Personally my order of zones for London would be Mayfair/Soho, Westminster, Bloomsbury/Marble Arch and then Kensington. Re prices, I think your chances of getting a 5* at $85 are extremely slim. Cheapest I've seen them go for was $95 as that was before the recent strengthening of sterling. Good luck and I hope you enjoy your visit :)
I had similar issues with bidding 5* today in New York. Every bid went to email response, and on a few occassions I received the usual email and found out that my bid had been rejected, while priceline was telling me it was still searching in another window!
I was able to book the Renaissance Orlando Resort for the equivalent of $69 for my trip in December. Although I did try and bid lower, this appears to be the priceline rate for this hotel. Not sure about what room/view we will be allocated, but I plan to ask nicely for an Atrium view when I check-in.
I was lucky enough to get this hotel back in May for $65 even when availability was really tight due to the LA Screenings (website rate $295 prepaird). I found that the vacation product served as a good indicator for when priceline had access to inventory. When there were no 4*s showing for my dates my bids of up to $100 failed - as soon as the Park Hyatt appeared available on vacation product, I was able to secure the booking at the then standard rate. No idea what triggerred the hotel releasing inventory, but I would keep checking. If it is showing as available on the vacation product, then I don't have a clue what is going on.
Been trying to get this weekend for a while, but there are some big conferences on so availability has been tight. Previously no 4* in this area have come up when using the Vacation planner as an availability indicator - but checked this morning and saw the Park Hyatt as an option. "won" on first bid - although judging by the tax it looks like I overpaid as the room cost priceline
Check-In Date: Saturday, May 24 2003 Check-Out Date: Sunday, May 25 2003 Hotel Name: Courtyard by Marriott Toronto Downtown Your offer price: $30 Number of Rooms: 1 Number of Nights: 1 Subtotal: $30 Processsing Fee: $5.95 Local Taxes and Fees: $1.48 Total Charges: $37.43
Check-In Date: Monday, May 12 Check-Out Date: Tuesday, May 13 Hotel Name: The Westin Los Angeles Airport Your offer price: $48 Number of Rooms: 1 Number of Nights: 1 Subtotal: $48 Processing Fee: $5.95 Local Taxes and Fees: $6.65 Total Charges: $60.60