Book Posh (Practical) Accommodations in London
I'd wager on the family tea set that there isn't a single fan of the popular PBS series
who hasn't fantasized about sleeping in four-poster beds, taking tea in the library and splashing about in marble-tiled bathrooms equipped heated towel racks. Thanks to savvy London entrepreneur Greg Marsh, you can do just that. His venture
One Fine Stay
) is billed as an "unhotel". Guests take over hand-selected private homes throughout the London area while on vacation or short stays for business. If you're heading to the 2012 Olympics, this could be just the type of service for you. And they're not just any homes! Travellers search the nifty web site for preferred neighbourhood, number of rooms, amenities and thus fine a posh alternative to a traditional hotel while the owners are away.
The benefit? Not only do you get lovely accommodation, but
visitors get to live like a local.
is ideal for people visiting London for the Olympics and are looking for a break from the standard hotel scene. It's also ideal for families and groups of friends who want to split the cost, eat in, and enjoy a taste of the finer things in life. Some are high-ceiling homes with libraries, while others are a bit more contemporary. Greg Marsh and team have devoted an entire
category to Family-friendly homes
, one of which sleeps six to nine people for a few hundred pounds per night. Compared that to individual hotel room rates and you'll see it's worth it. These are not modest B&Bs or bedsits. They're elegant, stylish properties. Cool factor: every guest gets the loan of an iPhone to use during their stay which is loaded with local tips and helpful videos recorded by the owner of that particular home (and, yes, you get to make free local calls.) It's the next best thing to having the owner show you around his or her local area.
Greg Marsh says he and his team have "sifted through some of the most
decadent, elegant, quirky and surprising houses and apartments, and curated a collection of wonderful places to stay. Every single one is different. But they all offer the same delicious levels of
comfort and character."
One can almost hear
Dame Maggie Smith
(Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham) giving her sniff of approval. Here's your peek into three ready-to-rent London homes:
Clanricarde Gardens, Notting Hill
"Funky mouldings and furnishings" [caption id="attachment_9395" align="aligncenter" width="360" caption="Clanricarde Gardens, Notting Hill Funky mouldings and furnishings"]
: Rent the
Hugh Grant-Julia Roberts
for a quick preview of the area. Shop for collectibles and curios at
Portobello Road Market
or stroll through
. If you want to go further afield, just hop the tube and be at Oxford Circus in a jiffy.
Albert Hall Mansions, Hyde Park
: Palatial three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment overlooking
[caption id="attachment_9396" align="aligncenter" width="360" caption="Albert Hall Mansions, Hyde Park"]
You've got Hyde Park (watch for the Queen's Guards on their morning riding drill) and, of course, you'd be within singing distance of
for concerts. The trendy shops of
are close by as is the
Natural History and Science museum.
Ivor Place, Marylebone
An urban retreat adventure - and family-friendly, too! [caption id="attachment_9399" align="aligncenter" width="360" caption=" Bedrooms for Everyone"]
You've got access to Regent’s Park’s rose garden, plus the regal
The Landmark Hotel for Afternoon Tea
, and you're within walking distance to Marylebone train station. If any of these tickle your fancy or if you're seeking stylish lodging in another part of London, visit
One Fine Stay
. Greg Marsh plans to extend his survey internationally in the very near future.