Try It

It’s 8.30am on a Wednesday morning, and I’m being whisked in a hotel lift to a penthouse. I’ve got a busy day ahead, but this is a good start.

The hotel is new and buzzy, and I’m enjoying seeing what people do with their lives when they aren’t locked up in a glass tower, hammering stories on a computer keyboard.

Someone in a corner is sketching (Yes, sketching, listening to music, on a Wednesday morning! So millennial!) A slick German couple is examining the cutting-edge artwork on the walls (note to self: must find out who the artist is). A bearded man is flicking through a coffee table book (hotel libraries, I think: might it be a good subject for a trend feature?)

When I get up to the penthouse, the views over the City are fabulous. It’s a sunny day and, on the roof terrace, about a dozen tables have been set up: each manned by a PR and a client.

There’s fresh orange juice to drink, tempting croissants to nibble: neither of which I’d normally have in my glass box. An espresso? Yes, please.

The MD of the PR agency, knowing I have very little time, and knowing the magazines I work for well, quickly lists the clients I should meet – and in the next hour, I talk to six, and leave with a head whirling with ideas, a list of the agency’s key clients and their newsworthy projects, and the contact details of them all.

Back at my desk at 10am, I update my “Travel ideas for 2019” on Google Docs, wish I hadn’t eaten two almond croissants, and continue my day as normal: at a keyboard, on a phone, in a glass tower.

It was a lovely little start to my day. The breakfast meetings hadn’t cut into my editing work. They were in a new hotel I might not otherwise have visited. And it was a timely reminder, in our tech-fuelled world, of how the best stories come about: talking to people face to face. Ideally, with a fresh croissant in your hand…

Post Author

Lisa Grainger has worked for The Times – from the arts and news desks to The Times Magazine and LUXX – since 1995. When she isn’t working as deputy editor of Luxx, Lisa freelances for publications from Departures and Travel + Leisure to The Times, pens a monthly interview with a leading British craftsman for Walpole, and is sustainability editor at Country & Town House. She has won awards for her travel writing on Africa, and is a regular contributor to panels on conservation and luxury travel. Her compilation of African myths and legends, Stories Gogo Told Me, funds schooling for orphaned girls through the CAMFED charity.


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