5 ways to entertain business guests in the West End
Submitted by Catrin Fox on
Your big client is flying in for a meeting.
It's make or break time. You've got a great meeting room overlooking the West End. You've organised the agenda to perfection. The audiovisual equipment has been tested, the refreshments ordered. Your guests' overnight accommodation is sorted, and you've even arranged a pick-up from the airport. You're all ready to go.
But what happens after your meeting?
The experience doesn't end when you close the meeting room door. It's only right that you entertain visiting guests and if anything, that's when things can really make a difference. It's almost as nerve-wracking as having your mother-in-law to stay.
Happily, when it comes to corporate entertainment, London's got it down to a fine art. With that in mind, here are 5 ways to entertain business clients in the West End.
1.Catch a Show
It's not the most original idea on a visit to the West End, but you've got to agree, it's a must-do. Head to TicketMaster.co.uk for details of all the current shows, or if you need something more spontaneous, check out timeout.com or lastminute.com for last-second tickets. From Lion King to Wicked, there's a fantastic line-up of shows to suit pretty much every taste. You can pre-book drinks during the break to save queuing, or go one better by booking a corporate hospitality package, which can include anything from pre-show canapés and dinner to wardrobe tours and cast meet-and-greets.
2. Sail, See and Sup-Up!
Tick 3 must-dos off your list: dinner, sight-seeing and entertainment. With a Thames dinner cruise you can book a table for your group and sail past all the major sights, including the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, London Bridge and HMS Belfast. It's generally a smart affair, the cuisine is of a high standard and there's usually live music too. Or, if you've got a large enough group (typically 40 or more) you could really push the boat out by organising your own private hire.
3. Flirt with Lady Luck
Feeling lucky? Head to the fabulous Hippodrome Casino near historic Leicester Square. Open every night (and day) apart from Christmas, this is a cracking place to entertain guests. Spanning 5 floors, it's got a stylish brasserie, private dining rooms, and its own event space with live performances 6 nights a week.
4. Be Cool
On the fringes of the West End, Covent Garden just oozes cool. It's chic, buzzing and seriously swish. Book a table at Jamie Oliver's fun and funky Union Jack's, which serves British favourites and timeless classics, before heading to Dirty Martini's for some knock-your-socks-off cocktails. If you're heading to a show, Covent Garden's Opera Quarter is the place to be for the best pre-theatre dining. Or if you fancy ramping up the luxury stakes, head over to Mayfair, where there's more Michelin-starred restaurants within one postcode than any other place in the UK.
5. Go Corporate
To play safe, why not keep things simple? There are tons of corporate packages in the West End designed specially for business entertainment. On Dover Street, a few steps from Landmark's Mayfair business centre is The Dover Street Wine Bar and Restaurant, a VIP venue featuring a French restaurant and live jazz/blues performances every night. Here you've got an upmarket venue, impressive cuisine and great live entertainment. There are group packages for parties up to 10, or special corporate programmes for groups of 10 or more. Book one of these and all you have to do is turn up and enjoy yourself.
The golden rule of corporate hospitality is to plan ahead and book in advance. You don't want to end up wandering around London with a clan of disappointed clients trailing behind you. Be wary of cultural values too. Esteemed guests would feel out of place in a pizza joint, and remember that some cultures don't drink alcohol or eat specific foods.
Get organised, book ahead and where possible, check out the venues before arrival. You'll look professional and will score plenty of brownie points with the people who matter.
(Unfortunately, the same can't always be said for your mother-in-law)