Guest post by Chris Hagan, Head of Overseas, Transport and Ancillary Product and Contracting
1. What event did you go to see and why?
This weekend in London has become a little ritual. Last year I thought it would be nice to treat my parents to a 5* break in London for Christmas (and due to the fact that my Dad’s birthday is in December and my Mums in January I can kill two birds with one stone). It went so well that they now expect it every year! This time though my Sister and her partner wanted to come too. Maroon 5 happened to be playing the O2 that weekend and the only reason I booked the tickets was my Mum has ‘Moves like Jagger’ as her ringtone – reason enough don’t you think?
2. What did you think of the performance? Did it live up to expectations?
I have to admit that before the concert I wasn’t really up on what they sang – however very quickly realised I knew the words to every song. The performance was great, even the support act Robin Thicke was surprisingly good.
3. Was this your first visit to The O2? What did you make of the facilities?
I previously looked after our London product so I was a very regular visitor to the O2 for a number of years (for shows I wanted to see and many that I didn’t!) however there is still something very special about the atmosphere in this arena which is unique – performers claim it to be the number one venue in the world to perform and I would say it is amongst the best in the world to watch a performance too.
4. Did you enjoy a meal or drinks out before the event? If so would you recommend the places?
Really important to note that for around two hours before doors open the restaurants and bars in the O2 become very busy, so I would get there very early, eat first and then relax. This time we ate in Frankie and Bennys who offer a ‘buzzer’ service so you can relax in the bar with a drink whilst waiting for your table.
5. Which hotel did you stay in and what did you think of it? How far was the distance to The O2?
I decided to treat the family again, so we stayed at The Corinthia London. I can not recommend this hotel enough. I stay in around 120 hotels every year throughout the world and this is far and away my favourite. From the service which is just right, the Spa which has to be seen to be believed and the amazing public areas it is worth every penny!
We took the Jubilee Line from Westminster to the Docklands area – this station is just a ten minute walk from the hotel.
6. How did you get to The O2? How did you find travelling around London?
We attended the Cruise Show at Excel prior to the O2 so it was a perfect opportunity to take the Emirates Air Line from Royal Victoria – WOW!! What a view. The perfect way to get to a concert. Make sure you buy an Oyster Card so it is even cheaper. On the return we took the Thames Clipper fast boat from beside the arena straight to Embankment pier which is directly next to the hotel – we even enjoyed a few drinks on-board. A perfect way to travel!
7. How does The O2 compare to other venues?
It’s my favourite, but I would say that!! In all seriousness, the only venue in the world I prefer is the Royal Albert Hall and that’s just for the stunning acoustics and fabulous feeling of being ‘in the round’ – otherwise the O2 wins hands down.
8. Have any other events caught your eye this year?
I’ve already got Monty Python booked with my Dad. Life of Brian is one of my favourite films even though I was only two years old when ‘The Meaning of Life’, their final film was released, but somehow the love of that humour has rubbed off through the generations. ‘He’s not the Messiah …..’