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I travel to London for both work and leisure. I am in the capital of England once every six weeks. My son spent several years there in school, college and later as a trainee. I have a lot of fond memories of the city. The first thing I notice, of course, is the weather. I also love the vibrancy of the place and the multicultural experience; it is a melting pot of cultures. You hear so many languages, even when you get off the aircraft.
Recommendations My favourite hotel is the Taj 51 Buckingham Gate. The service there is excellent, and when you travel as much as I do, you want the feeling of being home away from home. It is also where I conduct most of my business meetings. The Four Seasons is nice as well, as is The Dorchester.
I have many favourite restaurants in London; some big, some small. My current favourite is the Asian cuisine at Novikov, and China Tang; Zuma, which serves Japanese cuisine, is fabulous too. Quilon—it serves Indian food—of course is a standard favourite. The rasam there is a must-have. I enjoy walking through the theatre district, and trying out different cuisines. I also like the Ping Pong chain of dim sum restaurants.
Getting Around To travel within the city, I usually use London’s black cabs. I have my favourite driver for airport transfer whose services I have been using for at least two decades now. I am not familiar with the Underground, although my children Rishabh and Paridhi are well-versed with it.
After Hours A nice play or a musical is the best way to recharge yourself. I truly recommend this. It’s an eye opener; also, it’s a lesson on passion—to perform to perfection day after day. I love the theatre, and the post-theatre dinners at small restaurants in the city’s theatre district. During a slightly longer stay, you can visit a museum or an open-air theatre. Walking around London is the best way to soak in the city; I even took a boat ride down the Thames, and it was fun.
Although I don’t shop much, the best shopping experience is at Harrods. The chocolates, the cheese—what else does a man need?
Tips As a visitor, you should try to avoid the rush hour. It is worse than Mumbai’s. Also, enjoy London with both your mind and heart. It has a lot to teach.
Cyril Shroff is the managing partner of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (Co-ordinated by Jasodhara Banerjee )