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Europe Travel

Stopover in London

A few weeks ago, I ended up in London for a quick stopover, to attend some meetings for work. In between my job duties I had a little bit of time to walk around, explore some familiar and new places, and eat! Here’s a summary of the brief free time I spent, in one of my favorite cities.

London is a city with many fantastic hotels, and had it been for my personal travel, I probably would have opted to stay at either Brown’s or The Connaught, (or The Berkeley, even though I don’t find the location ideal, I have a soft spot for it since it was where we got engaged!). Alas, my corporate travel budget guidelines didn’t seem to agree with me (by a long shot), so instead I found myself smack dab in the West End, at a little hotel called the Thistle Piccadilly.

Thistle Outside

I later learned that Thistle was actually a chain, with locations all over the city. I loved the location of mine  – it was really right in the middle of the West End, and there were posters for Stomp! and The Book of Mormon all over the place. It was fun to see people walking to go to their shows.

London West End

The hotel and room itself were fine and serviceable. I was given what I think was actually one of the worst in the place – a very small room with no view, and even that was spacious enough for one (and probably two, if you’re used to European hotel sizes).

Thistle Bed

I was quite disappointed with the breakfast- I ordered room service once morning and it was lackluster. I love big breakfast spreads, especially in Europe, so was let down. I ended up going next door to Pret my next morning.

Thistle Breakfast

However, if you are looking for a clean, no frills but well located hotel and the Thistle is available at a good price, I could definitely recommend it.

My first evening in London, I took a walk around the immediate neighborhood. I stepped outside the hotel, took a left, and about a minute of walking later, I was in Chinatown! I always have liked London Chinatown but honestly more for just a walk rather than to eat – living in the Bay Area, I’ve been spoiled for inexpensive options for Chinese food.

Chinatown

About a five minute walk from Chinatown later, I was at one of my new favorite stops in London – Paul A. Young Fine chocolates. I came to London with a mission to find some new great chocolate shops, and this definitely was my favorite find!

Paul Young Outside

Inside the shop was a huge display of truffles, as well as bars and hot chocolate.

Truffles

I picked up a few chocolates to try, but what I fell in love with were the brownies. Whoa. The best brownies I have ever had, and if you are in London, I would definitely recommend a stop! There are several locations in the city.

Paul Young treats

I bought a few extra to take home (the shop assured me of a two week shelf life). Continue Reading