London Links

Monique Jones clears the fog around the UK's capital city

Even before many grasped the concept of globalization, London had been leading the way. This modern metropolis with an old-world feel is one of the leading financial centers, home to more overseas banks than any other city. It’s also a haven for the arts, fashion, and media. That’s what initially attracted Monique Jones, who moved to London from Los Angeles in June to serve as senior vice president of finance and administration for Icon Entertainment, actor Mel Gibson’s film distribution and production company.

Jones’ previous company had a London office, which required her to travel over at least twice a year. Now that she’s made this royal city her home, she spends her time at the theater and enjoying the city’s ethnic mix. “I find more diversity than in Los Angeles,” she says.

Another perk, says Jones, is affordable access to other European cities. “Heathrow is such a central airport for international travel. I am scheduled to visit Milan [Italy]; it will cost me 33 pounds round-trip.” While travel to neighboring countries is inexpensive, London is not a budget trip. According to a cost of living survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, London is the EU’s costliest city and one of the most expensive for business travel. Jones provides tips for your journey.

AROUND TOWN
ACCOMMODATIONS
Dubbed an “urban spa,” the Sanderson is a boutique hotel in Soho-one of London’s media hubs. All of the guest rooms have panoramic views of London and feature transparent glass-walled bathrooms and dressing rooms. Jones loves the hotel’s purple bar, which is for guests only. “It’s a cool gathering spot for all the beautiful people,” she says. (50 Berners St.; 011 44 20 7300 1400)oo “The Ritz is your quintessential British hotel. It provides classic tea service [at three sittings] in the Palm Court.” Reservations must be made at least two months in advance. Many of the hotel’s rooms have views of Buckingham Palace. (150 Piccadilly; 011 44 20 7493 8181) oo Number Sixteen is a luxury bed and breakfast just a stone’s throw from the Natural History Museum and Harrods department store. “Number Sixteen is a converted Victorian town house in Kensington. South Kensington is the heart of the American expatriate community,” says Jones. (16 Sumner Pl.; 011 44 7589 5232)

RESTAURANTS
“Navarro’s has great Spanish tapas in the heart of Soho,” says Jones. The prawns in white wine, garlic, and parsley are one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. (67 Charlotte St.; 011 44 20 7637 7713)oo “The Grill Room at the Connaught Hotel is classic English dining,” notes Jones, who says the restaurant’s deep sage green carpeting and three-toned crystal light sconces provide an elegant and chic atmosphere. “It’s good for business dinners.” (16 Carlos Pl.; 011 44 20 7499 7070)
At Green’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar “order the fish and chips with mushy peas. It’s great for a business lunch.” (36 Duke St., St. James; 011 44 20 7930 4566)
“First Fridays at Manjaro felt like I was in L.A. or Chicago. The restaurant serves contemporary West African cuisine.

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