Nikesh Arora's guide to Cologne

I normally fly from London Heathrow to Bonn, rather than Cologne, with British Airways.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

HOW TO GET THERE

I normally fly from London Heathrow to Bonn, rather than Cologne, with British Airways. I fly economy class, but because I fly so often I sometimes get upgraded, which makes for a more relaxing flight.

AIRPORT TO TOWN

When in Cologne, I tend to drive myself, but for the 20-minute journey from the airport to meetings I'm lucky to have my own driver. This allows me time to catch up on e-mail and phone calls en route to meetings or to the T-Mobile offices in Bonn.

BEST HOTEL

I usually stay at my flat in Bonn, but sometimes at Cologne's Hyatt Regency Hotel (Kennedy-Ufer 2a, tel: 00 +49 221 828 1234, http://cologne.regency.hyatt.com), which is in a great central location with superb surroundings. It's comfortable and relaxed and not too corporate, so it's ideal after a hectic day of meetings.

BEST BUSINESS RESTAURANT

Quattro Cani della Citta (Benesisstrasse 61, tel: 221 257 4085) is a real favourite of mine. It's a lovely Italian restaurant with really friendly service and it serves fantastic pasta.

Le Merou (Dom Hotel, Domkloster 2a, tel: 08000 282840) is a great seafood restaurant and another favourite haunt for dining with colleagues and business partners. Whether for a short business lunch or a more relaxed evening dinner, Le Merou has always provided great service and offers delicious fish dishes. It has a fantastic interior. Try to book a table by the window for a superb view of Cologne Cathedral. Das Kleine Stapelhauschen (Fischmarkt 1-3, tel: 221 257 7862) is a centrally located restaurant in the fish market along the banks of the Rhine - another great choice for a business meal. It's always busy, probably because of the great menu and excellent wine list.

BEST BARS

I've always found a great choice of bars in Cologne, all with a vibrant evening atmosphere. I'd struggle to select one in particular.

Harry's Bar (Intercontinental Hotel, Pipinstrasse 1) is one where I've enjoyed evenings with many business colleagues. Bar International (Dom Hotel), next to Le Merou, serves a superb cocktail, and there's a wonderful tapas bar called La Bodega (Friesenstrasse 51), which serves simple, rustic Spanish food with a great selection of wines from all over the world. For a more traditional German beer house, try Taglich in the old town (Alter Markt 26), which offers a range of traditional strong German ales.

A FEW HOURS TO KILL?

A wander around the streets and shops of Cologne is always a nice way to pass a few hours and to chill out. Cologne Cathedral (Domkloster 3) is an impressive sight and always worth a look around.

The Dom, as it's known, houses unique treasures, including the remains of the three Wise Men; it's as impressive as the first time I stayed in Cologne. The Ludwig Museum (Bischofsgartenstrasse 1) has an interesting collection of modern art dating from 1900 to today. It offers an alternative to the beer houses and is a great way to kill a couple of hours and gather your thoughts - even inspire some new ideas! There's a great selection of cafes and beer houses offering a range of atmospheres, cultures and drinks to cater for all tastes.

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE

Meetings tend to be fairly formal, so most people wear business suits. In the evenings, it is more relaxed, and although people dress casually, they maintain a smart image.

BUSINESS EXPENSES

I usually tip 15% in restaurants or bars, as is standard in Germany.

HIDDEN GEMS

The Wallraf Richartz Museum (Martinstrasse 39), while not exactly hidden, has some fantastic exhibits, including work by Durer, Cranach, Rubens and van Gogh. A walk along the river Rhine offers a great chance to take in the sights of the city and to admire historic buildings, in particular the cathedral.

SECRETS OF THE JET SET

To be honest, I tend to sleep while on the plane. The amount of travel I do often means early starts, so I catch up on sleep on-board. While waiting at airports, I check e-mails, messages and appointments for the day ahead on my Blackberry.

Nikesh Arora is chief marketing officer of T-Mobile International.

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