Day #156 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…A special thank you to our web developers in India…

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 in 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 it’s still raining.

The 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 where it rained 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 an 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, it’s 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, it’s 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 it 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. It’s 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 the 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, a high level of cleanliness and, and an attentive staff, it’s 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 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, it’s 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 everyone. Be well.

                                             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!

London doesn’t disappoint…Victoria and Albert…

Tom is really getting used to visiting museums. In this case, we were at the Victoria and Albert Museum on London, walking distance from our hotel. 
Gee, Tom took a photo of me without it being too blurry.

Many times, we’ve mentioned our lack of interest in visiting big cities, mainly due to the following; the noise, the crowds, the long lines, the traffic, and the lack of vegetation and wildlife. Then, there are the outrageous prices on literally everything that maybe half the cost in more rural areas.

The entrance to Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Several special exhibits were highlighted during this period, including “Disobedient Objects.”
More “Disobedient Objects.”

London, unlike Paris, provides us with the ability to freely communicate, the sense of safety in this beautiful area of Kensington (which feels more like a suburb than the city), and the overall friendliness of its people. Even the tourists seem more dignified, not pushing as they walk on the busy streets.

The theme seemed a little vague when most of the items were trendy from the 20th century.
This decorated car was from the 70’s.

We knew we’d like the UK. We’ve spent the last year watching the news on BBC (one of the few English speaking news channels that have been available). We’ve found several BBC TV series exceedingly entertaining such as Downton Abbey, Luther, What Remains, and Broadchurch, having downloaded and watched each episode during those quiet evenings after dinner.

These dresses brought back memories of the ’50s and ’60s.
Every era has had its “frumpy” period.
These were small, appearing to be clothes for children.
I’d wear that if I’d fit into it!

London, a city of art and culture, leaves nothing behind on the world stage of entertainment, as we peruse posters and billboards of upcoming events. With no charge to enter museums the appreciation of the UK’s and the world’s history and artifacts was evident when on Monday, we visited the Victoria and Albert Museum, a 20 minute walk from our hotel.

This appears to be a dress that may have been worn in a dance hall.
Late 1800’s.
The intricate detail on this handwoven fan drew quite an audience.

With three museums located next to one another in the same city block, our intention has been to visit each museum on a separate day. Today, we’d hoped to enter the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum

Women today can’t wait to get out of their bras after a long day. Can we imagine how women felt wearing these types of corsets all day?
A typical hoop from the 1800s.
The elegant wear of the wealthy was also displayed.

However, when we arrived at each of the museums there were no less than 2000 people in line at each location which would take from one to two hours of standing in potentially rainy weather.

Another exquisite fan.
Wigs and gloves were worn by men in the 1700’s.
These undergarments were necessary to wear such a dress.

We’ve decided to return other days, to try to get inside the two other museums, perhaps early before they open or later in the day hopefully finding shorter lines. Few venues are worthy of two hours in line, particularly if there’s a possibility of rain.

The more tailored 20th century.
After leaving the fashion area we wandered to sculptures from around the world during many eras.  This work was Caesar attacking the British.
Neptune and Triton by Gianlorenzo Bernini, 1622-1623.

Instead, we walked further down the road to the Victoria and Albert Museum which we had not waited to enter was not disappointing by any means with a diverse array of interesting artifacts we found fascinating. 

The large garden area of the museum was packed with visitors.
Children were playing in the wading pool.
Late in the summer for many flowers, we spotted a few in the museum’s garden.

Thus, we share a series of diverse photos today. Many areas of the museum were entirely unrelated to one another, a scenario that some may find unsettling.

Back inside the museum, we encountered another permanent exhibit.
Beautiful wall sculpture in pleasing colors.
A sculpted alter.

With both of us possessing short attention spans, this was ideal, as we flitted from one arena to another happily snapping away while conversing over the various items. 

Priest’s garments.
Colorful sculpture.
For a moment I touched the top of this slab of marble and a guard warned me to take my hand off of it. Embarrassed, I quickly removed my hand. In reading the description I read this was made in the 16th century. Yes, I suppose one shouldn’t touch!

It would be disappointing if we are unable to eventually see the other two nearby museums. But, we understand with no entrance fees, they provide a huge attraction to tourists and locals alike.

We sat for a few minutes taking in our surroundings in an area where a church had been replicated using centuries-old artifacts.
This intricate pagoda was on display in the Asian art area. 
This handmade boat was also in the Asian art area.

Today, as we mentioned above, we off on a 10-hour tour to Downton Abbey and Oxford University. We’ll be back tomorrow with hopefully lots of interesting new photos. 

Have a happy day!

                                              Photo from one year ago today, August 20, 2013:
The internet was down all day on this date one year ago and we weren’t ever able to post. Please check back tomorrow.