MT business travel: Frequent Flyer - Anthony Lassman's Guide to Milan

HOW TO GET THERE - There are regular flights from Heathrow with British Airways. I'm still a BA fan. Alitalia and bmi also fly from Heathrow.

by Anthony Lassman, publisher of Nota Bene publications
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

For tighter budgets, Ryanair flies from Luton and Stansted to Milan Bergamo airport.

AIRPORT TO TOWN - From Heathrow, you'll arrive at Linate or Malpensa airport.

From Linate to the centre of town takes around half an hour in a taxi, depending on the time of day. It's worth asking your hotel to arrange to pick you up from the airport.

BEST HOTELS - The Four Seasons 1 is my favourite city hotel in Europe (Via Gesu 8, tel: 00 39 02 77088, www.fourseasons.com/milan). It offers superb service and is in one of Milan's most prized sites, the Quadrilatero d'Oro. The hotel is in a beautifully converted 15th-century convent, complete with the original cloisters. It has a zen-like environment that I love.

As an alternative, the new, well-located Bulgari hotel 2 opens in May (02 290 61616). The Grand Hotel et de Milan 3 (Via Manzoni 29, tel: 02 723 141, www.grandhoteletdemilan.it) is also nice.

BEST ROOM - Rooms 8-11 at the Four Seasons are on the ground floor facing into the cloisters and garden, with wonderful tall windows.

BEST BUSINESS RESTAURANT - Milan has two distinct types of restaurant - the sort that the Milanese traditionally frequent and the more formal business restaurant. If doing business with the Milanese, I go to Da Giacomo 4 (Via Sottocorno 6, tel: 02 7602 3313), where the fish is good. Alla Cucina Delle Langhe 5 (Corso Como 6, tel: 02 655 4279) is a well-established trattoria serving classic Italian food, as is Bice 6 (Via Borgospesso 12, tel: 02 7600 2572). For a more formal atmosphere, Teatro in the Four Seasons is top-quality. Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia 7 (Via Montecuccoli 6, tel: 02 416 886) is good and has a wonderfully knowledgeable sommelier.

I would wear a suit and tie for these restaurants. If you're eating alone, the staff at L'Ape Piera 8 (Via Lodovico il Moro 11, tel: 02 8912 6060) are wonderful and will explain each dish to you. The Piccola Cucina 9 is also good (Viale Piave 17, tel: 02 7601 2860).

BEST BARS - There are bars to suit all age groups and different industries.

The fashionista might go to the Dolce & Gabbana Caffe 10 (Corso Venezia 7); it's fun without being too noisy. It's in a lovely paved area behind the D&G shop, and it's a pleasant place to sit with a glass of Prosecco and some nibbles. The bar at the Sheraton Diana Majestic hotel 11 (Viale Piave 42) is good in warm weather, as it's in a lovely garden. For something more formal, try the Four Seasons bar.

A FEW HOURS TO KILL? - Milan has some fascinating galleries such as the exhibition space at Fondazione Prada 12 (Via Fogazzaro 36) and the Galleria d'Arte Moderna 13 (Via Palestro 16). If I wanted to experience the Milan lifestyle, I'd go to 10 Corso Como 14, a lifestyle and fashion emporium set around a courtyard and including a bookstore and gallery. Here, you can have a coffee, browse the books, buy music and relax. Milan's obvious attractions are La Scala opera house 15 (Via Filodrammatici) and the cathedral, Il Duomo 16 (Piazza del Duomo).

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE - The Milanese pride themselves on being well dressed and elegant, and they will judge others on their clothes. Always wear a well-cut suit, smart shoes and a tie. As for their approach to business - it can be frustrating getting things done in Milan and you shouldn't necessarily expect things to happen overnight. Otherwise, there are no surprises.

HIDDEN GEMS - Milan is often thought of as a grey city, but there are many hidden jewels. The Brera district has narrow streets, classic buildings, interesting shops and bars, and gardens hidden away behind gates. The Casa Armani houses more than clothes - there is a Nobu restaurant and the shops sells flowers and furniture. The Corso Como is a wonderful street to wander down. Finally, for designer shops of every type, the Quadrilatero d'Oro area around the Four Seasons can't be beaten.

SECRETS OF THE JET SET - I travel a lot and find I have most energy when I eat well, get some exercise and avoid drinking too much. I do my thinking when I walk, so I often try to walk between meetings. It's a great way to clear your thoughts and see the city at the same time.

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