London is a city that attracts millions of business and leisure travelers each year from around the world. To help make doing business a pleasure when visiting England’s capital city, The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences (116 Piccadilly, Tel: +020-7499-3464. www.athenaeumhotel.com) provides everything a busy executive needs. During a recent visit, my partner and I booked a Green Park Suite overlooking the expansive park where one can take a stroll and be at Buckingham Palace in a matter of minutes.
Whether you happen to receive an invitation to join the Royal Family for tea, or you just want to take some selfies to share on social media, The Athenaeum’s location affords guests easy access to many of London’s top attractions and neighborhoods.
The first thing we like to do in the morning, before checking our e-mails or heading out for appointments, is to get a good workout. The on-site gym at The Athenaeum is a convenient and wonderful way to keep in shape. When the weather is good, we also suggest heading to Green Park, St James’s Park, or Hyde Park, which are all within walking distance of the hotel. With a total of 465 acres where you can ride a bike, go horseback riding, or run, you will also be able to enjoy some of the most beautiful outdoor space in the city. The concierge will provide you all the information you need, and the hotel has their own ‘Guest Jogging Map’ with suggested routes.
Afterward, head for the dining room and partake of a delicious, healthy breakfast. Served from 7 – 11 A.M. you have a choice of the Full English Breakfast or the Continental Breakfast buffet with lots of low-fat options. These include Ann Forshaw’s Yoghurt with fresh berries, banana, maple syrup, and toasted hazelnuts; omelets with fresh herbs; and Galvin smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.
When it comes time to set up your meetings for the day, you have plenty of options at The Athenaeum. Our suite, with a separate living area, desk, table, and chairs, was perfect for a one-on-one with clients. The outdoor café is also a great place to meet, where you can talk and get acquainted over coffee, drinks, and snacks.
If you need additional services for doing business the hotel has you covered. Their private residences are ideal for guests looking for longer-term corporate hotel accommodation. In the Residences, you have the privacy of your own front door and discreet access to The Athenaeum Hotel where you have a variety of business options.
When hosting business meetings, conferences, and corporate events, the team at The Athenaeum will take care of all the arrangements. Whether you are planning a small board meeting or a launch event for 100, they have a great selection of spacious, air-conditioned meeting spaces with excellent acoustics and views over Mayfair’s Green Park.
Their corporate packages include a range of five-star services and amenities with large TVs, DVD players, and high-speed Wi-Fi all included as standard. They can also provide a range of equipment, printing, and administrative services.
When purchasing their corporate packages, you can expect to receive an array of services, including: welcome morning tea and coffee on arrival with cookies; midmorning refreshment break; lunch served in a meeting room or their restaurant; seasonal Afternoon Tea treats; meeting room hire and setup; and complimentary minibar, unlimited still and sparkling water, fresh seasonal fruit, and sweets.
They are serious when they say: “we believe in mixing business with pleasure.”
Following our tour of the hotel’s conference rooms and event spaces, we decided it was time to explore the neighborhood. Ask anyone on The Athenaeum team in the lobby for a map to get you started, but make sure to speak to Jim the doorman before you head out. Jim Gardner Burns has been with the hotel for 24 years, and he makes guests feel right at home. He always had a smile on his face and his love of people and London is apparent in his eagerness to share recommendations about how to best enjoy your time in London.
We told Jim that we wanted to visit the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) (Burlington House, Piccadilly. Tel: +020-7300-8000. www.royalacademy.org.uk), and he suggested we stroll along Piccadilly, stop at the famed Fortnum & Mason department store along the way, then on the way back go into Maison Assouline (196A Piccadilly. Tel: +020-3327-9370. www.assouline.com/london-piccadilly) to browse their excellent selection of books, art, and gifts, and enjoy a cocktail in this must-visit bookstore/café/bar. With a tip of his hat, he pointed us in the right direction, and we were off.
RA is just a short walk from the hotel, and it is one of the best places in the world to appreciate art and artists. The day we visited, we had the opportunity to see “David Hockney RA: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life.” This incredible exhibition featured friends, family, acquaintances, fellow artists, curators, and art collectors whose portraits he painted over a two-year period. Each work is the same size, showing his subject in the same chair, against the same vivid blue background, and all were painted in the same time frame of three days. The spirit and individuality of each of his subjects is captured perfectly in the subtle expressions that are unique to each person. Moving from portrait to portrait, then standing back and taking in the whole room, we smiled to ourselves in appreciation of what Hockney was able to accomplish and share with the public.
With the glow of magic hour fast approaching, and an inner glow courtesy of Hockney, we decided to head to Soho for sundowners at Balan’s Soho Café (34 Old Compton St. Tel: +020-7439-3309. www.balans.co.uk). With a great outdoor café for people watching in the heart of gay London, and some of the best comfort food in the city, we spent almost every night here. Their philosophy is also something to live by: “Too much of a good thing is a good thing, the best plan is no plan, and the pursuit of pleasure is a noble one.”
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