Real Business has been checking out meeting rooms and conference facilities in the heart of London to find the best, most affordable places for entrepreneurs to host meetings and events in the capital. Last week, we popped over to Durrants Hotel behind Bond Street to find out whether the family-owned business had the right space, the right atmosphere and the right prices for our readers. Aside from the fact that we love that Durrants is one of the last privately owned hotels in London, it’s a beautiful building. Think English estate, country pub and modern luxury all rolled into one. There’s a restaurant, bar and lounge (with Operation, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit for those idle moments) open to guests and business users alike. It’s all very open plan on the ground floor. From the comfortable lounge, you can see into the Spy Room, the first of the conferencing spaces, made of glass and full of natural light. Durrants is an old-school venue. It doesn’t lay on laptops and USB sticks, but they go have up-to-date equipment for video conferencing with whiteboards and drop-down screens for presentations. There are five business rooms at the hotel, from intimate meeting spaces to conference rooms that can hold (and feed) up to 50 people. The Regatta Room, in the basement, is perfect for top secret confabs – you’re well away from the main hotel and there’s no chance of a guest (or roving reporter) interrupting proceedings. But, for more informal events, the Armfield Room upstairs is small and well-equipped. Durrants even throw in a private bar for refreshments or finger food. The smaller rooms are relatively inexpensive at £99 per hour, or £450 for the day. The Regatta Room, the largest meeting space, is more pricey at £595 for a days hire. But it does come with clever audio/video equipment that folds out of the ceiling. All in all, Durrants is an extremely convenient venue, based right behind Oxford Street, and a welcome break from sterile, unwelcoming serviced meeting rooms in the City. Real Business verdict? Four stars. For more information, visit www.durrantshotel.co.uk
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