How to Make the Most of Business and Pleasure in London

From power lunches to power suits, we look at how you can mix business and pleasure in a city environment.

Brexit or no Brexit (dare we mention the ‘B-word’?), London is still a global city. Just ask the investors from South Korea and Hong Kong who recently bought Goldman Sach’s and UBS’s headquarters, respectively, and major corporations such as Chanel who have chosen to set up a global office in the capital.

A raft of international hotel chains including The Westin London City, The Standard London and Hard Rock Hotel have chosen to open new branches in the capital in 2019, too, proving business is booming.

It’s no wonder then, that Forbes recently rated the UK as No. 1 out of 161 countries for the second year running as best country for business, based on factors such as innovation, taxes, infrastructure and investor protection.

Whether you need a new suit or want to catch up on emails outside your hotel room, have a business breakfast or need to impress a client, London has somewhere for you.

Where to Get Kitted out in a Suit

As an experienced traveller, you’re used to managing with hand luggage, but if you’ve packed too light and need new business attire, then visit Savile Row in Mayfair. The street has been associated with tailoring since the early 1800s, and is still lined with tailors from The Savile Row Company to Alexander McQueen.

Savile Row, London, UK

The former lord’s townhouse Gieves & Hawkes was founded in the 1770s, so it has good pedigree. While it originally designed military uniforms, it has suited and booted esteemed clients including Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin. It also holds a Royal Warrant, which means it supplies the royal household—so wearing a suit from here is guaranteed to make a good impression. Bespoke designs take 12 weeks to create, but you can buy a ready-made two-piece suit from around £800.

Out of your budget? Then pop by T M Lewin. It sells accessories including ties, cufflinks and umbrellas, as well as mens’ and womenswear—a non-iron man’s shirt costs £45, while a woman’s stretch blouse is £40.

Phoebe Gormley, London, UK

If you find the womenswear selection too limited, then visit Gormley & Gamble—which describes itself as ‘Savile Row for women.’ Phoebe Gormley hit the jackpot when she formed the business, and now she designs just for women. If you’re looking for a hand-finished, silk-lined suit, you’ll find it here.

Enjoy a Power Lunch with Clients

If your day begins before 9 am, then head to the Riding House Café in Fitzrovia. If you’re alone and need to be quick, grab a coffee and sit at one of velvet stools at the counter. Or, if you have an early morning business meeting, you can linger over kedgeree or smoked salmon royale. Well-spaced tables and opaque windows provide privacy.

The Delaunay, London, UK

The Delaunay has marble floor, brass fittings and high ceilings, giving it a sense of occasion at any time of the day. Sit at the counter and take advantage of its free Wi-Fi while setting up for the day with eggs any style. The restaurant provides plenty of space between tables allowing privacy for business calls, or you can book the private 26-seat dining room.

Dining on expenses? Then book Les 110 de Taillevent in Marylebone for lunch or dinner. The sister venue of a two-Michelin star Parisian restaurant has counter seating, plenty of plug sockets and free Wi-Fi, as well as a lunch menu ranging between £23 and £28—dine on the terrace if it’s sunny. If you’re here to work—but not that hard—then book the private dining room and get stuck into its wine menu, which offers 110 wines by the glass.

Les 110 de Taillevent, London, UK

Come evening, if you need to impress a client then take them to Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill, which opened in 1916 in Mayfair. There’s a relaxing terrace, stools lining the marble-topped bar or  leather booths which have large tables – plenty of room for laptops and a more formal dining room.

Finding a Space to Catch up on Real Work

If you all you and your laptop need is a quiet space with free Wi-Fi, then get to work at the British Library. Regular visitors could consider annual membership (£80) to access the member’s room, but for a one-off you can work in one of its 11 reading rooms once you’ve registered online —with ID and proof of address—or work in one if its cafes. The library plays host to regular talks, workshops and one-to-one advice sessions on topics ranging from writing a business plan to building a brand and selling a new product. 

Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, London, UK

Bishopsgate Institute also has a free library. It welcomes laptops and offers free Wi-Fi and newspapers and current affairs magazines while you’re there. Or pop by Bulldog Edition, the café in Ace Hotel London Shoreditch instead—the hotel has free Wi-Fi throughout.

Now, all you have to do is make that deal!