, prologue and start of Stage 1 of the race will be held in the city.

And if you’re looking to feed your thirst for culture, visit the annual opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. This summer they’ll feature a special exhibition to celebrate the Diamond Wedding Anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.

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And last but not least, be sure to take note that in November, the Eurostar high-speed rail will move from Waterloo International to its new London home at St. Pancras International. Eurostar offers quick journeys from London to France and Belgium.

For more London “must sees” this season go to www.visitlondon.com.

Originally published April 2007
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