The No-Nonsense Guide to Business Travel
(Business 2.0) – It's always on your mind: the next business trip. But what you're thinking about is closing the next deal--not the mundane details of your travel arrangements. So we've done that for you. Our down-to-brass-tacks guide delivers hotels tailored for work, restaurants that serve good food fast, and important services like local tech support in 12 key business cities. We've also included essential gear and even reputable barbers. After all, you should look like you thought of absolutely everything.
SLEEP: The Omní Hotel at CNN Center (404-659-0000; $155) provides you with little reason to leave your room: You get two phones and complimentary high-speed Internet access, and you can rent a "personal" treadmill ($15 per day). When you do need to hit the road, you'll find the MARTA train station one block away.
EAT: The bar at Toast (404-815-9243) has chairs instead of stools, a couple of TVs so you can catch up on your Headline News, and the same fare that's served at the tables. Try the salmon sandwich with arugula pesto ($9).
LOG ON: Slice (404-588-1820), an upscale downtown pizzeria, is more civilized than your typical fluorescent-lit Kinko's, and you'll have plenty of time to answer your Wi-Fi-delivered e-mail while waiting for a made-to-order pie.
FIND HELP: Chuck Hoppenrath, founder of AtlantaIT.net (404-557-2042; $75 per hour), makes emergency visits to hotels and always brings along spare cables and hardware.
GET A TRIM: Soge Salon (404-870-0830; $40-$50) has nine stylists, making it easy to get an appointment.
RUN: Trace the route of the annual summertime Peachtree road race, the largest 10K in the world, courtesy of the permanently painted peach outlines that appear every mile. Start on Peachtree Road at Lenox Square and head south.
SLEEP: Deluxe accommodations--multiple-head showers, heated towel racks, windows that open--meet reasonable rates at Jurys Boston Hotel (617-266-7200; $169). The nine-month-old establishment, owned by Ireland's largest hotel chain, also provides free wireless access and laptop safes.
EAT: As if you were on the Continent, pull up a barstool at the Aquitaine bistro (617-424-8577) and get quick delivery of rouge by the glass ($7.50-$12.50) and the house specialty, steak frites ($26).
LOG ON: Shop a little at the Emporio Armani on Newbury Street and then answer e-mail via Wi-Fi for hours at the Armani Cafe next door (617-437-0909). It doesn't close until 11.
FIND HELP: The one-man show that is Ted Swoyer of Sworby (978-667-8558) charges only $35 per hour for house calls.
GET A TRIM: Walk-ins can usually find open chairs on Mondays and Tuesdays at Beaucage Salon on Newbury Street (617-437-7171; $35).
RUN: Paved trails along both the Cambridge and Boston sides of the Charles River create jogging loops anywhere from 2 to 17 miles long.
SLEEP: The new Hard Rock Hotel (312-345-1000; $140) on Michigan Avenue has an impressive CD library and a stereo in every room, but it's wired for more than sound. Each guest gets high-speed Web access gratis, and the fully equipped business center is open 24/7.
EAT: Heaven on Seven (with four Chicagoland locations) serves excellent incendiary Cajun food, including a generous bowl of gumbo for an expense-account-pleasing $4.95.
LOG ON: Despite the eclectic decor and overstuffed-couch seating options, suits are acceptable (and common) attire at the Wi-Fi-equipped West Gate Coffee House (312-829-9378) in the West Loop.
FIND HELP: Avoid the house-call fees: CompuAction (312-269-9400; $95 per hour), which is an authorized HP, IBM, and Sony service center, is right next door to the Hard Rock Hotel.
GET A TRIM: The Wrigley Building Barbershop (312-787-1886) delivers a neat, razor-straight cut for only $16. Try to call an hour or two ahead to guarantee you'll get in.
RUN: Start next to Lake Michigan at Millennium Park, complete with its gleaming Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion band shell, and head over the swooping steel bridge toward the Field Museum. The round-trip is about 4 miles.
SLEEP: At the Hilton Suites Dallas North (972-503-8700; $139), you can spread out your work over two rooms before diving into meetings at the nearby corporate offices of J.P. Morgan, Kinko's, and Siemens.
EAT: Truluck's (972-503-3079), 2 miles from the hotel, is a surf-and-turf institution where you won't mind slurping and smacking alone. Try the bluepoint oysters ($9.95) before wrestling with some Florida stone crab claws ($14.95).
LOG ON: Besides providing free Wi-Fi, Standard & Pours Coffee & Stocks (214-565-0383) sets out copies of the Wall Street Journal, tunes the overhead TV to CNBC's Squawk Box, and serves up "opening bell" house blend.
FIND HELP: The magicians at Computer Wizard (972-781-0011; $79 per hour) can tackle the trickiest hardware and software problems. Service is available anywhere in the Metroplex.
GET A TRIM: Preston Tower Barbers (214-692-7767; $15), in the bustling Northwest Highway district, doesn't do trendy, but the cuts are respectable and the barbers welcome walk-ins.
RUN: The asphalt trail around White Rock Lake Park makes a 9.3-mile circle. You'll find plenty of drinking fountains--and company--along the way.
SLEEP: The Magnolia Hotel (303-607-9000; $179) couldn't be more convenient--the offices of KPMG, Quiznos, Qwest, and Wells Fargo are all but a quick cab ride away. Even closer is the I.M. Pei-designed 16th Street Mall, which is host to the Tattered Cover bookstore, movie theaters, and many major retailers.
EAT: At the Rialto Cafe (303-893-2233) on the 16th Street Mall, the waitstaff is efficient without being pushy. They'll give you plenty of space while you linger over the client's term sheet and a healthy portion of grilled ahi ($19.95).
LOG ON: High-speed wireless connections can be found everywhere from the Magnolia's lobby straight into your room, or accompanied by occasional live acoustic music and an espresso at the nearby Common Grounds Coffeehouse (303-296-9248).
FIND HELP: The Microsoft-certified staff at NexusTek (303-773-6464) services the Magnolia's hardware and will happily give you preferential treatment for $155 per hour.
GET A TRIM: Check the website of the Renaissance Aveda Spa & Salon (303-308-0524; www.denverspa.com) to find out when you can duck in. Haircuts start at $20.
RUN: Jog with Denver's superfit locals alongside running water on the 10-mile Cherry Creek Trail. Forget your shoes, socks, or a windbreaker? The local (and huge) REI is right next to the running path.
SLEEP: Even with high-speed Web access furiously delivering e-mail, you'll regularly look up to enjoy the commanding views of Motown and its eponymous river at the recently refurbished Marriott Detroit Renaissance Center (313-568-8000; $209). Fortunately, you're also virtually atop the corporate headquarters of Compuware, EDS, and GM.
EAT: Client meetings can't go late enough to keep you from getting baked eggplant ($9.75) or flaming cheese ($4.95) at Greektown's New Parthenon (313-963-8888), which is open until 3 a.m.
LOG ON: A few blocks north of the Ren Cen (and three stops away on Detroit's People Mover), you can send wireless IMs and eat at Cafe de Troit (313-962-8050). Panini sandwiches are the house specialty.
FIND HELP: Ethan Pitts, owner of MCM Technologies (313-779-3879), will pull into your hotel parking lot with a van full of spare PC parts. Rates start at $75 per hour.
GET A TRIM: You don't even have to leave the complex: Decent cuts start at just $19 in the Renaissance Center's Clippers Salon (313-446-4000).
RUN: Bucolic it's not, but this 2.5-mile route is safe (we are talking about Detroit, after all): From Hart Plaza, take Woodward Avenue North. You'll pass grassy Campus Martius on your way to the historic Detroit Institute of Arts.
• Los Angeles
SLEEP: Think of the Westin Century Plaza Hotel & Spa (310-277-2000; $259) as a retreat with a fat pipe to the Web: Each room comes with a pillowtop mattress, down blanket, and balcony.
EAT: Gaze out a picture window as UCLA's student life unfolds in front of you at the Napa Valley Grille (310-824-3322). The marinated duck breast ($19) gets raves.
LOG ON: You're free to roam the Web inside the L.A. Convention Center. Otherwise, only two blocks from Santa Monica's beach, you can link up at the Infuzion Cafe (310-393-9985).
FIND HELP: Compurent (310-475-2121) stocks all manner of parts; rates begin at a reasonable $75 per hour.
GET A TRIM: Umberto L.A. Salon (310-204-4995) is far humbler than its chi-chi sibling Umberto, making for reasonable haircuts ($31) and scheduling (next-day appointments).
RUN: See how the other 0.001 percent lives with a jog through mansion-filled Brentwood. Follow the grass down San Vicente Boulevard and take a left on Ocean Avenue. Consider going the full 5 miles (one way) to reach Santa Monica Pier and then Venice Beach.
• New York
SLEEP: Boutique meets business at the 288-room Flatotel Hotel (212-887-9400; $249). Each handsome room comes with a laptop safe and contemporary furniture, including an Aeron chair and flat-screen TV.
EAT: There's no need for a dinner partner at Beacon (212-332-0500). Request a table in the "pit," where you can watch chefs cook everything from oysters ($14) to filet mignon ($31) in an open-fire oven.
LOG ON: Wi-Fi is always in the air at the 24-hour Esperanto Cafe (212-475-2525) in the West Village. Sandwiches--and a strong cup of joe--are available anytime.
FIND HELP: Amnet PC Solution (212-935-9200; $105 per hour) doesn't blink at any problem, including the dreaded hard-drive crash. During the workday you can get service within three hours of your call.
GET A TRIM: Ask for the treatment from chin to scalp at the two-chair Art of Shaving (212-986-2905; $40-$65). Salon Kiara (212-832-2699; $30-$40) also cuts women's hair and gladly takes walk-ins.
RUN: Run in the footsteps of Dustin Hoffman's Marathon Man: Enter Central Park at 59th and Fifth and head north to the reservoir for a 5.5-mile loop.
SLEEP: Judge the 84-room Wingate Inn Research Triangle Park (919-941-2854; $96) not by its generic looks but by its value: spacious rooms, phones with conference-call capabilities, and fast Internet access. Copying and printing services are available for free.
EAT: Less than 8 miles from the Research Triangle Park, the Angus Barn (919-781-2444) serves up a menu full of steak, like bacon-wrapped filet mignon ($28). Loosen your tie--it's a barnlike atmosphere.
LOG ON: Surf wirelessly at Raleigh-Durham International Airport ($10) or drive approximately 8 miles to the Bean Traders (919-484-2499) coffee shop on Highway 54. The fresh-roasted coffee and Wi-Fi signal are both plenty strong.
FIND HELP: PC Wizards (919-217-1577) provides written estimates and charges $75 for the first hour, $50 for each subsequent hour.
GET A TRIM: The Von Kekel Salon Spa (919-877-9917) in Raleigh cuts hair for $30 and is open till 8 most weeknights.
RUN: The noxious-sounding American Tobacco Trail is actually a pleasant, tree-shaded dirt path that winds from Durham's Bull Durham park southwest for about 7 miles to Highway 54.
• San Francisco
SLEEP: At the vintage Hotel Rex (415-433-4434; $129), the most inviting place to get work done isn't in the recently remodeled rooms (which have desks and data ports). Instead, spread out in the hotel study, which is lined with books and old typewriters and offers high-speed Web access. Complimentary Town Car rides go to the nearby financial district daily.
EAT: Near the Rex and next to Union Square, Kuleto's (415-397-7720) will happily prepare a plate of risotto with seafood to go ($15.95).
LOG ON: For starters, Union Square's public park area and SBC Park (home of the Giants) both offer Wi-Fi. For a little Left Bank ambience on the Left Coast, Café de la Presse (415-398-2680) offers over 100 periodicals and free Wi-Fi access.
FIND HELP: Driving trademark VW Beetles, the San Francisco Best Buy's Geek Squad will show up at your hotel for a minimum flat rate of $129.
GET A TRIM: Pastel's (415-398-4566; $55-$60) is close to the hotel and welcomes lunch-hour walk-ins. You can get up from the chair with or without your hair full of "product."
RUN: Start down Market Street and head for the Embarcadero on the edge of San Francisco Bay. Turn right to run under the Bay Bridge, left to go past Fisherman's Wharf.
SLEEP: Invite your clients to meet you at the Grand Hyatt Seattle (206-774-1234; $189), where all 150 seats in one presentation room feature power outlets and high-speed Ethernet connections for immediate presentation downloads. The accommodations are equally tech-minded, with fast Web access and laptop safes.
EAT: Red Mill (206-783-6362) provides the consummate diner experience: great burgers (try the chili-pepper-covered Verde, $5), thick chocolate malts, and fast service.
LOG ON: Even in Starbucks's hometown, there are other places to sip and surf. The downtown Online Coffee Company Cafe (206-381-1911) has free wireless access, desks, beer and wine, and--in case your laptop's on the fritz--25 PCs for getting on the Web. Buy one beverage and stay as long as you want.
FIND HELP: The benevolent geeks at ProtoSoft (206-628-0791) will diagnose laptop ills over the phone and even talk you through self-repairs, often for free. Onsite work runs a reasonable $50 per hour.
GET A TRIM: Guests staying at the Grand Hyatt can almost always get a cut at Seven (206-903-1777; $45), the salon in the hotel's lobby.
RUN: Join the joggers who enjoy the bayside views while pumping along the waterfront. From the Seattle Aquarium through grassy Myrtle Edwards Park to the end of the Elliott Bay Trail and back is approximately 5 miles.
SLEEP: The U.S. dollar is virtually worthless in Europe, but it's still holding up against the Canadian version. Take advantage by checking into the InterContinental Toronto Centre (416-597-1400; $169 U.S.). Standard rooms are generous, with big workspaces and free high-speed Web access, and the business center offers all of the expected services plus document binding.
EAT: The Bloor Street Diner Bistro (416-544-1661) on Yonge Street is Canadian multi-culti in a unique way. The diner portion of the menu has burgers and a turkey club sandwich ($7-$9 U.S.); the bistro section offers salade nicoise and steak tartare ($7-$10 U.S.).
LOG ON: The Croissant Tree is Toronto's homegrown version of Starbucks, with six Wi-Fi-equipped coffee shops spread across the city.
FIND HELP: Nerds4Hire (866-294-6373; $69 U.S. per hour) can turn around most jobs within 24 hours or address the problem ASAP for a negotiated price. The techs tackle both PCs and Macs.
GET A TRIM: Hair by David (416-913-2146; $52 U.S.) is close to Toronto's major hotels, which is its blessing and its curse. The great location makes the salon popular, so book online (www. hairbydavid.ca).
RUN: Leave the presentations (and the metropolis) behind on the 12-mile Martin Goodman Trail, which starts near the downtown hotels and hugs the shoreline of Lake Toronto.