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The British monarchy’s first Diamond Jubilee marked Queen Victoria’s 60-year reign in 1897. The second, celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s astonishing six decades on the throne, takes place throughout 2012, with key events centered around June 2-5. Hotels throughout London are getting into the spirit with special promotional packages and discounts, but one of my favorites is at the St. Ermin’s Hotel, an unfussy yet thoroughly dignified (i.e. still delightfully British) 4-star property just five minutes from Buckingham Palace – on foot even, not via swift royal carriage.
Inaugurated last October by actress Kristin Scott Thomas (the MGallery collection’s brand ambassador), the 331-room hotel has a jubilant history of its own. Built upon the site of a 15th-century chapel, the building that now forms the basis of the hotel was built eight years before Victoria’s big bash, in 1889 (needless to say, the architecture is distinctly, um, Victorian). Sir Winston Churchill held secret meetings at the hotel during WWII, and it’s rumored that a tunnel still exists between the hotel’s grand staircase and Parliament. The MGallery renovation retains all of this historic ambiance while introducing contemporary décor and amenities (like the lovely Caxton Grill, where I enjoyed the definitive English breakfast during a recent stay).
View package details and see what the hotel looks like today. Read more
During a winter school break you and yours have four choices: do nothing, escape nearby, go where it’s warm, or head someplace as cold as or colder than where you are. The latter makes sense if you’re a family that skis together, but otherwise you may need a bit of motivation. So try this: A vacation package including five nights in a premium suite at the well above-average Omni Chicago Hotel, plus airfare, for around $400 per person.
The Omni’s got a swell indoor pool, all the free Wi-Fi you can drink in the lobby, and the also free Omni Kids Program that yields activity books and snacks for the kids as well as complimentary suite childproofing, should you need it. Plus, the suite itself – aside from having the parental essentials of a minibar and a 37-inch plasma flat-screen TV – realistically sleeps five, with two doubles and a sofa sleeper and no extra occupancy fees for kids 17 and younger. Read more
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