Top 5 Business Hotels in NYC

Top 5 Business Hotels in NYC

If a free trip to the city that never sleeps isn’t enough to keep your employees happy, an awesome hotel to stay in while they’re there should do the trick. We’ve come up with a list of the best business hotels in New York City so you can suggest them to your travelers.

 

Hotel Indigo Lower East Side

Location, location, location! The LES is a hip, fashionable area of New York. Plus, it’s got amazing delis. People have been known to travel across the world just to get a good pastrami on rye with a kosher pickle on the side. Your employees could kick back with a beer at a comedy club after a long day of meetings and get a tattoo of their future ex-girlfriend to abashedly hide under their suit when they get back to the office.

 

Aside from the great location, the hotel itself is artsy and boasts a rooftop bar with views and people that are easy on the eye. A quick morning swim at the pool should give anyone the energy they need for a productive day. One thing that makes Hotel Indigo a favorite for business travelers is the friendly staff and small comforts like USB ports on the night tables.

 

Nomo SoHo

If neighborhoods were people, the LES would be the quirky, artsy, laidback younger sibling, and SoHo would be their more responsible, chic older sister. SoHo is the place to be for shopping lovers. There’s eye candy every which way, from the high-end boutiques and trendy pop-up shops, to the designer knockoffs that lace the cobblestone streets, for the more frugal among us.

 

Guests at Nomo SoHo can enjoy fancy treats like eucalyptus and mint shower gel, or more practical benefits like fast internet and a mobile phone with unlimited free and international calls – perfect for business purposes.

 

The New York EDITION

Nomo SoHo may be fancy, but The EDITION is fancy schmancy. A partner of the Ritz Carlton, this luxurious 5-star boutique hotel is inside the famous clock tower built in 1909, and features a Michelin-starred restaurant.

 

Travelers can refresh themselves after the flight with a therapeutic massage at the hotel spa, and enjoy the convenient midtown location. Guests at the elegant EDITION have noted champagne that appears as if from nowhere, the magnificent view of the city, the proximity to subway stations, and the VIP feel that the hotel provides them.

 

The Marcel At Gramercy

Situated next to Gramercy Park, the Marcel is close enough to tourist destinations, but not too close. Business travelers can get away from the hustle and bustle of Times Square while taking in the breathtaking view of the Empire State Building. The 10th-floor business lounge is great for working, having meetings or relaxing while enjoying free wifi and tea, and the rooftop terrace is excellent for basking in the sun.

One thing that sets this hotel apart from the rest is exceptional service. Guests are greeted by a smiling bellman and are well taken care of by the helpful staff.

 

EVEN Hotel New York – Times Square South

This one’s a paradise for health buffs. Your employees can keep up with their daily exercise routine, with strength training and yoga equipment in their room, or work out in the nice-sized gym (nice-sized for the city, that is). The practical and health conscious hotel is within walking distance of the business district and Penn Station.

 

Guests of EVEN love the nutritious breakfast, the complimentary water bottles, the quiet rooms, and the smart mood lighting.

 

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Now that you’ve got a nice selection of business travel hotels that will make your employees love you, you’re almost all set. Let’s get you started with Arbitrip’s business travel program that can help you reduce costs, time and stress. Check it out.  

Why Every Business Should Have A Travel Program

Why Every Business Should Have A Travel Program

Noise canceling headphones? Check. Passport? Check. Travel program? Not so much…

 

Whatever the size of your company, startup, or scale up, business travel will inevitably be one of your management challenges. Unfortunately, many growing companies don’t have a clear travel program in place. And this can be a big mistake.

 

Your team’s travel needs can be quite unpredictable throughout the year. Businesses often require that the office manager, HR department, or personal assistant takes on the responsibility for booking flights, hotels, taxis, and everything else that comes with it. As you might imagine, without a clear policy or travel program, a company may run into miscommunication or overspending related issues.

 

Having a clearly defined travel program can help keep things running smoothly and avoid a few headaches along the way! So let’s take a look at the benefits of implementing one in greater detail.

 

Establishes rules

First and foremost, a travel program will define a number of rules, which will help the travel manager or executive assistant make decisions much more easily. It will also help establish boundaries and ensure that team members don’t seek out preferential treatment.

 

Keeps budgets on track

Travel is expensive and it’s easy for costs to get out of hand – especially when it comes to booking flights and hotels. Having a travel program will help you keep your expenses in check and follow a strict budget.

 

Reinforces the need for planning

A travel program also helps set deadlines for business travel. This will help reduce the number of last minute trips (where possible) and will lower the number of stressful unplanned scrambles to find suitable hotels, transport, etc.

 

Standardizes suppliers

By carefully evaluating which hotel chains and airlines offer the best value, you can save time, money, and ensure a certain standard of service. Of course, you must also take into account the number of stopovers, comfort and safety of your staff when selecting suppliers. Make sure you get feedback from your team each time they travel and re-evaluate when costs rise, or the quality of the service drops. If you use a dedicated travel agency, you will be better able to keep track of your team’s whereabouts.

 

Clarifies expenses

Travel programs must also establish what expenses are covered, how they should be claimed, and who should be made aware of them. A blurry travel expenses policy can lead to misspending, confusion, or even quiet resentment when different team members are given preferential treatment. If you provide an expenses card for regular travelers, you’ll be able to keep tabs on your costs more effectively.

 

All in all, an effective travel program will help you to reduce costs, track spending data, avoid stress, automate approvals, and ensure that every team members knows where they stand when it comes to business travel.

 

Do you have any questions about setting up a travel program? Arbitrip is here to help! Drop us a line – we’d love to hear from you.

Travel Management for Startups

Travel Management for Startups

As a startup you’ll inevitably have numerous policies and processes to implement (yay…!) including travel management.

 

Admittedly, it’s not always an easy (or particularly sexy) task, but it’s important to get right. And these policies can save money in the long haul.

 

Need a few pointers? Here are some top tips for setting up a great travel management program for your business.

 

Make a Travel Management Policy

A travel management policy will help you get all your ducks in a row. So, what should it do?

 

  1. Outline the booking processes employees need to follow – for example making all bookings through one central person, or specifying which suppliers should be used.
  2. Include expectations or restrictionsset regulations like booking as far in advance as possible, or set out how much the business is prepared to pay for a night’s accommodation.
  3. Look after employees’ interests – while costs are important, it’s equally crucial to make sure your people are treated well. For example, bankrolling business class for long distance flights could mean employees are better rested when they land.
  4. All policies should include risk mitigation – preventative measures and processes designed to keep staff safe in the event of a mishap or crisis. This is a moral and legal obligation.
  5. Clearly communicate the policy across the company – let everyone know the policy exists via a summary of key points to outline expectations.

 

Choose Providers Carefully
The need to cut a trip short or delay a flight is not uncommon, so it’s best to include flexibility when booking. Choosing providers that allow for last minute cancellations or changes will make everyone’s life easier and save money.

 

Sticking to one or two flight providers can also pay dividends, as many offer flight credits or points that the business can cash in, or offer to employees as rewards.

 

Request a Breakdown of Costs

Choosing what initially appears to be the cheapest option isn’t necessarily going to save you money. Budget hotels often charge for business essentials like Wifi, and these fees can multiply. Higher end hotels tend to include business basics and could be better value. Being savvy and asking for a full breakdown of costs will ensure transparency.

 

Smart Management

Intuitive and inexpensive software like Arbitrip is changing the face of travel management by simplifying processes. Our corporate travel platform helps businesses find the best hotel stays within their budgets. But we’re more than a clever booking tool. Our easy to use dashboard gives travel managers and other stakeholders the reports and insights they need to keep track of activity and spending. As a result, we have helped companies save thousands of dollars in travel costs.

 

Keep Up to Date

And last but not least, this industry is rapidly evolving. Following national or worldwide bodies like the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and attending shows like the UK’s Business Travel Conference, will help you keep abreast of the latest trends and regulations and how they affect your company.

To Pre-Pay Or Not To Pre-Pay? That Is The Question…

The problem with business travel – particularly hotel stays – is that there’s too much choice. Not just concerning the inclusion of breakfast, airport transfers, and proximity to company offices/conference venues – but how the darn thing gets paid for.

 

We can pay online, in person, on arrival, at checkout, or have someone else handle it completely. But actually, when you think about it, you can group these into two primary transaction types: Pre-Pay and Post Pay.

 

There are many differences between the two types: in terms of cancellation policy, changes flexibility, cost, and operational process. Let’s take a closer look…

 

Post Pay

When the business traveler pays at the hotel at the end of their stay. The company or travel agent just put a credit card up as a guarantee.

 

Main Advantages

  1. You can usually cancel post pay bookings at the last minute.
  2. Post pay bookings are usually more flexible: so if a traveler needs to shorten his stay while he’s already there, it’s usually not an issue.
  3. Payment isn’t taken until the visit, which can be easier on companies’ cash flow.
  4. Employees can use their travel credit card and earn points as part of a hotel loyalty program.
  5. Reclaim VAT. The invoice is issued from the hotel directly to the business: meaning the company can claim for a VAT refund.

 

Main Disadvantages

  1. Employee uses a company credit card or submits the cost via expense report.
  2. Some employees might not be crazy about having a £2,000 charge on their credit card bill.
  3. Post pay rates tend to be more a more expensive option.

 

Pre-Pay

The company pays for the hotel before the traveler arrives. A voucher is issued which the traveler shows during at check-in.

 

Main Advantages

  1. Employees don’t pay at the hotel (company pays directly).
  2. Usually more competitive rates than Post Pay.
  3. No need to reimburse or issue a credit card to employees.

 

Main Disadvantages

  1. Usually more restricted cancellation policy: you can cancel up to 48/72 hours before the check-in date.
  2. Less flexible in terms of changes: some rates even prevent a guest name change and most won’t let you shorten your stay (though often this depends on the hotel booked and the rate paid).
  3. Sometimes employees have problems claiming their loyalty points. Since the room was booked through a 3rd party and not directly with the hotel, some hotels will not consider their stay as valid.

 

While different companies and individuals will have their own preferences, Arbitrip offers the benefits of both: the flexibility of Post Pay with the cost savings of Pre-Pay. You simply set a budget and our matching algorithm finds the right kind of hotel for your stay and re-books it when a better deal becomes available.

 

Want to find out more (about Arbitrip!)? Get in touch.

 

Trends in Business Travel Management – What’s up in the UK?

 

What’s the next big thing in business travel? That’s the question every travel manager should be asking. Luckily, the Business Travel Conference (TBTC) in London on September 19-20 should provide a stack of answers… but here’s a sneak peek at some of the hot topics British travel managers are tackling right now.

 

Post-Brexit Budgets

Few travel managers disregard budget airlines these days. But the post-Brexit vote fall in the pound means even low-cost airlines are getting crushed by bumped up costs, so UK travel managers are currently keeping a very close eye on seat prices.

Moving forward into 2018 and beyond, expect to see more business conducted in the UK. Falling Sterling rates will make Britain cheaper for incoming travellers; although UK travellers heading overseas will face higher hotel costs.

 

Don’t Overlook Duty of Care

Duty of care will be a hot topic at this year’s TBTC. There’ll be sessions on bringing your business duty of care policy up to scratch and how to implement the policy whilst still looking after costs and other considerations. UK travel managers have noticed huge efforts from hotel chains to try and tempt travellers to book with them directly. While this may save money at face value, it causes a large area of concern in terms of security protocols being breached. Without oversight from a dedicated travel manager, the lines of communication can be blurred.

 

Millennials Prefer Mobile

At least a quarter of all business travel booked in the UK in 2017 has been via a mobile app. This is set to rise again next year. Given that younger groups of business travellers check their mobile on average 157 times a day, businesses that neglect to cater to this are missing a trick. Check out the sessions at TBTC that will help you understand more about using mobile apps in travel management.

 

‘Optional’ Extras

A survey by Fortune Magazine showed that 55% of travellers considered in-room technology and WiFi to be most important when booking business travel accommodation. As more and more premium hotels offer access to these services for free, travel managers are finding that the budget hotels that charge for these services aren’t always the most cost-effective option – when looking at the overall price of a hotel stay. There are numerous sessions at TBTC that will walk travel managers through the best hotel options for their business.

So, for UK- and overseas-based travel managers looking to keep ahead of the issues that are relevant to their business, TBTC will provide the knowledge and expertise needed, and give them valuable insight into the areas they need to keep an eye on moving into 2018.

Be sure to stop by our stand and say ‘hi’!

 

Photo by David Dibert on Unsplash

 

 

 

Five Reasons To Attend The Business Travel Conference 2017

The Business Travel Conference (TBTC) – happening in London between September 19 and 20 – is an unmissable opportunity for travel managers looking to make new connections and get some insider tips from those in the know.

Previous delegates describe TBTC as the only conference to attend if you’re in the industry! Here are five reasons you should come along too…

 

1. Learn the Tricks of the Trade

TBTC is a chance for anyone tasked with organizing company travel to absorb new information and gain the skills and knowledge needed to help them overcome the hurdles they face in their day-to-day roles.

This year’s program includes sessions on getting to grips with travel technology; how to get the best accommodation rates; negotiating airfares; and getting your rail fare spend under control.

 

2. Network!

Ok, so it’d be strange if you went to an event like this and didn’t expect to mix with other delegates and exhibitors. But the key difference with TBTC is that there are specific networking opportunities throughout the event; held in smaller and more friendly settings. You’ll be able to meet all the suppliers from the exhibition – including airlines, hotels, and travel technology specialists. Oh, and don’t forget: there’s also a free lunch and evening drinks reception (if that sort of thing appeals…!)

 

3. Over 60 Leading Business Travel Suppliers

Whatever kind of travel booking you’re responsible for within your company, you’re guaranteed to find plenty of leads to follow up on from the exhibitors at this year’s conference. Take a look at the exhibitor list here. You won’t get hounded or be given the hard sell, just the opportunity to walk around the exhibition and meet with the suppliers you want to connect with.

 

4. It’s Free!

A two-day pass (or one day if you can’t tear yourself away from the office) for the entire event is free for anyone who works in business travel planning. Last year more than 80% of attendees said they would be able to save their company more money as result of attending TBTC – and more than 90% said they took away ideas and knowledge that they could put into practice when back at work. Not bad for a free pass!

 

5. Come and Meet Arbitrip!

You’ve been reading the blog – maybe you’ve even learned a thing or two from us (!). But now we want you to come meet us in the flesh. Yup, we’re gonna be at TBTC too, so don’t be a stranger! Come talk to us and find out how we can help you manage your travel, save your company money when booking online and increase your travelers’ satisfaction.

We can talk you through how our technology works (if that’s your bag), give you advice, and explain the benefits using us will give your company. So do stop by and say hi: we look forward to meeting you!

You can find out more details about the conference here.

 

Leave Your Heart in San Francisco

SF, Frisco, San Fran, City by the Bay, Golden Gate City. What makes this Northern California city unique is its mix of old and new. Home to tech giants like Twitter, Uber, Airbnb, and Fitbit (to name just a few) as well as some of the West Coast’s most historic sites, the city manages to effortlessly manage the vintage and the innovative with flair and style.

Unlike many other US cities, San Francisco is compact enough to explore on foot. Its easy-to-use grid system means that even the most geographically-challenged amongst us will be able to get around. Don’t underestimate those hills though: even the gym bunnies amongst you will struggle. But hop on one of the famed red cable cars for the steeper climbs and you’ll be rewarded with some astounding views.

If you find yourself in SF on business with a few hours to spare, be sure to get those calf muscles pumping and take in everything this cultural gem has to offer.

The ‘Abridged’ Version

So where else to start but the famous Golden Gate Bridge? The 2.7 km icon connects the City with Marin County and there really is no other way to cross the bridge other than on foot. Or if you’re feeling ultra sporty, hire a bike. Stop at the many viewing points en route and take in the gorgeous views. Be warned, it gets windy up there!

Prison break

You know you want to! I’m talking about Alcatraz. Don’t question why you want to see it, just do it. Jump on a ferry at Fisherman’s Wharf and take in the most famous former prison in the world. Once home to Al Capone, a visit to ‘The Rock’ has a tendency to linger in your imagination.

Pier-to-pier

Once back at Fisherman’s Wharf, immerse yourself in tourist hell (or heaven!) and soak up the atmosphere. Purchase at least one item of tourist tat then head out to Pier 39 and eat seafood and visit the sunbathing sea lions.

On a Mission

For the literary buffs amongst you, head over to the Mission District where you’ll be rewarded with a plethora of independent bookshops. A great (and far less taxing) way to spend a couple of hours browsing if you want something less energetic.

Worked up an appetite?

Whatever you have a taste for, you won’t be disappointed. Looking to impress clients? Book a table at Michelin-Starred Commonwealth in the Mission District, a neighborhood farm to table restaurant that won’t fail to excite your taste buds.

If that’s not your thing, line up for Burma Superstar, close to Golden Gate Park. Take advantage of the free hot tea as you wait in line for traditional Burmese family cooking.

The food truck religion is strong in SF. Enjoy cheap but delicious eats from just about every corner of the globe.

The City by the Bay is all about mixing business and pleasure, go with the same mentality and you won’t be disappointed.

 

Vancouver, Eh?

Vancouver is a place of contrasts. Frequently referred to as one of the world’s most livable cities, it’s definitely got a lot going for it. It seems to have everything in balance: urban life with rural tranquility; a diverse ethnic mix; upmarket tastes without being pretentious or snobbish.

 

No surprise then, that it’s becoming something of a tech/startup hub. Hootsuite is based in the city and Slack was founded here, plus more and more companies are looking to set up a base here as talented people gravitate towards Vancouver’s mild climate, outdoor lifestyle, and Canada’s more relaxed immigration laws.

 

However, let’s not be coy: Vancouver’s expensive. And while the Canadian dollar’s relatively weak against the £, €, and US$, things aren’t as cheap as you’d imagine. But for work travelers, it’s a great city to visit clients, network, and socialize in. If you’re working remotely for a few days, you’ll be spoilt for choice given the number of cafes and coffee shops there are.

 

Vancouver’s neighborhoods are, as in most North American cities, well-defined. There’s Chinatown, which is about as authentic a place you’ll find outside of Beijing; the neighboring Eastside, which is one of the poorest places in Canada; trendy suburbs like Yaletown and Kitsilano; and well-to-do Gastown, right in the heart of the city. Here, aside from tourist traps like the much-admired Steam Clock, you’ll discover some great coffee shops like Timbertrain and fancy-yet-unfussy eateries like The Greedy Pig — perfect places to grab an artisan sandwich or a nitro cold brew coffee with clients when they want to get out of the office.

 

Downtown itself, as you’d expect, has everything from shopping malls to convenience stores and fast food joints to fine-dining. If you’re looking to drop some serious cash, head to the Pacific Centre mall. But if it’s food and drinks you’re after, try Malone’s Social Lounge and Taphouse. A nice informal setting to enjoy a beer or two with colleagues or more relaxed clients. There’s an extensive menu of craft ales, lagers, and cider — including some exotically-titled delights such as ‘Electric Unicorn’ (!).

 

You’ll also see Tim Hortons everywhere in Vancouver! This coffee chain is something of an institution in Canada: one that you’ll find (literally) on every street corner. While Tim Hortons is held dear to Canadians (apparently it’s where kids are taken for a post-hockey practice treat), to the outsider, the hype may seem a little farfetched. But it’s a great alternative to fancier coffee establishments. Its main staple is ‘coffee with cream and sugar’ — though it has branched out to lattes. And there are few other places you’ll get a filling breakfast for less than $7 (Canadian).

 

And while you’re in Canada, you have to try ‘poutine’. While the prospect of French fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy may not be the healthiest option you can have on a work trip, put it down to a ‘cultural experience’! Smoke’s Poutinerie is an established chain, but you’ll dig its quirky humor and the bewildering array of toppings. Get a medium size box and you’ll still be too full to eat for days after. You travel manager will no doubt praise your dining choices: but it’s not one for schmoozing clients.

 

Got a few hours on a sunny afternoon? What better way to while away some spare time than to explore Vancouver on foot. Tip: wear comfortable shoes. This trek covers a good few kilometers…

 

Stroll along the Sea Wall from the Waterfront Skytrain station downtown (right by the Canada Place) heading toward Stanley Park; an idyllic urban oasis that’s loved by both Vancouverites and visitors. As you veer around the Sea Wall you’ll find yourself in Coal Harbour, where you’ll get some great views of upmarket North Vancouver — but take a few minutes just to watch the seaplanes take off and land. Quite quickly, the city high rises give way to towering pine and cedar trees, and as you walk (or cycle — and there are plenty of bikes for hire) on round to the right you’ll soon discover a glade filled with Totem Poles; fantastic examples of a centuries-old First Nations art-form.

 

From this side of the park you’ll have some stunning views of downtown itself, and further on round, you’ll get a better view of Lion’s Gate Bridge; a landmark in its own right; linking the city proper with its well-to-do northern suburbs. Hang a left from the Sea Wall, and deviate on to the lush greenery. You’ll find yourself heading in the direction of the Stanley Park Pavilion, and eventually you’ll stumble upon the Vancouver Aquarium (great if you have time).

 

Keep heading west, skirting the Lost Lagoon, and soon enough you’ll discover Second Beach. A great place to picnic, barbecue, and swim in the slightly salty open air pool (the beach itself is more for chilling and kayaking). Here, you can pick up the tail end of the Sea Wall, which leads you all the way to Inuksuk; a statuesque Inuit monument. From there you can hop back downtown for a little retail therapy or enjoy an iced coffee or a late brunch at Cactus Club overlooking English Bay.

 

If you’re sent to Van City, you’re sure to have a great time. Book an extra day to take in some of the sights if possible. It’s fairly small and all the major sights are within walking distance. Just remember to take an umbrella with you — like other Northwestern cities (e.g. Seattle), Vancouver gets its fair share of rain (!).

Plane Sailing

They say ‘getting there is half the fun’… Really? REALLY?? Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, let’s be honest: air travel no longer holds the exotic appeal that it once did. It really is to be endured, no matter how many bells, whistles, and in-flight entertainment packages airlines try to cram into increasingly shrinking seats. But seasoned travelers have their own air travel hacks to help make your sky ride a little less bumpy.

Here are a few of our favorites:

 

Pack Light

You never know what you’re going to need/want to bring back with you, and airlines can be pretty militant about luggage weight restrictions and will often charge if your checked baggage goes over the limit. So take less than you think you need. Chances are you won’t use half of what you bring anyway. And consider investing in a digital luggage scale. Just to be on the safe side.

 

Stick To Carry Ons

Carry on bags are pretty hefty themselves these days, so while you should always check with your airline what bag size is acceptable as a carry-on; make the most of the opportunity. If nothing else, it’ll save you stacks of valuable time. Because who enjoys waiting at luggage carousels?

 

Hustle (Nicely) For Upgrades

Always ask. It can’t hurt. And don’t wait until you arrive at the check-in desk. Request one when you book your ticket. Or even at the gate. Yup, you can leave it that late. If you’re dressed nicely, polite to staff, and there are spaces left, you’re in with a good chance of getting a decent seat.

 

Pick Your Meals Wisely

Want to get fed first during the flight? Request a special meal. Airlines will pretty much bend to any dietary requirement, and when it comes to doling them out, cabin crew tend to tackle these meals first. Keen to avoid in-flight meals altogether? There are usually stacks of options in the departure lounge, but if in doubt, check out where airline folks eat. Also, opt for protein over carbs (takes longer to digest, so you feel full for longer). And avoid fizzy drinks. Always choose bottled water.

 

Stay As Active As Possible

Being stuck in a cramped seat for hours at a time can stiffen up your joints, so every so often walk along the aisles to stretch your legs (avoiding drinks/meals/clean up/take off/landing). Rolling a tennis ball under your feet is another great way to keep those joints and muscles active. Just resist the urge to throw it at the guy in front of you when he reclines his seat just as you fire up the laptop…

 

Sanitize To The Point Of Insanity

Ever had a bad cold after a long haul flight? No, it wasn’t the air conditioning or temperature controls that did it — it was sharing the same recycled air as 140 other passengers for eight hours straight. It might seem like there’s not a lot you can do to remedy germ-sharing at 10,000 ft, but you’re wrong. Be sure to bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer and a tube of over-the-counter antibiotic ointment: like Bacitracin. Sanitize your hands and coat the inside of both nostrils (!) lightly with a dab of ointment. Sounds weird, but it works really well.

 

Whether you’re in-flight for the long or short-haul, try to relax as much as humanly possible. What matters is that you’re suitably refreshed and rested when you reach your final destination.


Ready for takeoff?

Berlin: Alles Ist Gut!

If you’ve never been to Berlin, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. It’s freaking beautiful. It oozes charm, history, diversity, and modernity. Often in the same hundred yards.

 

It’s the perfect fusion of the past, present, and future. A forward-thinking creative city that’s actively courting innovators and entrepreneurs from all over the world. But it’s also making darn sure it doesn’t forget its past.

 

You’ll see remnants of the infamous Berlin Wall all across the central part of the city — the Mitte district. Large metal bars that once supported the divisive monument act as pertinent reminders of more troubled times; though nowadays they’re casually flanked by green spaces, upmarket shopping areas, and ice cream parlors.

 

If you’re lucky enough to go to Berlin with work, plan ahead. There’s stacks to see, do, eat, take in. Try and get a day or two to explore. Seriously, take some leave. You won’t be sorry.

 

Down To Business

Berlin’s fast establishing itself as a startup city, so there’s lots going of innovation happening everywhere you look. Places like Factory Berlin are leading the way in bringing creative, tech, and business minds together, in a former brewery which once stood directly behind the eastern side of the Berlin Wall.

 

This Google-backed entrepreneurial hub opened in 2014 and today houses SoundCloud, Udacity, Zendesk, and TechStars (among others), as well as a co-working space, a 3D printing workshop, and a restaurant. The perfect venue for any trendy tech client meeting.

 

Getting Around

Forget Uber (it’s complicated…) taking a tram (S-Bahn) or underground train (U-Bahn) (or a combination of the two) is a great way to save company cash. You can even buy a travel pass giving you access to Berlin’s entire public transport system for the duration of your stay (you can buy one on arrival at either airport’s tourist information desk).

 

Berlin’s totally walkable too (see ‘Sightseeing’ below). And pushbikes are popular. The city even has its own public bike sharing scheme, which visitors are more than welcome to take advantage of too. What better way to zip across town between meetings?

 

On Expenses

German food by definition is quite meat-heavy and dense. But there are several specialties you should try — namely bratwurst (sausage), currywurst (yup, a variation of the former), and, of course, schnitzel (deep fried pork or veal loin in breadcrumbs). And then, of course, there’s the beer…

 

While there are loads of places you could get a decent version of any of these delicacies, for fun and fast food, check out Charlie’s Beach — an urban oasis, complete with sand, a beach bar, good choice of food trucks (do try the East German Currywurst) right on the spot where tensions between the East and West once ran high — Checkpoint Charlie. It’s very informal so save it for colleague chilling rather than client schmoozing. It even has its own deck chairs; ideal for lounging and sipping some suds in. Feet up.

 

A little further out, in the city’s trendy Prenzlauer Berg district, you’ll find The Bird; a New York burger and steak joint. Don’t worry, it’s not just a home-from-home; this place has a subversive flavor all of its own. And a fantastic meaty menu that rivals any stateside eatery. A great place to dine with colleagues and clients.

 

But, if you want something really local and authentic… go for a doner kebab! Thanks to Berlin’s thriving Turkish population, the city’s the perfect place to enjoy a giant pitta filled with crunchy sweet salad and chargrilled lamb. Add garlic sauce. And chili sauce. Enjoy.

 

Sightseeing

If time’s of the essence, here’s one walking tour you should definitely take — preferably on a warm summer evening…

 

Take the U-Bahn to Brandenburg Gate (stopping to admire its sheer size and imperial exuberance) and saunter slowly through the wide open Unter Den Linden boulevard (literally translates as Under the Linden Trees) bypassing the tourist traps and the open air eateries, all the way to the banks of the picturesque River Spree. Along the way you’ll take in the grounds of historic Humboldt University, the State Opera house, the Lustgarten public grounds, and the Berlin Cathedral — in all their crumbling splendor.

 

Once you’re across the bridge, keep walking. And you’ll soon find yourself with a more modern perspective of the city. Head for the Berliner Fernsehturm — an iconic space age-style TV tower built in 1969 — before veering towards Alexanderplatz, the main shopping and tourist center.

 

Got more time? Begin your walk with a quick trip to nearby Tiergarten park or take a brief look at the Reichstag (the seat of Germany’s government). Or end your walk with a dash around some of Alexanderplatz’s numerous retail outlets.