London’s once buoyant financial sector took a beating during the credit crisis, but the city has been showing signs of recovery: This past April, the market recorded its biggest monthly gain in six years. This is also good news for London’s key industries: advertising, tourism and other areas of the service economy—and then there’s the economic potential of the 2012 Olympics.
Heathrow is big, busy and sometimes bewildering—but you have to admit it has some fantastic shopping. While the value of the pound is low, buying is particularly attractive.
A contemporary take on the classic Edwardian hotel, the elegant, comfortable and businesslike Cadogan Hotel (75 Sloane St., +44 20 7235 7141) enjoys a wonderful location between Knightsbridge and Sloane Square. The famed department store Harrods is a short walk away.
The Reading Room at Claridge’s (opens 7 a.m., 53 Brook St., Mayfair, +44 207 409 6307) has perfected the power breakfast in a superb art-deco setting. Afternoon tea is also recommended.
Greenhouse (27a Hays Mews, Mayfair, +44 20 7499 3331) is recently refurbished, with a restfully lovely interior and exceptional, eclectic food from talented chef Antoin Bonnet.
Weather permitting, pick up a picnic at Fortnum & Mason (or even Marks & Spencer) and head for one of London’s most wonderful green spaces, Hampstead Heath. Or try to catch an authentic Shakespeare performance at the Globe Theatre.
The British are experts when it comes to understatement and irony; in particular, take note of what is not said during negotiations. Humor (jokes, stories, sarcasm) may play a bigger part in discussions than you’d expect—but this does not mean your English colleagues are not taking the business at hand seriously. Final decisions will be bluntly expressed.
• Preparations for the 2012 Olympics and sports in general: cricket, soccer and rugby are popular, especially the London teams.
• London food (now excellent, but hasn’t always been so) and local beer.
• There’s always that great British standby: the weather.