Forget the big stuffy international hotels and book yourself into the Christian Lacroix designed Petit Moulin in the Mariais. It is a charming little hotel in a 17th century building that used to be a boulangerie and still has the old signage. There is wireless internet in all the rooms, and you are right in the heart of a very trendy district full of design shops and art galleries – getting into town isn’t difficult and the extra minutes spent traveling are well worth it for staying in such an original place, with none of the hollow impersonality of larger hotels.
Hotel prices in Paris aren't cheap. In fact, they are surprisingly expensive. My recommendation would be to check in to smaller boutique hotels which may be just away from the main tourist attractions/streets. Take the hotel Vernet as an example. Just a few steps away from the Champs Elysee but benefits from great interiors and a equally great location.
Why not try hotels down near Battery Park or in the Financial District and commute by subway/taxi to Midtown? Typically hotels can be half the price outside Times Square and environs, and often 'try harder' to impress guests. Also, the Hyatt just across the Hudson is another great option - right next to the PATH train and also has a water-taxi service to Manhattan close by. Again, it is often less than half the price of equivalent city hotels, and has a stunning view of the city as your night-time panorama!
The Carlton on Madison is a great hotel in brilliant location in Manhattan. The standard classic rooms are incredibly comfortable with plenty of space. An added bonus is the Penhaligons toiletries in your room. Getting around is easy - the subway is one block away and buses uptown go from across the road. The hotel is also in easy walking distance of the midtown shops on 5th Avenue.
88 Madison AvenueNew York NY 10016 Phone: 1-212-532-4100
Staying in the Financial District is definitely much cheaper than staying in the midtown area. Especially over the weekend as prices drop significantly! It's a quiet tube ride away and nowhere near as busy. In addition the staff are much nicer and go out of their way to help you.
Financial District, Battery Park
Reality was nicer than pictures. Really quiet hotel (rooms 1,2), which is not so usual in Rome. Lots of restaurants outside. We found the Hotel Felice to be very conveniently located between the termini and the metro stops. The staff, particularly Mario (at the desk) were friendly and helpful. Great staff and location.
When coming from London to NYC it'd be rude not to stay in The London, just to be able to confuse people back home. Lovely new hotel on W54th and 7th, perfectly located for an early morning jog round Central Park before meetings in the day, and real handy for 5th Avenue shopping and Broadway shows. Friendly staff and probably the best concierge in town. They also have Gordon Ramsey's restaurant there, and he does room service... so stick it on expenses and have a real treat.
West 54th St New York
New York City is THE city, it's got its reputation and it's always the one place I'm excited about visiting. Every visit is different and the city is constantly changing, there is so much to do and see!
It's one of those cities that on your first visit can be pretty daunting, so I thought I'd pop together a couple of tips that can help you on your first visit.
Leaving or Departing the City
JFK is normally my airport of choice but there's really not much in it. The easiest way into the city is to jump in a yellow cab, it costs a $45 flat rate, plus tips and tolls. Upon making your way to the taxi line you'll be offered all sorts of bus and limo services, ignore them, it's only the cabs that are properly licenced for this. You can of course also book your own car, I do this for the return back to the airport using Dial 7 who charge a decent rate and use fairly new sedans.
New York has so many hotels, so find one that's close to where you're going to be based. I normally use The London, which is well located on West 54th street, not far from the park and Times Square. It's a lovely new hotel with one of the best concierges in town. It's also home to Gordon Ramsey's restaurant, which is perfect for that dinner on expenses... But if you're paying yourself, go at lunch time, same food, half the price. Yum yum.
You could write a book on the places to eat in New York… in fact, hundreds of books are already out there, but for my money the top places for a business lunch or dinner are: Gordon Ramsey at The London, The River Café in Brooklyn, Prune for Brunch in The East Village and The Spotted Pig in the West Village. The Spotted Pig is probably the best Gastro Pub in New York, and a perfect places for fans of meat! The River Café has a simple but beautiful menu and offers incredible views over the river to downtown NYC… ask for a window table. Gordon Ramsey I've mentioned above and Prune is a delightful little local place that does THE best brunch in the city in my view... Complete with a huge menu of Bloody Marys. Get there early though or be prepared to wait an hour or so. Just down the road from Prune is Katz Deli which is always rammed and a classic NY food experience - give it a go.
If you're not too busy then why not pick up a jogging map from your hotel concierge and take a run round the park to stay in shape. I also love going to the Top Of The Rock at the Rockefeller Building, giving you stunning views of the city and especially usefully in getting to know it in your head if you’re a first time visitor. You can see where everything is and get a rough idea of distances. 5th Avenue is probably your best place for shopping with plenty of places to visit, including the maddening Abercrombie and Fitch which will give you a headache. But you can get your stuff much cheaper from there than in the UK. Department store-wise I find Bloomingdales always serves me best. Don't forget to go shopping in the village as well, Spring Street has some classic locations where you can find the most random of things. If you get a chance to see a Broadway show, rock up to the TKTS half price booth in Times Square and get into a show on the cheap. Spring Awakening seems to be one of the best shows on at the moment. And if you're there on a Friday you can pop into many of the big museums for free, MoMA being a great one to kill a few hours in.
The best thing about New York is that there is always something new, and it's the one place I've never got bored in despite many trips. So make the most of it.
The new place for doing business is the Bandra Kurla Complex; the Grand Hyatt is five minutes away and is very good, with an Italian restaurant that serves excellent pizza. The area’s a bit grungy but the hotel has its own ten-acre plot and once inside it has everything you’d want – including faxes in the rooms and Wi-Fi.
This is a fantastic hotel on the outskirts of Lorca. Hard to find (particularly at 1am!) but well worth it. Breakfast is fantastic, the rooms (only about 40 of them) are lovely and there are two swimming pools set in beautiful gardens. The best thing is hardly any English people seem to stay there! Ask for a room at the rear, overlooking the pool and gardens. Oh, air conditioning too and all for about £70 a night (early July, breakfast extra - about 6 euros).
The hotel Laura in Madrid is a great place for families in the very centre of this wonderful city. Modern and comfortable design, friendly staff and affordable. It's just a B&B so you have to explore the city for food. Go to the Latina district for tapas and avoid the Plaza Mayor for overpriced and badly cooked food.
If you're just in Mumbai for the day, passing through, stay at the Leela. It's a good five-star hotel two minutes from the international airport. Mumbai is a fantastic city but traffic can be a problem so if you don't have to journey into her, don't.
London hotels aren't as stuffy and formal as they used to be and you can find a selection of stylish designer ones in the west end. One Aldwych is great. It has plenty of facilities – business centre, gym, scrummy room service – and some attractive minimalist décor. It also has a lobby bar and pool (quite rare for London). If you're feeling particularly extravagant you can book Suite 410, 500 or the Dome Suite, all of which have private gyms and spectacular views of the London skyline.
Another great West End hotel worth paying a trip to is St Martins Lane. This one was famously designed by Philipp Starck and it has a really brilliant restaurant – Asia de Cuba. Its bar, Light Bar, is where all the beautiful people hang out and the basement houses an exclusive private members club (Bungalow 8).
You'll find Baglioni’s opposite Kensington Palace and Hyde Park. It's no wonder this place is popular with A-list celebrities and other glitterati. The Royal Suite is an extraordinary 2584 square feet and quite possibly the most divine hotel room in London.
The number of hotels serving Canary Wharf has doubled in the past year with hotels available to suit all budgets.
Located in London's East End both the Travelodge (www.travelodge.co.uk) and Holiday Inn Express (www.holidayinn.co.uk) serve Canary Wharf via a complimentary 15 minute minibus route (usually morning and evenings only). Prices start from around GBP65 and therefore the hotels make a perfect stop for the budget-conscious traveller.
Advantages - cheap and cheerful. Typically relatively new and situated around the Excel exhibition centre so good for attendees to this and Canary Wharf
Disadvantages - Poorly connected to the City (taxi, bus or DLR are your only options) and not much to do in the evening.
Located across the river in Rotherhithe, the Hilton Docklands is not so much in the Docklands as overlooking. Access to the hotel is by free shuttle bus from the nearby Canada Water station (5 min bus ride). Access to Canary Wharf can be achieved via aforementioned shuttle service to the tube and then one stop on the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf or via the boat service which operated throughout the day from the hotel and stopping at the west side of Canary Wharf.
Advantages - Parking can be included in the room rate, prices start from around GBP90 a night. Can be particularly cheap for weekend breaks if you would like to extend your stay.
Disadvantages - Not well connected. Access via shuttle bus to tube or by boat.
When staying at the super slick and eco-friendly Andaz Hotel (formerly the Great Eastern) in Liverpool, book Urban Gentry - insider tour guides and get a real insight into the fashion (or art) tribes of East London. The hotel also has it's own Reader in Residence to tell you bedtime stories, or read you a precis of the day's news.
Andaz, Liverpool Street
Boutique design hotel off the Ku'damm. Unfortunately we cancelled our romantic break there a month in advance in accordance with all published conditions and have been billed anyway. The staff cite cancellation requirements that are not published anywhere or mentioned in the confirmation email and refuse to show any flexibility.
Guardian article: www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2006/may/21/germany.worldcup2006travelguide.hotels
Hotel website: www.loock-hotels.com
Prague is one of the most beautiful European capitals. I travel here quite often for business. My last choice was Andel Hotel (four stars) which was designed by design studio Jestico + Whiles. I like the modern and clean style. I fall in love in this hotel. Opposite there is a shopping mall and good restaurants are also nearby. The services are great and they have multilingual friendly staff. They have a very fast internet connection too.
I have also stayed at Hotel Tranzit (four stars) which is situated at the airport area. You can book it just for a few hours and relax! Modern, clean and super services. I can recommend these two hotels.
LangiLangi Beach Bungalows is located in Nungwi and is one of the best hotels in the area. The restaurant serves the best food in Nungwi and the staff are just excellent. The pool and beach are the best part of the hotel.
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