Sleeping In London At $400+ Per Night — For Free

On February 2, 2013, in England, Europe, London, United Kingdom, by Ralph Grizzle

This weekend, my head is hitting the pillow at the Hilton London Park Lane. It’s a nice, centrally located hotel where rooms go for more than $400 per night. How do I afford such rates for the nearly two weeks that I am in London? Points. A few years ago I sold my home in […]

London, Notting Hill

Charlie (Chaplin) was just part of the show on Portobello Road yesterday in Notting Hill. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

This weekend, my head is hitting the pillow at the Hilton London Park Lane. It’s a nice, centrally located hotel where rooms go for more than $400 per night. How do I afford such rates for the nearly two weeks that I am in London? Points.

A few years ago I sold my home in Asheville, North Carolina, banked the proceeds, and began living at the local Hilton Biltmore Park. Typically, I was “home” for only one week a month, and with a negotiated corporate rate, my monthly outlay was less than my mortgage and expenses had been.

The icing on the cake was the rapid accumulation of points. I wasn’t exactly the George Clooney inspired character in “Up In The Air,” pursuing points ruthlessly, but by simply living in a hotel rather than elsewhere, I was earning a currency that I have been using for the past few years to pay for pricey hotels in Europe.

Most people who hear my story want to know if I miss having a home, and they also want to know where I keep my stuff. I do miss having a home, but on the flip side, I enjoy the freedom that comes with no mortgage or upkeep. I keep my “stuff” in a storage unit, and that works just fine for me. One thing I have learned is that I don’t need all that stuff that is in the storage unit.

So that is how your Avid Traveler lives.

Simply, I love travel and to experience new places. My nature seems to demand that I am in motion. True to that, yesterday, I laced up my running shoes and ran through Hyde Park to Notting Hill. It was a run that lifted the soul and vivified the joy of being alive. You can read about it and see photos on the Avid Cruiser blog, Running Through London: A Beautiful Day Through Hyde Park To Notting Hill.

Midway through my run, I stopped at a café for lunch on Portobello Road in Notting Hill. Noting my non-British accent, one of the owners asked me where I was from. He was stunned at my response, because he too had lived for a few years in Asheville. What part of Asheville did I live in? That was a little more difficult to answer. Home is where the heart is, as the saying goes, or in my case, “Home is where the Hilton is.”