You know that wonderful new-car smell that car fans love to talk about? Turns out, planes have that, too. I got to ride in one of Continental's new 777 jets from Newark to Heathrow, and yes, it smelled like a new car. Also? Wide-screen TVs with lots of on-demand programming on the back of every seat. Nice way to start a trip to London!
A quick and very convenient ride on the Heathrow Express got me right into the heart of London in fifteen minutes and, at Paddington, I learned firsthand how difficult it is to navigate the Tube with luggage. Most New York City subway stations have at least one elevator or ramps for people in wheelchairs (or people with luggage), but on the Underground, one must carry one's luggage up and down numerous flights of stairs. That's annoying enough, but how do people in wheelchairs get around London?
I finally arrived at the Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge, a lovely boutique property that really conjures old-fashioned glamor. The bed in my room is a four-poster, and the housekeeping ladies wear black dresses and white aprons. The keys are the old-fashioned heavy metal things you see in period dramas, and the lounges have fireplaces. It's so Jeeves & Wooster that I keep waiting for PG Wodehouse himself to pop out and offer me a martini.
Which is not to say that the hotel is completely old-fashioned, of course--there's complimentary Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs in both the bedrooms and the bathrooms. But the vibe is very classic, and I'm looking forward to exploring more of the hotel after I've shaken off the jet lag.