Business Travel: Room service where Diana Parker stays ...

FOR BUSINESS: I visit New York regularly, and had been staying in large but impersonal hotels until my secretary discovered Chambers. It's a modern boutique hotel just a few blocks from the Withers office on Park Avenue. The first noticeable thing is the buzzy atmosphere downstairs, where there's a great bar that acts as a big gathering place. But the minute you get into the lift, the atmosphere changes. The rooms are quiet and very calm.

by Diana Parker, chair of Withers LLP
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

To me, Chambers reflects my business ethos. It's forward-thinking - for example, New York copies of Time Out are placed by the bed. It's ingenious, which shows in its clever and quirky design. And it anticipates its guests' needs. The showers, for example, are huge and drench away any feelings of jetlag. It's a top-end hotel, yet good value for money. The bedrooms have huge feather pillows, Egyptian cotton sheets and lots of blankets.

Usually, the problem with being away on business is that you don't have a home to go to at night. But you can always look forward to going back to Chambers.

FOR PLEASURE Last year, I stayed at the Sun House in Galle, Sri Lanka. I'd like to encourage people to visit Sri Lanka now to help rebuild the economy after the tsunami. Sri Lanka will be more dependent on tourism than ever. The Sun House is wonderful, built into the hills with views over the bay and over Fort Galle. It's another boutique hotel, formerly the home of a spice merchant, with lingering smells of cinnamon. The first floor is given over to the Cinnamon Suite, where you can sit and hear the sounds of monkeys and rooks through the latticework windows. The beautiful gardens contain a tree-shaded swimming pool and discreet and intimate areas where you can sit and read. When the tsunami hit, the Sun House opened its doors to the journalists and aid workers who arrived. It is now completely back to normal, with full food and water resources. I would imagine that anyone who does visit will want to spend as much again on charitable donations to the country as on the trip itself.

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