FUNKY LUNCH

Dean & Deluca opened in Singapore this week, which is very exciting. I am secretly loving all these fabulous new retailers and cafes/restaurants that have branched out to Asia, especially Singapore. It can be hard to find a favourite lunch spot that is consistent and of course delivers on service and a good coffee.

So in 2012, what are the options for a good work lunch that is – fast, reasonably priced, good quality and has a “cool factor” or buzz from the café/outlet. Here are a few that may be of interest when you are next in that city.

Dean & Deluca
Singapore, New York, Tokyo, Dubai, Bangkok (I know there are more)
The Dean & Deluca NYC Soho flagship store is great for a fast work lunch as the choice of food is varied and high quality, and while not as big, Singapore ticks the boxes too (even a cheeky glass of wine is an option).

Wholefoods
Stores all across the USA and Canada. Love the one in Seattle and it’s spot a celebrity in the Malibu location. Has now opened locations in the UK too.
LOVE the range of salads, soups… you name it (I actually feel overwhelmed in them sometimes). If you can’t find something to eat in here you aren’t looking hard enough. And of course it is all pretty fresh and healthy. Fingers crossed they come to Asia soon.

Selfridges
London
One of my all-time favourite food halls. Perfect for a Friday lunchtime treat of oysters and a glass of champagne and you can still be back in the office in under an hour.

Hardware Lane
Melboure
Basically you are spoilt for choice in this funky laneway in the city that is full of individual cafes. Try Hardware Societe for a pre-work breakfast or lunch.

Wagamama
UK, Europe, Middle East, USA, Australia, New Zealand
If you are craving Asian food that is stock standard, then this is perfect. While you won’t get a very authentic experience the food is still good and served fast.

If all else fails and you are stuck at your desk, you can always go old school and pack a sandwich and piece of fruit from home!

Where is your favourite lunch place during the working week?

WWW.SHOP

I consider myself an experienced online shopper, buying about 80% of all my clothes and shoes over the internet from stores across the world. And it seems I am not alone…

Global web retail sales are set to hit $1 trillion by 2013, growing at 19.4% a year. And Asia is the growth market – it will overtake Europe this year in online sales with growth of 27.5% to become the world’s leading online shopping region.

Amazon and eBay are still the most popular global shopping sites (282 and 224 million visitors a month), and China’s Alibaba is next, followed by Apple and Japan’s Rakuten.

No longer are you limited by shipping either, as “buy for you” and “ship for you” services make it possible to buy from anywhere. My favourite shopping sites:

www.shopbop.com
www.netaporter.com
www.theoutnet.com
www.mrporter.com (for the guys)
www.yoox.com
www.shopstyle.com (to source it all)

But if you aren’t an online shopper and prefer to put your money elsewhere consider online stocks. In 2010, the Online Retail Index performed at 36% while the S&P 500 was 12.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial 11%.

Sources: Forrester, Goldman Sachs

EXCUSE ME!

Being in the USA this week (so please expect my posts to be sporadic), pleasantly reminds me of how polite everyone is here. I always enjoy people saying “excuse me” and holding an elevator for you, rather than trying to shut it on you while you have one arm in the door.

So where are the rudest people to be found while you are travelling? Take a look below and when you next travel there see if you agree.

In first place… France. Outside of Paris people are generally nicer, and to be fair, Parisians can be just as rude to each other as they are to tourists.
Russia takes second place.
UK is third and actually voted themselves “world’s worst tourists” too.
Fourth is Germany.

The countries rated as having the least rude locals were Brazil, the Caribbean and the Philippines. And my nicest nations would have to be Japan, Thailand and New Zealand.

Ranking of rudeness
French
Russian
British
German
Chinese
American
Spanish
Italian
Polish
Turkish
Indian
Swiss
Greek
Croatian
Austrian

Source: Skyscanner survey

CRASH LANDING

After travelling last week on holiday it was a welcome experience at an airport (Queenstown and Christchurch, NZ) not to have to take off my shoes, belt, watch and everything else, then go through a scanner. The old fashioned joy of actually being able to say goodbye (or welcome) to someone on a flight at the boarding gate was such a nice experience, and sadly is almost a thing of the past.

This got me to thinking to the other extreme, what are the worst airports out there? Here is a list of the ones to avoid (major airports only).

1. JFK Airport Terminal 3, New York City
In 1960, Pan American Airlines built the Worldport, fifty two years later this is still used by Delta as an international hub. Terminal 3 is the worst single airport terminal in America, and probably in the Western world. It is known for endless immigration lines in a dank basement, for an utter lack of food and shopping options. It seems the cleaning crew gave up in despair a while ago too.
2. Manila Airport Terminal 1, Philippines
The terminal has been a frequent target of criticism with travellers and the business community complaining it is congested, run-down and filthy, and bad toilets. Bribery and theft are also rampant in the terminal. Thanks heavens they are re-building this.
3. Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport Terminal B/C, Russia
Rated terrible for anything where you have to interact with airport staff: their attitude, their language skills, and the speed with which they process passengers. It can take 2 hours to transfer to a connecting flight.
4. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi
Nairobi’s airport was built to support about 2.5 million passengers and now averages about double that.
It’s hot, ugly, dirty and confusing, full of touts and scam artists and perpetually overcrowded. This Third World construction site (a new terminal was meant to be built in 2005) remains a place for travelers to avoid.
5. Paris — Charles de Gaulle Airport, Terminal 3
CDG got the “worst airport” award two years running due to the amount of homeless people there. It is one of the worst terminals to transit in across scattered terminal making changing planes here is tiring, irritating, and sometimes a little terrifying. This being Paris, there is also usually a strike on too.
6. Amman Queen Alia Airport
Amman is just plain bad in bathroom cleanliness, places to sit and service of any kind. Reviews on the Skytrax website make it clear that you may just want to “hold it in” at this airport, as the bathrooms are so disgusting!
7. LaGuardia Airport US Airways Terminal, New York City
LaGuardia was recently rated the worst major airport in America (by both JD Power and Associates and Zagat Survey). It has no rail link and is overcrowded and experiences constant delays. Scary service from an airport at one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
8. Newark Airport Terminal B
America’s worst airport for on-time arrivals , and possibly the most dull airport in the country. Once you pass security there is no food and shopping to entertain you. Seems they didn’t get the memo on the right way to do this!
9. “Paris” Beauvais Airport, France
Fifty miles north of Paris this airport lacks seating, services, and feels like a warehouse. Closing at midnight and with no rail link to Paris if your flight gets delayed you may be sleeping on the floor.
10. Chicago Midway Airport
Chicago’s Midway airport ranked as the nation’s worst for on-time departures

THIRSTY THURSDAY – Tea Time

More and more tea houses are popping up around the world so if you are meeting a colleague for coffee, why not make it tea for a change.

Here are some of the best tea houses in the world, which will be sure to impress for a business meeting.

Bangkok: The Author’s Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Singapore: Raffles Hotel, TWG Marina Bay Sands
Tokyo: The Peninsula Hotel
Paris: Maison des Trois Thés
Las Vegas: Petrossian Lounge at the Bellagio
Boston: The Bristol at the Four Seasons Hotel
New York: Astor Court at The St. Regis Hotel, Alice’s Tea Cup
London: Orangery at Kensington Palace, The Modern Pantry, The Connaught
Melbourne: Hopetoun Tea Rooms

The most hard to get to tea house in the world may be this one in Anhui Province, China, which is only accessible after rappelling up a mountain (photo in post)

And while you are drinking your tea, here are some talking points to impress your guest.
After water, tea is the most consumed drink in the world. While pure tea may have more caffeine than coffee, once water is added tea contains far less than a cup of coffee.
The UK consumes about 130,000 tonnes of tea a year of which at least 95% is in teabags
On a daily basis, about half of the American population drinks tea, and Americans drink 85 percent of their tea on ice.

TRAVEL TUESDAY – Best Business Hotels

Booking your next business trip and trying to work out where to stay? The Business Traveller awards highlight the best hotels and hotel chains based on readers feedback, for those of us who spend time on the road for work.

Best Business Hotel Chain Worldwide
1. Four Seasons
2. Hilton Hotels and Resorts
3. Mandarin Oriental
4. Marriott
5. InterContinental

Best Business Hotel Globally
1. The Peninsula Hong Kong
2. Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
3. Four Seasons Hong Kong
4. Shangri-La Singapore

Best Hotel Loyalty Scheme
InterContinental Priority Club
Hilton HHonors
Starwood Preferred Guest
Marriott Rewards

And to look stylish and make life easier when packaging the favourite Luggage Brands
1. Samsonite
2. Tumi
3. Delsey
4. Rimowa

TRAVEL TUESDAY – Hong Kong Hotel

Already a big fan of the Four Seasons properties, I was not disappointed with my stay in Hong Kong. Rarely do you find an exceptional business hotel, but this is one.

From the moment I got out of the taxi the staff were amazing. Nothing was too much trouble and although a city business hotel, they are extremely family-friendly too.

The rooms are big for HK and I would suggest paying extra for a harbour view. Pool is fabulous and the hotel is in such a good location with IFC adjoining for some sneaky shopping, and everything else is close by. The gym is fabulous and if you have time after a busy day of meetings, I recommend making a visit to the spa.