BUSINESS TRAVEL: Room service where Richard Nichols stays...

For business I stayed at the breathtaking Grand Hyatt in Beijing late last year when we went to open Citigate Dewe Rogerson's new Beijing office. The first thing that struck me was the space - from the allegedly 'single' rooms with their panoramic views of Beijing's historic districts, through to the luxurious basement swimming pool - apparently China's largest - with a 'virtual sky' featuring a changing line-up of different weather phenomena. Arriving at midday, and with time to kill before the formal opening ceremony that evening, a swim seemed a sound way to spend the afternoon, despite not having packed any trunks and the hotel having none available for guests. And so, having come to Beijing to experience up close the nuances of the Chinese market, I found myself literally in the middle of one, negotiating a fair price for what turned out to be an extremely close-fitting pair of cycling shorts with a bemused local stallholder.

by Richard Nichols, CEO of Incepta
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

[BX] FOR PLEASURE My business life often entails travel to all manner of exotic, even glamorous locations, so a down-to-earth hotel perched close to a stretch of golden Devon beach, and with a cosy pub around the corner, provides the perfect antidote. The Saunton Sands hotel near Barnstaple in North Devon isn't the most spectacular hotel, being built in that spare '60s style that's becoming fashionable again, but its owners, the Brend family, do the simple, no-nonsense stuff well. With two young children, practicality is as important as pleasure when it comes to holidays, so a hotel that can provide things to keep the kids occupied is a blessing.

This really comes into its own with a special children's dinner at 5pm every day, when they tuck into their own tailored menu. By the end of the day, the children are exhausted and in bed by 8pm, leaving my wife and I free to enjoy a relaxing Devon evening alone.

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