When I finally won the Marriott moment auction which included tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament and a pro-am tennis clinic with Stan Smith I was super excited.
For those who don't know Wimbledon tickets are the toughest to get. These are only a few ways to score the tickets:
1. Apply by ballot.
2. Try buying from ticketmaster UK site the day before - I tried this for one day but it was sold out within 5 sec.
3. Queue up the previous day for tickets which go on sale at 10 30 AM. Since my Ticketmaster experiment failed we thought to try this - bought sleeping bags, comforters only to realize at 6 PM that the queue was full. This was a full 16 hours before the tickets went on sale. I read on twitter that I should have been in line by 10 AM. Even if I had known that before I had no intention of wasting an entire day standing in queue.
4. Spend outrageous amount of money to buy one of the hospitality packages or buy it on resale on Stubhub. The cheapest tickets I saw was GBP 3200 for a pair.
So I spent 222500 points for tickets which would be easily worth $5000. The flight to London was uneventful - I did score an upgrade to FC on my BDL-EWR leg but declined as they only upgraded me. For the EWR-LHR leg I scored an EP seat which was awesome.
By the time I got to the London Marriott West India Quay hotel in Canary Wharf we were exhausted. Ordered room service for dinner and slept. Here we realized that we did a good thing by listening to the Insiders and not staying at the Heathrow airport.
Day 2: We went to London Eye and thought it was just ok. We liked the Westminster Abbey though. The line to see the church was too long so we skipped that. We had an early dinner at Dhishoom restaurant near Covent Garden and we loved the food. My wife is a big Roger Federer fan and its always been on her wish list to see him play at Wimbledon. We had tickets for Saturday but he was playing on Friday - that's why we tried to camp outside the stadium.
We had some drinks at the Executive lounge along with some desserts. The only time we spent at the Lounge.
Day 3: Our package included a clinic at the David Lloyd Raines Park and we had to be there by 7 30 AM. Hence we skipped breakfast to get there early. We got to meet some famous tennis players like Stan Smith, Iva Majoli. They coached us on how to play - it had been 25 years since I last played so it wasn't easy. But it was fun and we had a good workout.
After the clinic they gave us duffel bags, tennis shoes, and a wimbledon 2018 tennis ball. We had some light refreshments too.
Later that evening we did a night time bus tour and we loved it. Our tour guide was exceptional - he had an amazing sense of humor and gave us a nice tour of the city. I loved the part where there are dragons marking the beginning of the city.
Day 4: After breakfast we set out to watch the matches in the Center Court. I was thrilled to see my idol Rafael Nadal win with relative ease, We had the famed Strawberry and cream and loved it. Lunch was in the debenture lounge which was very pricey but worth it. We got to watch 3 matches that day and the experience was just amazing although I liked the suite experience in the last year's US open better as we had amazing food and drinks service in the suite too.
By the time we got back to the hotel it was very late - so just ordered room service.
Day 5: I am a huge Chelsea fan and since its off season in the Premier league now I had booked the Stamford Bridge Stadium tour as there were no matched during this time of the year. It was an amazing feeling to visit the stadium.
After the tour we went to the market in Covent Garden to buy some souvenirs and loved the market. We also watched the famed street shows just outside the market. Dinner was in Amaya - it was outstanding.
The only issue I had with the hotel was getting bathroom amenities. Daily I had to request extra shower gel and hand wash. I never understand why they give only one of each every day. They know that 2 people are staying.
The hotel had packed some breakfast for us as our flight was at 7 AM from LCY and we left at 5.
We had Polaris business class seats from EDI- IAD and we absolutely loved it.
PS: Pics to come soon.