ADVERTISEMENT

London shopping: A new mall with spectacular views

By Sean O'Neill
October 3, 2012
blog_verticalstpaulsshoppingmall_original.jpg
Sean O'Neill

Outside the entrance to a new shopping mall that's a Frisbee toss from St. Paul's Cathedral, a small girl recently channeled her inner Eloise, overdramatically saying to her parent, "Can we go in? It looks so shiny!"

The child had a point. With its misted glass exterior and interior open-air walkways, "One New Change" looks more like a cutting edge modern art museum than what it actually is—the grey financial district's first new shopping complex in 130 years. So it's unsurprising to learn that it was built by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Jean Nouvel, who has also built the stylish modern art museum in Paris, Fondation Cartier.

What makes this mall unique is that its roof presents the city's best view of St. Paul's Cathedral.

On its eighth-floor roof terrace, you can now take in the full panorama of the city skyline. It's a public perspective that, until now, no visitor to London could easily access for free. In the winter, of course, you may prefer to stay inside in the café, which also overlooks the cathedral.

While shopping, be sure to check out British brands All Saints, Reiss, and Topman (its first stand alone location in the city), which burst with exceptional, gift-worthy items. onenewchange.com, St Paul's tube station, map.

Insider's tip #1 Be sure to go around the corner outdoors to the side of the mall opposite from St. Paul's and look at St. Mary-le-bow Church—home of the city's most famous church bells.

A century ago, all neighborhoods within earshot of these bells were the heart of Cockney-speaking, working class London. In its courtyard, Americans may be surprised to see a statue to John Smith, the founder of Virginia and a national hero.

Insider's tip #2 On the second floor of One New Change, there are free public bathrooms, open seven days a week. (You may laugh now, but wait until you're visiting London and fumbling through your pockets for a 50p coin to activate the door on a public loo.)

MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL

Readers' Choice: What's the most beautiful city in the world?

London hotels: Want that towel? You have to pay $2.40

World's best new boutique hotels under $150

Keep reading
Travel Tips

How to fight a cold on the fly

Having a head cold on a plane may make you contemplate the guillotine. But you can reduce the severity of the symptoms by trying these "counter measures" from the American Pharmacists Association: • Drain a glass of water before your flight takes off. Dry air in an airplane cabin generally aggravates cold symptoms. Fight this problem by drinking a lot of non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic beverages while on board, too. Yes, staying hydrated on a flight can be inconvenient. But when you're congested, changes in cabin pressure can spark intense pain in your sinuses, and the resulting discomfort can last for days afterward. You won't regret the hassle of drinking up. • Don't overeat. Sorry to break the bad news, but there's no scientific support to grandma's saying, "Feed a cold and starve a fever." • Don't assume your local pharmacy knows what Tylenol is. Pack an emergency stash of medicine for your trip. If you have to seek help at a local pharmacy, try to do some Internet research about the names of medicines in advance. Tip: In Europe, the generic pain reliever acetaminophen goes by the name of paracetamol. • Don't speak the local language well? Be careful. Drugs that can only be sold with a prescription in the U.S. (because of the potential for accidental misuse) are often available over the counter in foreign countries. Don't be intimidated by a pharmacist. Insist that he or she accurately understands what your symptoms are and what health conditions you may have before you agree to his or her recommendations. • Alternative, or complementary, treatments are more generally accepted abroad. Don't be surprised if a pharmacist suggests you try a homeopathic treatment that's unfamiliar. • Decongestants often go by different names overseas. In Europe, for instance, the decongestant pseudoephedrine (used in American drugs like Sudafed) is seldom sold over the counter. Ask your pharmacist for their preferred option. Finally, a Budget Travel tip: Never let a pharmacist talk you into buying more drugs and products than you want. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 7 Ways Doctors Stay Healthy on Vacation Health Products That Could Save Your Trip Are Health-conscious Cruises All the Rage?

Travel Tips

Would you pay extra for an allergy-free room?

Have you ever had trouble getting a good night's sleep in a hotel room because your allergies were acting up? Well, you may be able to breath a little more easily, now that Hyatt Hotels & Resorts has announced it will be outfitting all 125 of its full-service U.S., Canadian, and Caribbean properties with hypoallergenic Respire rooms. The rooms are geared toward travelers with asthma, allergies, and other respiratory sensitivities (more than half the U.S. population has tested positive for one or more allergens, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology), but they'll work just as well for anyone who just wants a better breathing environment. In the past few years, other hotel chains have introduced similar rooms (Wyndham and NYLO, among others) but none to the extent that Hyatt is planning. Respire rooms are currently available to book in 65 Hyatt properties; by year's end it should have a total of 2,000 of the allergy-friendly rooms spread across its Hyatt Resorts, Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt, and Andaz brands. How do they work? Each room undergoes a comprehensive, multistep process, implemented by New York–based company Pure Solutions, that involves sanitizing the air unit, treating all surfaces and fabrics to minimize allergens and irritants, installing a medical-grade air purifier, and covering mattresses and pillows with encasings designed to keep allergens out. Huh? Pure Solutions explains the process and science on its website behind it much better than I can here. The result is a room designed to eliminate up to 98 percent of airborne viruses and bacteria, along with pollen and other irritants. I know what you're thinking: Will you feel like you're staying in a hotel, or in a sterilized hospital? It's a valid question; steps other hotels have taken to reduce allergens have included removing carpeting and soft surfaces and replacing them with wood flooring and leather- and vinyl-clad furniture. But the Pure Solutions process is so thorough that those actions aren't needed at Hyatt properties. Your Respire room will feel just as cozy in decor and atmosphere as any other room in that particular hotel. In fact, the only visible difference will be the presence of the air purifier. The rooms, of course, don't come without a price; expect to pay $20 to $30 more for a Respire room. Would you pay a little extra to get a good night's sleep? More from Budget Travel 4 ways to get a free hotel room this fall Nothing to sneeze at: Allergy-free hotel rooms Have a Green Stay America's favorite hotel chains London hotels: Want that towel? You have to pay $2.40

Travel Tips

4 ways to get a free hotel room this fall

Check out these off-season hotel promos to snag a bonus night free. Country Inns & Suites If you stay at a Country Inns & Suites property soon—specifically, Sunday through Thursday by November 21—you can receive an instant bonus of 15,000 points in the GoldPoints Plus loyalty program. That bonus alone is enough to give you a free night's stay at another Country Inns & Suites. Reservations must be made three days in advance. Read more about the bonus offer here. Hyatt Packages that include a bonus night free are available at 21 Hyatt properties around the U.S. for stays now thorough the end of the year. For example, when you stay three nights at the Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa, a fourth night is free. And as a bonus bonus, a free room upgrade and free daily breakfast for two are included in the deal. Browse the package options and particulars here. Westin Pay for two nights at a Westin hotel in the U.S., Canada, or Aruba, and a third night is free. Pay for four nights at some hotels, and two additional nights are free. The offer is valid for guests arriving on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday through December 31, 2010, and to get the free days bookings must be prepaid—with no changes or cancellations possible. Check out other details and browse participating properties here. Wyndham Now through the end of 2011, when you stay three consecutive nights at many Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, you'll get a fourth night free. Participating resorts include properties all over the U.S., and several in the Caribbean and Mexico. Read more about fourth-night free offers here. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Chain Hotels With Style Resorts Within Reach: Best of the U.S. The Breakdown on 8 Membership Programs

Travel Tips

Controversy: Are you the cause of 'sidewalk rage'?

Cities love tourists for the money they bring to the local economy, and yet the locals often hate how visitors clog the streets and sidewalks. One city wants to do something about it. The city is London, and the specific street in question is popular Oxford Street. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the tactic being suggested is an unofficial line to segregate store browsers and travelers shuffling underneath the burden of heavy backpacks to half of the sidewalk closest to the buildings and shops, and to reserve the sidewalk's outside edge as a fast lane to be utilized by anyone -- locals, most likely -- walking with more of a sense of mission. How would the system be enforced? Actually, it wouldn't, not in any official capacity anyway. There wouldn't be fines or any repercussions for absentmindedly strolling or even for standing still and yakking away on a cell phone on the "fast" side of the sidewalk. But local area maps would advise travelers to stick to the slow side, and a team of neighborhoods hosts in red caps may approach slow walkers and "put visitors in their place, tactfully," as the Journal writes. if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('2f2f6e50-f0f3-4363-a6e5-2fcecab4c7a4');Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)The concept is only in the proposal stages, and it is a tricky business, obviously: Cities such as London, as well as New York, Paris, and others, certainly don't want to make tourists feel even the slightest bit unwelcomed. On the other hand, it'd be nice to be able to walk to work without having to weave and maneuver among a crush of travelers and browsers shuffling, pausing, and otherwise obstructing foot traffic. Staffers at Budget Travel's New York City office, which is near Times Square and where I've heard the phrase "sidewalk rage" used more than once, understand this as well as anyone. But is there a smarter solution than the one being proposed in London? If an invisible line down the sidewalk seems off-putting, what might work instead? Or should the locals simply suck it up, and accept that sidewalk congestion is the tradeoff for being a popular tourist hub?

ADVERTISEMENT