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When it comes to doing business in the United States, Los Angeles may not be taken as seriously as New York City, but that seems to suit Los Angelenos just fine. Don’t let the perfect tans, sandy beaches and rippling muscles fool you — from show business to big business, L.A. has what it takes.
Mr. C hotel | Photo: Jessica Sample
Lay of the land: If you’ve never been to L.A., prepare yourself for some pretty impressive sprawl. A rental is a given in this car-obsessed town and everyone — including your client — will be checking out your ride. Beverly Hills Rent-a-Car’s LAX location is stacked with the latest Lamborghinis and Ferraris as well as old-school Cadillacs. They’ll even pick you up at the airport. There’s no shortage of swank hotels in Los Angeles; the recently opened Mr. C (as in Cipriani) in Beverly Hills has quickly become a go-to for visiting media moguls and fashion elite who appreciate the hotel’s Mad Men-meets-La Dolce Vita aesthetic, not to mention those complimentary welcome Bellinis.
Make your pitch: Power lunching is a local pastime in L.A., and the Polo Lounge at the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel has been a staple since the days of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Plush carpets, leather banquettes, a live piano player and waiters in starched white jackets all evoke the spirit of Old Hollywood. For a more modern dining experience, Wolfgang Puck’s Cut at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel is a no-brainer. Sample the best steak in town in this sleek, minimal dining room, where Eames office chairs lend a touch of boardroom chic.
Seal the deal: If deals are made on the golf course in New York City, in L.A. shop talk happens on a hiking trail, tennis court or surfboard. People here like to stay active in their on- and off-hours, so pack your trainers and don’t be surprised if you’re invited to hit the trails before that big breakfast meeting.
What to read: The Love of the Last Tycoon is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s unfinished novel about movie moguls and Tinseltown celebrity culture, written while he was working as a screenwriter in 1940. Though the author died of a heart attack at the age of 44, Fitzgerald scholar Matthew J. Bruccoli edited the manuscript into shape.
First person: “If you’re from the East Coast, you’re used to getting work done in the morning, but in L.A. you really can’t find anyone before 11 a.m., 10 a.m. if you’re lucky. Everyone’s at the gym or playing tennis or kayaking.”
Matt George is a Toronto-based entrepreneur and owner/CEO of United Front, a holding company for his various fashion, retail, branding and creative consulting ventures. George has been travelling to L.A. on business since 2004 and spends half of his time there.