Saturday 25 November 2017

UK-Paris Day 1: London's Luma Concept Hotel Hammersmith

After waiting 11 long months for the most anticipated trip of the year, we were finally on our way to Singapore Changi Airport, Terminal 1.

We'll be gone for 16 days and it will be the longest trip to date for the girl and I. It is also the furthest that the girl and I have ever travelled (i.e. Scotland). The mum and hubby have previously visited the USA separately.

Now what's the difference between England, Great Britain and United Kingdom (UK)? Many people tend to make the mistake of using the terms interchangeably, however...
  • England: Country of the UK, capital is London
  • Scotland: Country of the UK, capital is Edinburgh
  • Great Britain: The geographical island that comprised of England, Scotland and Wales
  • United Kingdom: Made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland is geographically located on the island of Ireland)
Although we usually prefer to focus on at most 2 countries per visit (so that we won't be spending most of the time on the move), this is the first time that we'll be visiting more than 2 countries in one trip. This is because I've already been to London in 2014 and was keen to explore other parts of the UK and Europe!
We decided to fly by Emirates because they offered really irresistible promotional prices during the Emirates Global Sale in January this year. It cost us only S$961.10 per adult and S$864.10 per child for return flights to London/Paris (arrival at London, departure from Paris).

The downside, of course, was the hassle of transiting at Dubai. However, we all thought that the low price justified the extra travel time (18 hours 20 minutes versus 13 hours direct flight).

We arrived at Changi Airport at around 10.30pm because we wanted to take pictures with the decorations and let my girl have fun at the playground.

The 7.5-hour flight was supposed to depart Singapore at 1.20am but due to various delays, we didn't take off until 3am! As a result, we landed in Dubai International Airport later than we had anticipated. The good of it all was that our transit period was shortened from 3 hours to 1 hour but that meant that we had to rush from one gate to the other during transit!

Boarding our next flight at Dubai International Airport

We arrived safely at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 after 8 hours on the plane from Dubai. We were so exhausted after our almost 19-hour journey from Singapore to London! It also did not help that London is 8 hours behind Singapore (during winter), which meant that although it was only 12 noon in London, it was already night time in Singapore.

As with our previous London trip, we booked our airport transfer from BA Transfer (you can also consider other alternative airport transfers that I've listed in my London 2014 Itinerary). The cost of travelling from Heathrow to Hammersmith was £48.

The airport transfer comes with a booster seat for my girl that I requested on the website when booking
I had booked the Estate Car, which can seat 4 adults and at least 3 XL luggage

We quite liked the ride, which was spacious and had enough boot space for our luggage.

Our accommodation for our stay in London was Luma Concept Hotel Hammersmith, a newly renovated hotel located in our favourite town of Hammersmith.

Luma Concept Hotel Hammersmith
(Address: 28 - 36 Glenthorne Road, Hammersmith, Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom W6 0LS)
Exterior of Luma Concept Hotel

We had stayed at Hammersmith in another hotel previously and really loved it so we decided to stay at Hammersmith again. We chose Luma Concept Hotel as it was newer and cheaper than the previous hotel.

Front desk
Decorated with bright lights to fit its name

We booked the Family Room via Agoda as the website stated that it can accommodate 4 adults. We had expected one big room but it turned out to be TWO connecting regular rooms! At just S$284 for both rooms per night, it was really value-for-money!

Left: Modern corridors with cool quotes on the wall;
Right: You'll see the table when you walk in, with the bed hidden behind it. 
Sliding doors with mirrors on the side of the room hide the shower, cupboards and toilet!
It is a pretty smart way of making a tiny room look bigger and more spacious.
The hidden shower and closet space was really tiny but usable. I managed to store my medium-sized luggage in there. 
The 'open kitchen' design and hidden toilet, which is separated from the shower
Twin beds for the mum and girl, with plenty of electrical plugs on each side of the bed to charge your electronic devices
Left: A pretty large sofa at the back of the room next to the door;
Right: The connecting door next to the sofa and table opens up to the room next door. 
Our room is exactly the same except that it has a double bed instead of twin beds
The view outside of our window
Each room comes equipped with a Handy, which is phone you can use to make local calls and surf the Internet for useful touristy information
The hubby and mum were most excited by the Nespresso machine in the room! They both drank at least 3 cups of coffee a day!

Do note that although our room comes with breakfast, it is the Grab and Go type because the hotel does not have a restaurant for sit-down buffet breakfast that we're used to.

Bags of breakfast lined up at the table in the lobby for guests to pick up
Each bag consists of a croissant (plain, chocolate or apricot), a fruit (apple or banana) and a drink (orange juice or apple juice)

I'm a mega fan of croissants and can eat them every morning so that's ok with me. What's not so ok is the drink and fruits, which I got sick of after a while. Enough of orange or apple juice, I'll have my Teh-C Peng please, thankyouverymuch!

After we have settled in, we went to do our shopping at the shops nearby. Even though we were exhausted, it seems that we can never be too tired to shop! *grin*

King's Mall houses many of our favourite shops such as Primark, Sainsbury, Wilko, Tiger and Pound land.
Primark in Hammersmith, my favourite shop in UK!!
Primark recently released a whole Harry Potter range which ignited the fan in me! I bought so much Harry Potter merchandise for dirt cheap prices!! Woohoo!!
The hubby's version of Harry Potter merch *laughs*

Don't forget to ask for tax refund on certain goods (do ask the shop on which items are considered). You can get tax refund at any EU international airports, if you spend a minimum of £30 in the UK.


Overseas Data

Before I end this post, I would also like to share my elaborate calculation of our overseas data plans for this trip. I considered 2 plans, as shown below:

1) Changi Recommends 
  • S$12 per day, total cost = S$12 x 15 days = S$180 (S$90 per person)
  • 400MB per day (see Europe's Fair Usage Policy), total data = 400MB x 14 days = 5.6GB
  • Connectivity dependent on proximity to the device, i.e. both phones must be near device to connect to internet
2) Singtel ReadyRoam 1GB 30 Days (31 Destinations)
  • S$35 per month, total cost = S$35 x 2 persons = S$70
  • 1GB per person, total data = 1GB x 2 = 2GB
  • Connectivity on two handphones, both can be used independently. Allows for WhatsApp calls between one phone and the other. 
After much thought, the hubby and I both decided that it was more worth it to go with the Singtel plan. Although the data is not unlimited, it was enough for us to navigate Europe for the 2 weeks that we are here 😊


We slept at 7pm London time (3am Singapore time), after being awake for more than 24 hours! The bed was so comfortable that we didn't wake up until 4am London time (12pm Singapore time) the next morning! I think we all became morning people here in London πŸ˜‚

Looking forward to more fun tomorrow!

Continue to >> UK-Paris Day 2: Westminster, National Gallery, Tower Bridge & Natural History Museum


Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on UK and Paris, France
as well as other travel itineraries!

You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram before I blog about them via the hashtag #madpsychmumtravels! =)
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