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Highly Acclaimed Musical of the Year – Les Misérables

The Queen’s Theatre production of Les Misérables is a thrilling musical experience that has been shared by thousands of theatre-goers over the course of many years. Indeed, the show has seen over 10,000 performances in London, over 3000 of them at the Queen’s Theatre.

Based on the classic novel by Victor Hugo, the musical stage production of Les Misérables has been delighting audiences all over the world for over 25 years. Written by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Jean-Marc Natel and Herbert Kretzmer, the play follows the story of convict 24601, Jean Valjean, over the course of two decades. Over the years, Valjean attempts to redeem himself for his past crimes by becoming a respectable pillar of the community, a fair-minded employer and a loving father, all while being persistently followed by Javert, a man of the law whose strict beliefs allow no room for mercy or compassion.

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The Surroundings Make the Experience at St Ermin’s

Whenever you decide to book into a hotel in London, the first thing you’ll consider is the location. This is everything when you want to be sure you spend as much time exploring and as little time getting from A to B as possible. St Ermin’s Hotel in central London is popular for this reason, situated as it is close to St James’ Park. However it isn’t the only reason a stay here is an experience in itself.

St Ermin's

St Ermin’s

Attention to detail at St Ermin’s

As soon as you walk into St Ermin’s Hotel you’ll realise why it is much loved by many people. Everywhere you look there are fine details that make this hotel a refined and comfortable choice to stay in. From the beautifully carpeted hallways and rooms to the relaxing chairs and the antique books filling the walls of the library, you’ll certainly be in for a thrilling experience.

There are special and attentive details to look for in other ways as well. For instance if you happen to be staying in one of the spacious and appealing suites we have to offer at St Ermin’s Hotel, you’ll be able to make use of the Club Lounge. This is where a tempting buffet breakfast can be found each day, along with the day’s newspapers. What better way could there be to start the day?

Dining at the Caxton Grill

Many people look for a hotel that provides a tempting restaurant as well. You’ll certainly get that at St Ermin’s, as the Caxton Grill is close by. Whether you want a light meal or something more substantial, you can be sure of finding just the right dish at the right time.

The hotel is also used to catering for all kinds of guests. There are those in a hurry to make a business meeting, who like the convenience of the Wake & Take breakfast from the hotel lobby. And there are those who are in London to enjoy the sights it has to offer. Whichever group you fall into you can be sure of enjoying the surroundings the hotel is known for.

Down to the finest detail

From the stunning welcome you get as you approach the hotel itself, to the staircase that sweeps up to the first floor, you’ll notice the finest details in every area of the hotel.

You can eat your meals in beautifully modern surroundings, and relax in stunningly appointed rooms. Everything has been taken care of in these four star surroundings, so whatever you get up to during the day you can be assured of returning to a relaxing, calming and laid back room to enjoy a good night’s sleep.

If the highlights are in the details, you can be sure of seeing many highlights as you settle into the hotel for your stay in London. St Ermin’s is a hotel you’ll want to come back to over and over again, so make that first booking today and you’ll see what there is to appreciate.

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Olympics: Never Mind the Jeux Sans Frontières, It’s All about the Money, Stupid

If you can’t beat ‘em, confound them! That seemed to be Danny Boyle’s mantra as he unleashed his fantastically whimsical, crazy-mad, nostalgic bells-and-whistles-of-a-British-history-lesson to an astonished world at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London.

Remember Beijing? So pristine, dignified, awesome and, well, staid? There was no way that ‘Great’ Britain could even come close to matching the jaw-dropping spectacle, precision, and spending power of the Chinese, so why even try?

That seemed to be Boyle’s attitude as he elected to celebrate Britain in its glorious idiosyncratic miscellany. Hence, the spectacle of a ‘parachuting’ reigning monarch, appearances by real, fictional and hackneyed ‘celebs’, a hodgepodge of musical genres and the biggest faux self-mocking cum self-aggrandising, barnstorming circus in town.

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Best of Travel 2011

Thanks to Michaela at Awe Inclusive for including me in Budget Travel Adventure’s Best of Travel 2011 and giving me an opportunity to look back on the best of my 2011 travel adventures.

Last year was another fabulous travel year for me. I visited London for the third time and Paris for the first time, though it was my second trip to France. So here’s my Best of Travel 2011 roundup —

Best Domestic Travel Destination: To me, Washington, DC is the best domestic travel destination because it has so much to offer. The National Mall, the White House, galleries and (free!) museums, theater (not as many as NYC but still good and good bargains), restaurants, festivals like the Folk Life Festival, the National Book Festival, etc. Whether you’re looking for history or entertainment, Washington DC is the best place to be and the best part? It’s compact – you can cover a lot of territory over a few days.

Jefferson Memorial, Washington DC

Jefferson Memorial, Washington DC

Best Travel Experience: I’ve been fascinated by Stonehenge since I saw a documentary about it several years ago and added it to my Must See List. As soon as I decided on the dates for my UK trip, I booked a tour. The best part was that the group was small enough so that we weren’t tripping over each other. We could go into the circle and get up close (but not touch) the monument. The tour also took us through the bucolic English countryside and Bath, a very historical and picturesque town.

Inside the circle, Stonehenge

Inside the circle at Stonehenge

Best International Destination: My best international destination for 2011 was, without question, Paris.  I love Paris – it’s all of the things we’ve heard, and more — romantic, picturesque, fashionable, etc., and though I felt a bit intimidated by the stories I’ve heard about Parisians looking down their noses at people dressed in jeans, I never felt out of place or slighted. In fact, I met quite a number of friendly Parisians. One night, I got talking to a waiter and when he found out where I was staying and that I was traveling alone — it was nearly 10 p.m. when I finished dinner — he called one of the waitresses who was taking the same train and told me to wait for her so we could travel together. Although I could have found my way back to the hotel on my own, I was very touched by his kindness.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower at night

Worst Travel Experience: My worst travel experience in 2011 happened before I even left my destination. I turned up at the airport to board my flight on Spirit Airlines and got a huge surprise. I owed $93 in baggage fees! I was so furious at myself for not paying attention to the fine print — I know better (or should) — that I forgot that I wanted to buy a few gifts in the duty free shop. The worst part is that on the return leg, I couldn’t figure out how to pre-pay and ended up paying again. Suddenly, the deal that I thought I had worked out to be one of the most expensive New York/Montego Bay tickets I’ve ever bought.

Most Embarrassing Travel Experience: Last year, my travel was embarrassment-free but 2010 wasn’t. I started to feel sick the day I was scheduled to return to the US from Johannesburg, South Africa. My body felt weak and I began to sweat. I didn’t know what was wrong – I didn’t think it was a cold but by the time I got on the flight, I was sneezing. I was so petrified of coughing that before I finished a cough drop, I’d pop another one. I felt awful. I still think of the people I know I passed my cold on to. Thanks goodness, it was a night flight so (hopefully) my no one remembers my face! The best part was, I was traveling with two friends who were also coming down with colds so I didn’t infect the people on either side of me. The worst part is, our row probably passed our colds on to everyone in coach.

Best Local Destination: Since I relocated from New York City to Jamaica last year, I’m going to take the liberty to name two best local destinations. In New York, the best location destination is Coney Island. It’s a place where you’ll find everyone – toddlers, young adults, couples, singles, grandparents – and there’s a variety of activities for everyone, from the hot dog eating contest over the July 4th weekend to summertime fireworks displays to roller coaster rides.

My best travel location in Jamaica is Treasure Beach. It’s laid back, it’s funky, it’s fun. It’s just a charming location that I’ve written about several times.

Treasure Beach boats

Treasure Beach boats

Best Travel Lesson: When I visited Paris last year, it was the first time that I traveled on my own to a place to a place where I didn’t know a soul and no one was meeting me when I arrived. Thank goodness, I know some French so I didn’t feel completely at sea. Interestingly enough, I was very excited the morning I left for Paris — it’s probably the most excited I’d been in a while about a trip. It turned out to be a very liberating experience and surprisingly, made me feel very grown up.

Now, I get the pleasure of inviting the following 5 bloggers to write about their Best of Travel 2011.