City Guides: Dubai, Istanbul, LA - Peter Fisk

City Guides: Dubai, Istanbul, LA - Peter Fisk

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A tailored Trip Advisor by our members, for our members

Peter Fisk, bestselling author and founder of GeniusWorks gives us his insider tips on DubaiIstanbul and LA

DUBAI

Best hotel for business?
Dusit Thani: Right in the centre of town, 5 minutes walk from the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, but also great service and superb restaurant (and room service too!). Dusat Thani is a Thai chain, that really does offer an authentic experience, from traditional Thai greeting to the tastiest lychees as a complimentary dessert. The Oberoi in Back Bay is new so has got some good deals, is 5 mins cab ride from Burj, and great too.

Best hotel for pleasure?
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray: Claims to be a 6 Star resort (I didn’t realise they existed!), the first and best hotel on the Palm. Beautiful beach looking onto the Palm, and views of the city waterfront from the other side. Great facilities in the complex, which is a 30 minute taxi away from the bustle of the city. For something different, hire a car and drive 2 hours east to the mountain town of Hatta, and stay at the Hatta Fort Hotel. Amazing.

Best bar for celebrating?
Dubai really is party town these days. Sip cocktails at the top of the iconic Burj Khalifa in the At.mosphere bar. Daytime views can be disappointing because of the haze, usually better at night time when you can see Abu Dhabi. Book days in advance if you want to eat there, or otherwise just ask at the hotel concierge downstairs if they can fit you in for a few drinks.

Best bar for a business drink?
Voda Bar at the Jumeirah Beach Club: Yes its business, but this is Dubai. And the outdoor bar area usually has a lovely breeze coming off the sea, or if you’re still too hot it has a superbly chilled (temperature and ambience) interior. Whilst this is the Middle East, Dubai is very westernised and alcohol flows freely, if expensive.

Best restaurant for a business lunch?
Mayrig: a fabulous Armenian/Lebanese restaurant, just below the Burj Khalifa,  on Mohamad Bin Rashid Boulevard, opposite to Al Manzil Hotel. Its quiet and relaxed and the food is superb. Mayrig means “grandma" in Armenian, and all the recipes are handed down over generations. Lots of small dishes, each of them with a story to tell. Owner Aline Kamacian features in the Gamechangers book, so say hi!

How to spend an hour in-between meetings?
In winter months, go lie on the beach, or by the pool for an hour. Send a selfie home to make your family and colleagues jealous. In the summer months, retreat to your air conditioned bedroom as the temperatures can be really oppressive. Traffic can be really bad during rush hour and lunch time, so better not to try travelling. 

If you only have time to do one thing in this city, do this...
It has to be the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Choose between a trip to the 124th or 148th floor (Go on, don’t be a wimp!). Tickets cost £28, and booking online saves you time and money. Climbing out of the window to do a Tom Cruise impression is not recommended. If you don’t have a head for heights, sit in one of the many cafes at the bottom, with impressive dancing fountains.


ISTANBUL

Best hotel for business?
Park Hyatt in Nisantasi:  probably the best hotel in Istanbul, relatively small but perfectly situated in this upmarket area which is full of restaurants and cafes. The big conference centres near Taksim Square are only 5 mins walk, whilst the largest business districts of The Levent and Maslack are 15-20 mins by cab. Most businesses are located on the European side. The biggest issue with Istanbul is traffic across the Bosphorus, with jams often 2 hours morning and evening. If you are working on the Asian side, stay on the Asian side. 

Best hotel for pleasure?
Istanbul’s old city is some distance from the modern, business areas. Sultanahmet has many tourist hotels within 5 mins walk of the Grand Bazaar, Aya Sofia and Blue Mosque. My favourite is Empress Zoe, a real classic Ottoman hotel, with rambling quirky rooms, beds and wash basins, a roof top terrace overlooking the Bosphorus and across to Asia, and the most tranquil courtyard.

Best bar for celebrating?
360 Istanbul is a bar with an amazing view. Just off the main shopping street, Istiklal Cadessi, and close to the Galata Tower, you can see all of the classic sites whilst sipping your a cold glass of Kavalkade sauvignon blanc, a great Turkish wine from the region close to Bulgaria. Or why not try the local favourite drink, Yeni Reki, which is a strong, and taken slowly with water. 

Best bar for a business drink?
It depends where you are, as travelling (mainly by cab) takes a long time… If you happen to be on the Asian side, then head to Moda which is a chilled out area looking across to Europe. Lots of terraces with great bars. If you have more time, take a ride into Bebek which is a small port area beyond the bridges. Great places to eat and drink. Relaxed and very Turkish. In a good way.

Best restaurant for a business lunch?
House Cafe in Ortakoy: an award winning restaurant, next to the Radisson Blu hotel, and close to the first bridge. A table next to the Bosphorus feels really special, watching the boats sail up and down, and marvelling at the closeness shores of Europe and Asia. It’s not expensive, and there are other House Cafes around the city. For a bit more upmarket, try Close, a restaurant attached to Harvey Nicolls within Kanyon.

How to spend an hour in-between meetings?
If you anywhere near to the old town, head for the Spice Market. It’s close to the river, and easy to find. It will only take you 30 minutes to explore some of the most amazing spices and handicrafts of Istanbul. Much better than the Grand Bazaar which is basically full of fake handbags. Fun but fake. Of course, pop into the Blue Mosque, which is free and quick if you want a quick infusion of inspiring history.

If you only have time to do one thing in this city, do this...
Take the ferry boat across to the Asian side. It only costs 50p each way, you buy tokens before getting onboard. The boats go every 10 mins and take around 25 minutes. The Asian side is real Turkey. No souvenir shops, lots of narrow streets, interesting markets, and cafes. If you have time try the Ciya restaurant in Kadakoy for the best meze ever. If you have a full day, and done the Mosques, try the car-less Princes Islands.


Los Angeles

Best hotel for business?
It really depends where you need to be, as getting around LA can take hours. Many hours. I stay at Intercontinental LA Century City, which is to the north of the city in the business district, and on the site of the old 20th Century Fox Studios. LAX airport is 30 mins on a good drive. Beverley Hills is just a 10 minute can ride along the road. There’s also the Century City shopping mall with lots of restaurants, open until midnight.

Best hotel for pleasure?
Ahhh … this is LA … time to live. The Ace Hotel Downtown has the real LA vibe, cool and trendy, with bars to be seen in. It’s actually a very good hotel too. The alternative, and my suggestion, would be to head for the sea, somewhere around Santa Monica where The Viceroy is a beautiful hotel, lots of white linen, classic and modern fusion. Malibu is just a little further up the coast, great classic beach but more residential.

Best bar for celebrating?
You’re spoilt for choice in LA. And again it depends where you are. If you don’t have an in with the locals, your hotel concierge can normally make a few calls for you to get in. Bar Tiki-Ti is a classic Sunset Boulevard cocktail lounge, so dress the part, and see which celebrities end up on the table next to you. Stay cool, they’ll be trying to work out who you are too!

Best bar for a business drink?
Hemingway’s Lounge on Hollywood Boulevard is a place with a story. Immerse yourself in the world of literature and storytelling, in this off-beat bar and lounge, which is where directors often meet potential movie stars, as well as creative types hang out.

Best restaurant for a business lunch?
Craft is a fabulous restaurant within the Century City area. American menu, huge steaks and ribs, but great fish and salads too. Plenty of space, and relaxed so you can talk easily. 

How to spend an hour in-between meetings?
Street café. People watching. Getting the vibe. Particularly if you’re in the north of the city, downtown or near the ocean. More likely you’ll spend the hour in a traffic jam, moving inches and watching the meter tick over. For this reason, planning your schedule well ahead, and in locations as close as possible together is a must.

If you only have time to do one thing in this city, do this...
Just go for a drive, open top of course, or get somebody to take you for a drive around the boulevards of Beverley Hills and Hollywood Heights. It sounds a bit touristy but the huge palm trees still do it for me. If you have a bit more time, and staying in the north of the city, try an early morning run in the Hollywood Hills, great tracks and amazing views of the city as it stretches to the horizon.


Read more from Peter in our Clubhouse and browse more City Guides here.

You can also follow him here @geniusworks
 

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Author: The Marketing Society
Posted: 14 Jul 2017
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