Almost Home: Finding a Rental for Royal Wedding
The news isn't good so far, dearies. Not unless you are willing to give the money tree a good shake.Our initial research was promising. We (and that would be the royal "we") found several private homes in the offing near Westminster Abbey, site of the ceremony, and Buckingham Palace, that big catering hall hosting the receptions.
Our bargain-beholding peepers nearly burst out of their sockets when we spotted an ad boasting of a "superior" triple studio with sofa bed going for between 490 pounds ($788) and 595 pounds ($957) for the week around Prince William and Kate Middleton's April 29 wedding. Compared to a local hotel room, which you won't be able to get anyway, that's a steal. We inquired. Then our hope stiffened like the Queen's upper lip. WalletPop received this from a bloke named Jonathan: "I have been receiving many offers for the triple studios for these dates and will be accepting the highest offer."
What's a triple studio anyway?
This intrepid WalletPopper continued, tasting brief if ever so sweet victory when I spotted a one-bedroom between 1,050 pounds ($1,689) and 1,895 pounds ($3,048). Given that it sleeps four, that could be a reasonable share for a Windsor-obsessed quartet. Alas, we didn't hear back.
The great gouge-fest has begun in London. Apartments are expected to go for three or four times their normal price, according to the Associated Press. WalletPop estimates more, given its research and that a half-million foreigners are expected with 120,000 hotel rooms nearly booked. The British economy hasn't exactly been peaches, has it? So folks are going to capitalize, especially homeowners who could care less about the Royals. It's sort of a dress rehearsal for London's 2012 Olympics, when gold-medal price-inflation will win the day.
But all is not lost, angst-ridden Anglophiles. If you can get a flight for less than a king's ransom and bunch together to divide the costs once you arrive, the digs are there. I saw plenty of other homes for a week or two's rent on major UK housing sites such as londonrentmyhouse.com and homeaway.co.uk. Unfortunately, the three or four other dwellings I inquired about did not return my emails. Perhaps owners were loath to speak to a lowly Yank blogger.
I spotted a Canary Wharf one-bedroom listed at between 413 pounds and 840 pounds a week ($664 to $1,351), a three-bedroom flat in Notting Hill (price not revealed) and a three-bedroom house (again, no price available) in Kings Cross with a garden, which is perhaps the only thing more British than a royal wedding.
Discouraged but not defeated, we revisited the home-trading option. Sue Welham, spokeswoman for homeexchangenow.co.uk, told WalletPop, "We do have some members who are offering to exchange their homes for the Royal Wedding."
Now there's just the wee problem of living in a town where your exchange-mates want to visit.
Maybe it's a long shot to attend on the cheap, but Prince William and Kate Middleton are expecting you -- you being a commoner of uncommon determination.