You’ve done it all before, so what’s new and next?
If you’re a professional gent with forever air miles and strong international ties, chances are you’ll find yourself in London on copious occasions. Last time you maxed out plastic at Harrods, fell asleep on the London Eye, and ducked selfie-sticks at Buckingham Palace. Now you’re back, it’s time to enjoy everything the glorious city has to offer like a local British gentleman. Here’s how to scratch below the surface.
Stop buying souvenirs
Union Jack ties were cute for the first visit, but now you’re stepping up your British wardrobe. Head over to Ted Baker’s flagship store in Covent Garden for quality men’s tailoring, as well as Ted’s Grooming Room, dedicated to lads who take care of themselves. Here you can book haircuts and shop the range which includes Ted’s Grooming Room Cologne inspired by the traditional Turkish aftershave. Burberry’s flagship on Regent Street is the place to pick up a trench, and Carnaby Street is where all the cool kids go for fashion such Replay and Liam Gallagher’s Pretty Green.
East London is the new Silicon Valley and it’s time to venture outside Mayfair, gents. Five-star glory in Shoreditch comes in the shape of The Curtain. With 120 guest rooms and suites, the majestic Curtain Road building includes our favorite, the Terrace Suite. You’ll retire in the spacious hideaway which feels more like a luxury London apartment with hotel perks. The space is surprisingly tranquil despite being part members club, part hotel in a busy tech and creative district, meaning you’ll get quality Z’s and wake up for business refreshed, perhaps enjoying a coffee on the outside terrace. Subtle rock star décor and high-tech Marshall speakers initiate play for those seeking down time, and a Moroccan-style pool on the sixth floor evokes memories of Soho House Manhattan. It’s heated, so can be enjoyed during winter months, lined with tinkering lights, and overlooks east London business blocks – so expect plenty a smug feeling as you retire back on your lounger while the other side work.
Want to eat in Vogue Man style? First on your hit list should be Thomas’s Café, hidden within Burberry’s flagship, so you have somewhere to refuel after finding the perfect trench. The quintessentially British all-day dining destination spans two floors, has impeccably dressed staff (think Burberry lads with trays), and serves incredible seasonal dishes including Norfolk lamb and roasted deer. Still gagging for fish and chips? Switch that for Lobster & Chips instead – you’ll never be able to go back. Alternatively, join the chic over at 34 Mayfair for the city’s greatest brunch. Our stand-out dish is waffles with foie gras, paired with butter leaf and avocado salad, and washed down with a café latte milkshake. Save room for dessert because the sundaes are huge, and come with camera roll space because everything from plate to wall is worth a thousand photos. Brunch is served 11.30am to 5pm every weekend.
Do tea in the sky
Why tea on land when you can have it in the sky? The Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard has a beautiful contemporary afternoon tea featuring fresh English scones, classic sandwiches, and unforgettable sweets. You’ll sip on a brew and enjoy breathtaking views of the city that never rests, let alone sleeps. Another high tea with views is Savage Garden, not quite as far up as the Shangs but down-to-earth and fun with views of Tower Bridge. Savage Tea ‘caged’ savories are alternative and include sweet potato sliders and beef wasabi sandwiches, and the sweets are big and juicy. Grab a terrace seat in the summer and make pals with the staff – you’ll be a regular.
Climb a monument, then see a show in it
Live Nation UK regularly announces big tours from British and international artists which don’t often fly out to the Middle East, as well as sporting, comedy, and special events, so whether you’re a fan of Jessie J or NBA you’ll have something to look forward to. The O2 Arena has become so iconic over the years that people are signing up to climb over it. You can sign up to Up At The O2 for an exhilarating 90-minute climb up and over the roof. Expect fabulous picture opps and a big adrenaline rush before your gig.
Be part of the spectacle
Londoners love getting immersive and joining the show, rather than just playing spectator. If traveling with friends, check out The Crystal Maze, a game show that you star in yourself complete with a host. Secret Cinema is nice if you’re traveling solo, want to dress up and play with other movie buffs (we hear the next one is action-film themed). And finally, if you land in the summer, then party, eat, and drink like you’re on a Greek island with the Mamma Mia! The Party cast.
Meet gorgeous locals
Balthazar is where central city folk head to while away the night and here you’ll find the most glam of It crowds. Celebrity fans of the elegant bistro and bar include Sienna Miller and the Beckhams, so you know you’re in good company from the moment you walk through the door. Pull up a chair at the counter, enjoy the evening buzz, and nibble on amazing escargots – oh la la! If you’re staying put east, loosen up in one of the South Place Hotel’s enchanting bars. There’s the Angler Terrace which is a fairytale wonderland, a more relaxed and quieter setting to sit back with a beverage among pals, and the Secret Garden, full of lush palm trees under a retractable roof to create holiday memories under.
Find business space
Whether you’re on business or just need to brainstorm, you’ll need a quiet and inviting workspace to focus and get those creative juices flowing. Enter H Club London, a seven-storey private members club. The sheer number of facilities means that it’s a one-stop shop for all your business needs, whether it’s a team lunch, client presentation, or sit-alone work space. There is also a branch in Los Angeles if you happen to frequently travel between the two cities.
You don’t have to rush around to squeeze in sights this time, so it’s perfectly fine to devote half a day to some pampering. Back at The Curtain, the Wellness Centre provides a little underground sanctuary, with spa treatments including sports massage, cupping, and reflexology. The Dorchester in Hyde Park also has a wide selection of ‘Treatments For Him’ including the La Prairie Cellular Energizing Back Ritual, an intensive treatment for your entire back, while Hyde Park’s Mandarin Oriental offers Chinese medicine remedies.
For something different, then try Infrared Sauna at Glow Bar London, where you’ll sweat to heal your skin and glow with radiance, as well as get a better night’s sleep, while on the other end of the spectrum London Cyro can blast you with ice to energize your physique and get you pumped for London wanderings. Spoilt for choice? You’ll need another trip to London.