Eating is cheating

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Members of the fourth estate are often not at their brightest early in the morning. However, when Euromoney found ourselves sitting in the foyer of a West End hotel last month awaiting a breakfast meeting with a US-based senior financier, even we suspected that something might be amiss.

Having arranged to eat at the hotel we found ourselves in a rather utilitarian lobby surrounded by tour groups grappling with the complexities of the London Underground. There wasn’t a restaurant in sight.

The lack of expensive carpeting, soft music and overstuffed armchairs suggested to us that this was not the usual environment in which such professionals are found. Sure enough, frantic emails from a hassled PR shortly revealed that we had been sent to the wrong hotel – we shouldn’t be at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, we should be at the Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel. Of course!

This swanky five-star establishment is the natural setting for a meeting with a member of the financial services industry. We quickly scuttled around the corner to Park Lane and were ushered into the comforting splendour of a glittering dining room.

Having apologized to our host for the mix-up and our consequent lateness, we sat down, laughing: "I should have realized that you would never have been staying in a grotty hotel like that!"

"Oh, we are just eating here; I am staying there," came the reply. "I find it so much more convenient for the office."