Pouring rain in London...cancelled tour...Regency Hotel, Queen's Gate review...issues...Five days until the cruise...One year ago,...easy recipe...



You can see Tom's head through the flowers where we sit each morning as I write the daily post.  Sitting here gives the maid service time to clean our room which we've requested be done by noon each day when our laptop batteries die.  We go back to the room to leave the laptops charging when we go out to explore for the afternoon.
The thought of going out into the pouring rain on Monday, getting on and off a bus, walking long distances for hours and ending the day on a boat ride held little appeal for either of us.  We'll take the tube as soon as there's a clear day to the area near Buckingham Palace.  Today, Tuesday, its still raining.

Rain had been predicted over the past several days for early this week.  As weather reporting goes, we'd hoped it would be comparable to many other days in London...rain for a few hours and then stop.  Not the case

The staff at the reception desk are helpful and friendly maintaining their cool when disgruntled guests complain about the WiFi charges.
After the horrible rainy day in Versailles a few weeks ago, spending hours outside in the wind and rain is hardly our idea of a good time. 

Yesterday at noon, we took the hotel's (London Regency, Queen's Gate)provided umbrella for a trek to a pharmacy for a few items we needed for the upcoming cruises. With the umbrella covering us the entire distance, and our hooded jackets pulled tightly around our faces, we still returned soaked. 

Although our room is larger than a ship cabin, its small as shown in this photo.
Deciding to stay indoors at the hotel would be fine if it weren't for the fact that the Hotel's WiFi was down Monday morning as it has been at least once each day since arriving ten days ago. How can a hotel that caters to both tourists and business travelers not have working WiFi for often as much as half of each day?  We're baffled.

Almost with gritted teeth, yesterday morning at 7:30 am I informed the front desk that they'd need to credit us the entire WiFi fees of US $13.25, 8 pounds per day for our entire 15 days at this hotel.  Sheepishly, they agreed. Their usual daily rate is US $16.56, 10 pounds.  (Oddly, they quoted us $16.69 per day, when we checked in).

The lobby lounges are pleasant and comfortable.
They'd given us the WiFi corporate discount at US $3.31, 2 pounds less per night when their website indicated WiFi was included.  As far as we're concerned, its trickery. With our room rate at US $220, 133 pounds per day, one would think the WiFi could be included.

As we've sat in the lobby writing here each day, we've heard one guest after another while checking in, totally disgruntled when they discover there's a fee for the WiFi.  When there are no less costly nearby hotels they, like us, they have no alternative but to agree to the fees.  Trickery.

The hotel's exit to the street.
As a result, we'll be posting a less than favorable review in regard to their promise of WiFi on their website which...appeared to be complimentary and, above all, working!

In a way I blame myself.  There were several reviews in TripAdvisor (click the link to read reviews for this hotel) mentioning  the problematic WiFi but, I wrongfully assumed the issues would be resolved by the time of our arrival.  Not the case.  Apparently, this has been a long term issue.
An additional lounge area in the lobby.
In my desperation to find a decently priced hotel in an upscale area, I chose the Regency Hotel, Queen's Gate.  If WiFi wasn't an issue I'd give it a four star.  It's elegant in its décor, staff demeanor, cleanliness and amenities. 

Although the rooms are small, ours is larger than the room we had in Paris, having the common amenities; comfortable bed and linens, robes, flat screen TV, plug in center (burned out three of our plug ins), quality maid service, and adequate furnishings and storage.


The lower level dining room in the hotel where we've yet to dine.
In a way, I feel sorry for the front desk with the constant complaints the staff receives in regard to the WiFi fees and the fact that is was seldom working. 

And yet, now, as I sit in the lobby writing when today, the WiFi is working, I hear new guests checking in one after another obligated to the usual US $16.56, 10 pounds per day required to be online.  Its hard to keep my mouth shut and not warn them.  But, I don't say a word.
The bar and lounge area adjacent to the dining room appears comfortable and inviting.  The bar and restaurant staff have been kind and helpful in providing us with ice as we requested.

What I write here will surely reach our few hundred thousand readers worldwide and millions of reader when I write a review on TripAdvisor before we depart.

No, we haven't complained about the fact that it takes a 600 pound weight lifter to flush the toilet, or there's no ice machine anywhere in the hotel other than downstairs in the bar several times each day to get it from the staff or, the lack of bar soap with only stinky smelling pump soap. 

Luckily, guests can enter through the front of the building as the work is being done.
What about the fact that the bottom of the tub is so slippery one must put a towel down to keep from falling?  What about the dangerous faucets that make it very easy to get scalded when the on and off system is confusing and unpredictable?  What about the fact that the fire alarm system went off Sunday when Tom was naked after a shower and hurriedly dressed to get out the door? (False alarm).

What about the fact that the entire exterior of the hotel is being renovated and one must walk under scaffolding to gain access?  We wouldn't care if noise wasn't associated with the work, beginning early in the morning continuing until the end of the day.

You can see workmen in this photo taken today, waiting for the rain to stop to continue their work.
The restaurant has a pleasing ambiance but, a simple breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage and pastries is no less than US $30, 18 pounds or more.  The dinner a la carte menu is no less US $36, 22 pounds per person excluding beverages, appetizers, side salad or dessert, although that is not unlike many restaurants in the area.

At this point, we haven't added a single cup of coffee or tea to our bill.  With both available in the  guest rooms at no charge (usual procedure at most hotels) I find myself running back to the room to make a fresh mug of hot tea.  I refuse to pay US $6.63, 4 pounds for one tea bag with a small pot of hot water. 
The scaffolding on the exterior of the hotel close to the entrance.  The sight of this doesn't bother us nor does the noise.  But, we heard guests complaining about the noise during daylight hours.
I supposed when all is said and done, our biggest complaint is regarding the WiFi issues.  The rest we could easily manage with no complaint. Had that not been a problem we may not have paid much attention to the remainder.

Once a hotel has an established good décor, high level of cleanliness and an attentive staff, its the small things that determine the final review.  Don't we all recall a hotel where the small things were over the top, as an extraordinary memory? 

The lobby is decorated with exquisite flower arrangements, kept fresh daily.
Years ago, long before I met Tom, I visited Bangkok, Thailand for several days before heading to the island of Phuket.  I stayed in the Le Meridian Hotel, at that time (1980's) one of the most highly rated hotels in the world. 

One day, after lunch by the pool I discretely reached into my mouth to pick at something stuck in a tooth, probably lemon grass.  Within 30 seconds a kindly hotel employee dressed in a black suit (in the heat), handed me a pouch containing several flat wooden dental picks.  The pouch was leather embossed with the hotel's logo.

The busy street in front of the hotel is easy to cross at the crosswalk with push buttons command for the pedestrian green light.  These are at every corner.  Arrows are painted on the pavement to alert pedestrians as to which direction the traffic flows.  This is helpful when driving is on the left side in the UK.  Steering wheels are on the right side of vehicles.
Goodness, I thought, was he watching each person at the pool looking for an opportunity to give them whatever they could possibly need or want?  Certainly, there was an expectation of a tip which I freely handed to him.  That experience is memorable 30 years later.

With hotels, we tend to recall the great experiences while the less positive seem to waft away.  As for the for Regency Hotel, Queen's Gate, I doubt our poor WiFi experience will easily be forgotten, especially with this modern age of technology and review writing, where one is so easily able to document their experiences that will remain online forever.


Level one in the hotel is marked as level 12 in the elevator.  Go figure.
In any case, the location has been superb.  South Kensington is a fabulous upscale location that is safe, friendly and easy to explore.  As of today, Tuesday, August 26th, we'll be staying here another five nights.

If you don't see a post in any of the upcoming five days I assure you, its entirely due to the fact that we're unable to get online.  Posting yesterday morning was a fluke when I was able to get online for a few minutes, long enough to get publish the post.

London in the much expected rain. Yesterday, we went out in the rain for s short while.  Returning an hour later we were soaked although we'd worn our hooded jackets and used the hotel's umbrella.
Long ago, we stated, in our naivety as travel newbies, that we'd try to avoid posting negative reviews.  As we've become more experienced, we realize we owe it to our worldwide readers and others to be candid about our experiences.

Seldom, do we write details here of specific negative dining experiences, other than on TripAdvisor.  As we find ourselves reading the reviews daily as we search for restaurants, we now feel we must also take the responsibility, as others have done, in posting good and bad reviews. 

As we stood inside a mall area, we waited for the rain to lighten up until we hit the street again.
That's enough whining for today.  Hopefully, the rain will stop enabling us to get out to further explore London. 

Happy Tuesday to all.  Be well.
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Photo from one year ago today, August 26, 2013:

There was no post of this date one year ago as we busily prepared to leave Tuscany to travel to Kenya.  However, here's a photo we posted on August 27 of dinner I'd prepared Italian style, using local ingredients and produce from the garden.
These tomatoes and basil were grown in the little garden on the veranda.  After drizzling olive oil over this, adding salt, pepper and garlic, I baked it in the oven for 35 minutes.  Delicious!

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