Five hotels in central London, trying to win back Americans deterred by a weaker dollar and the Gulf war, are giving the dollar parity with the pound.

A room at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in the Hyde Park section, for example, previously quoted at //L160 - about $320 at recent exchange rates - can be had for $160.The other hotels are the Athenaeum in Mayfair; the Gloucester, Kensington; Royal Garden, Hyde Park, and White House, Regent's Park. All five are members of the Rank Hotels group.

The program, which calls for a minimum two-night stay, is available through Aug. 31, provided reservations are made by April 30 and full payment made 14 days before arrival. The offer is not available during the Wimbledon tennis tournament, June 24-July 7.

Examples of the pound-for-a-dollar rates supplied by Rank include: $105 for a single room and $118 for a double at the White House; $185 for a double with park view at the Royal Garden, and $334 for a suite at the Gloucester.

Rates include all taxes. An official said all the hotels have air-conditioning, cable television, minibars and room service. Information: (800) 223-5560.

At a slow time for air travel, London's third major airport, Stansted, will be officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on Friday.

Stansted, which is 37 miles northeast of London, has been expanded to ease the normally busy traffic at Heathrow and Gatwick. Initially, the new airport will serve routes within Britain and on the Continent.

A direct rail link between Liverpool Street railroad station in London and Stansted is due to begin March 19. The journey will take 41 minutes; service will be every 30 minutes. One-way, about $17; round trip, $34.


The Danish home of Baroness Karen Blixen, who wrote the autobiographical "Out of Africa" and other books under the name Isak Dinesen, is to be opened to the public as the Karen Blixen Museum.

The house called Rungstedlund in Rungsted, about 15 miles north of Copenhagen, is where Karen Blixen was born in 1885 and died in 1962. Queen Margrethe of Denmark will open the museum officially on May 14. Until now the garden but not the house has been open to visitors.

The author, who lived on a coffee plantation in East Africa from 1914 until 1931, wrote many of her books at the house, which overlooks Rungsted's harbor.

The museum will be open daily from May 15 through Sept. 30, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and daily except Tuesday Oct. 1 to April 30, 1992, 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is $5.