Among the many destinations to which I travel on business, I’m always most excited when London calls. Aside from my hometown of San Francisco, it’s my favourite city in the world.
I’m heading back
over the pond later this week, and it got me thinking about all of the city’s
I’m hypnotized by
British Airways’ futuristic, aquarium-like Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport, and I always try to arrive early
(on the equally impressive 15-minute Heathrow Express train) to soak it all in.
I’ll never forget roaring into Heathrow on one of the Concorde’s
last trans-Atlantic flights on a snowy night in 2003.
I love watching the
well-dressed, purposeful executives strut around London City airport and imagining
what they do and where they are going. My first overseas flight from the US
arrived at Gatwick Airport, which remains near and dear to my heart, even
though it’s been years since I’ve flown through it.
I remember the
amazement I felt when I took the Eurostar through the Channel Tunnel after it
first opened in 1994 -- for a lunch meeting Paris -- something unheard of
The dynamic London
hotel scene is endlessly fascinating to me. Unlike other countries, London is
not dominated by giant hotel brands so there are plenty of experimental and
quirky places to check out. Over the last 25 years, I’ve slept in nearly every
layer of the London hotel hierarchy, from backpacker hostels along the King’s
Road in Chelsea to charming B&Bs in Earl’s Court, small row house hotels
in Paddington to skyscrapers along Park Lane. British hospitality always seems
to get it right when it comes to taking care of business travellers, even
though London is outlandishly expensive in comparison to most other cities.
London’s food scene
has also come a long way since the Cornish pasties, curries, ploughman’s
lunches and treacle tarts that I loved back in the day. Over the last 20 years
the city’s culinary clout has exploded and now rivals any other city in the
world -- even San Francisco.
This year, all eyes
are going to be on London with the Queen’s Diamond
Jubilee in early June and the 2012 Summer
Olympic Games between late July
and early August. And a lot of burnishing, polishing and preparing has taken place
since I last visited.
So I could use your
help for my trip later this week. I’m certain nearly every BBC reader has been
there -- or at least dreamt of being there recently -- and I’d like to hear your
I put out a call
for tips and advice when I went to
India last year, and your input was invaluable to my trip and subsequent
reporting. This time I’m looking for
tips and advice for business travellers to London. What are the hot new
business hotels? What’s new on the dining scene and where should I take clients
out for a memorable business meal? What’s going on after hours that a business
traveller might like to do? Is there anything new or exciting at the airports
that I need to see?
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comments and advice on our Facebook page or send me an email and then keep an eye out for my future posts about
McGinnis is the business travel columnist for BBC Travel