At The Savoy—Strand, concierge Toru Machida has spent 15 years guiding visitors to the best sights and eats in Britain’s capital city. Here he offers expert guidance for business travelers.
What should business travelers pack when visiting your city?
Bring wet-weather gear that’s easy to carry. Pack comfortable shoes for walking city streets. And don’t forget your mobile phone charger. Your smartphone is your camera and city map, as well as your telephone—and it’s only useful when charged.
What are your top restaurant recommendations for a business lunch or dinner?
The Corbin & King portfolio of restaurants offers delicious and reliable dining options all around the city. But if you want to be on the leading edge of a dining trend, try Margot (5 Great Queen St., Covent Garden, London, WC2B 5AA; Ph: +44 0 203 409 4777), the brainchild of former Bar Boulud maitre d’ Paulo de Tarso and the former manager at La Petite Maison, Nicolas Jaouën. The just-opened Italian restaurant already is generating plenty of buzz.
What’s one thing that always surprises guests about your hotel?
The Savoy’s rich history stretches back to 1889, and our museum is a hidden gem within the hotel. It documents interesting and important moments through photographs and archival objects. Look for Marlene Dietrich’s guest card, showing her request that 12 pink roses and a bottle of Dom Perignon be in her room upon arrival.
If business travelers only have a few hours for leisure, what must they see in your city?
Stroll through Covent Garden Piazza. This former fruit and vegetable market made famous by the opening scene in “My Fair Lady” is a destination for food lovers and shopping enthusiasts.
What’s the best option for outdoor exercise in your city?
Walk or jog along the River Thames. Or take advantage of Santander Cycles, London’s self-service, bike-sharing scheme for short journeys. Rides start at £2.
Concierge Toru Machida’s top tips for getting business right in London:
Tip 1: Be punctual. Show up for business meetings and restaurant reservations on time. Most restaurants won’t accommodate latecomers.
Tip 2: ”Smart casual” is the appropriate attire for most businesses, but research the culture of offices you’ll be visiting. Business suits are still the norm for some sectors, such as finance.
Tip 3: Don’t greet people you just met with a hug or kiss. Handshakes are appropriate.