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How to Vacation Like James Bond in London

In our latest installment of Imaginary Celebrity Travel Itineraries, we’ve asked business-travel expert and TravelSkills founder Chris McGinnis to craft a perfect trip to London for the ultimate business traveler … James Bond.

When SmarterTravel asked me to advise an imaginary James Bond on how to do London right, I jumped at the chance. That’s because I’ve imagined myself as Bond on my many trips over the pond over the last 25 years—I’ve probably been there about 25 times.

The Plane

For our purposes, we’re assuming Bond had business in America before heading to London, and McGinnis has a few ideas about the most Bond-appropriate ways to get there.

It’s sad to note that Bond no longer has Concorde as an option for getting to London from the U.S. So aside from renting a G6 for the trip, I’d tell him to take the next best thing: British Airways A318 all business class, Airbus A318 flight to London City from New York JFK.

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The Cars

In Bond’s world, cars matter. Here’s McGinnis’ advice for how the world’s most famous spy should navigate London.

To get from the airport to the city? I would recommend he pick up a shiny new British-made Jaguar F-Type S Cabriolet from Avis Preferred to get around town. Since he’s on the Queen’s business, he won’t be subject to London’s car fees or exorbitant overnight parking rates, right? But if he’s going undercover, I’d advise making a call to Addison Lee (a London version of Uber) for a discrete airport pick up in one of its black Mercedes sedans.

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The Hotels

There’s no shortage of elegant, trendy, and exclusive hotels in London. Here’s what McGinnis suggests for Mr. Bond.

Where to stay? Well, to elude potential enemies by breaking any routines, I would advise that Mr. Bond bed down at a different hotel each night.

To get his bearings, he should check in to a room with a big view at the new Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard, Europe’s tallest building. The next night he can head over the river to Knightsbridge for a stay at the new-from-the-ground up silver-hued Bulgari Hotel. For proximity to government offices and the MI6 headquarters on the banks of the Thames, he should move into a river view suite at the Corinthia Hotel London near Charing Cross Station. And for meeting with the Royals, I’d suggest ducking in at The Goring in Belgravia—a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace.

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The Gear

London is an epicenter of Bond style. Here are McGinnis’ must-stop spots for secret agents and dapper travelers.

Bond can suit up with London’s hip set with a suit or a jacket from Trunk in Marylebone, then head to Jermyn Street near the Ritz and the Savoy for stops at designer men’s shops like T.M. Lewin, Charles Tyrwhitt, Thomas Pink, and many others.

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Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner—and Martinis

All that intrigue can really work up an appetite. Here are McGinnis’ top picks for eating in London, Bond-style.

Morning: A see-and-be-seen power breakfast at The Wolseley on Piccadilly—Bond can get a table on one of the upper levels to keep an eye out for FF.

Midday: Bond can rub elbows with the royals (and their friends) for an elegant lunch at the Dining Room at The Goring—designed by a royal, David Linley.

Evening: Dinner at Langan’s Brasserie for a taste of home (British food, old world ambience, dim lights, comfy chairs, cocktails), courtesy of Sir Michael Caine—the owner.

The Martini: Best martini in town? Fleming’s Vesper Martini is served up from tableside carts by white-coated waiters at DUKES Bar on a cozy side street in Mayfair.

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