MT BUSINESS TRAVEL: Frequent Flyer

ROBERT McHENRY'S GUIDE TO CHICAGO

by Robert McHenry, chairman and CEO of Oxford Psychology Press (OPP)
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

HOW TO GET THERE - I fly Club with BA - there are three direct flights from London daily. Other airlines also fly direct from London.

AIRPORT TO TOWN - Take the Blue line 'El' (elevated train) from O'Hare airport, which reaches the centre in 30 minutes for just $1.50. A taxi costs $35, or $45 in busy periods.

BEST HOTEL - I stay at the Chicago Intercontinental 1 (505 North Michigan Avenue, (www.chicago.intercontinental.com, +1 312 944 4100) in the town centre. It's well positioned for meetings and has fantastic views. I don't usually like hotel chains, but this is excellent.

BEST ROOM - Suites at the Intercontinental have conference rooms - useful for hosting business meetings.

BEST BUSINESS RESTAURANT - The bustling Nick's Fishmarket and Grill 2 (51 South Clark Street) and the Italian Village 3 (71 West Monroe Street, +332 7005) offer quick meals for the power lunch crowd, and upmarket evening dining.

BEST BARS - Whiskey Blue 4 in the Loop district (inside W Hotel, 172 West Adams Street) is owned by Cindy Crawford's husband. Whiskey Sky 5 is in Chicago's other W Hotel (644 Lake Shore Drive) and has stunning views of Lake Michigan. Convivial and less expensive is Monk's Pub 6 (205 West Lake Street), where you can throw your peanut shells on the floor and get a sense of 'old Chicago'.

THREE HOURS TO KILL - In the late 1800s the great fire destroyed Chicago's downtown area, leading to massive rebuilding. There are now riverboat tours through the centre providing historical and architectural details.

Shoreline Sightseeing (www.shorelinesightseeing.com) runs architecture cruises from Navy Pier 7. Oak Park 8 was the home of Frank Lloyd Wright and includes many of his buildings. Chicago's Field Museum 9 (1,400 South Lake Shore Drive) and the Chicago Art Institute 10 (11 South Michigan Avenue) house astounding collections.

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE - Although Chicago is a city of great wealth, the business environment is fairly relaxed. Few work beyond 5 or 5.30pm, so avoid scheduling meetings that finish any later. Don't be surprised if your dinner guest or host wears a suit and tie.

BUSINESS EXPENSES - Tipping is roughly 15%-20%. Excessive tipping has become common for good service.

HIDDEN GEMS - Chicago has some strong ethnic enclaves: Polish, Ukrainian, Indian and Greek neighbourhoods offer authentic cuisine. A not-so-hidden gem is Wrigley Field 11 in the Lincoln Park neighbourhood, the charming, low-budget home of Chicago's famously cursed Chicago Cubs baseball team.

SECRETS OF THE JET SET - Since September 11, you need your passport to enter some office buildings. Going up the Sears Tower last year, I had to change lifts three times - and my passport was checked every time. If you're returning a hire car to O'Hare, allow extra time as the car rental offices are right at the end of the connecting bus service.

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