By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
NEW YORK - (The author is a Reuters contributor. The opinions expressed are her own.)
As chief executive officer of Coach Inc, Victor Luis finds himself frequently traveling the world for work. One of his favorite cities, however, is Boston, which he visits four to five times a year.
“I grew up in Rhode Island, which always felt like a Boston suburb and therefore it feels like home,” says Luis, who was named CEO of the luxury goods company in 2014. Prior to that, he was president and chief commercial officer at Coach.
“Boston has a unique mix of history, tradition, culture and modernity,” Luis says. And during the academic year, the population is close to 50 percent students, “which gives it a wonderful sense of youth and optimism.”
Also, he notes, “it’s home to the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins – the teams of my childhood, which I never outgrew.”
Luis has a plethora of tips to share on Boston – here are a few:
Getting to town: I am becoming a big fan of Uber due to simple convenience. Occasionally, if I am not in a rush, I will even take Uber Pool and have been pleasantly surprised in conversations with folks I’ve met. Everyone is a potential Coach consumer so I am always looking to do a bit of consumer research.
When you land: If I arrive during business hours, I usually head to the Coach store at Faneuil Hall or Copley Place mall. Both locations allow me to meet with our teams and to see consumers in action. At Faneuil Hall, I am able to get a good read on tourist traffic as well. I then head to the Island Creek Oyster Bar in Kenmore Square.
Checking in: The Mandarin Oriental offers the nicest rooms and the best spa experience. It is also only a few blocks away from great shopping and wonderful dining on Newbury Street, and a bit of a walk to the Charles River for great long runs.
Good cup of Joe: Curio Coffee in Cambridge. Great coffee and the waffles are the perfect side.
For a power breakfast or lunch: The South End Buttery is great for both; best pastries and wonderful salads at lunch. It is a great authentic environment in one of Boston’s most historic and coolest neighborhoods. It also attracts a very eclectic crowd.
Business meeting spot: The Mandarin Oriental Hotel offers quiet and elegant surroundings for any business meetings. The Bar Boulud offers great quality in a wonderful casual atmosphere.
For a team outing: Nothing beats a great day at the park: Red Sox in summer or Patriots in the fall and winter. Boston is a great sports town!
If you are thirsty: The 21st Amendment, which is steps from the State House. With a town steeped in history, this place fits in with its decor, name and location. And to go with the classic atmosphere, a classic cocktail - Tanqueray & tonic.
Killing time: The Brattle Book Store on West Street is America’s oldest antiquarian book shop. You can spend endless hours browsing there.
Favorite tourist trap: Boston Duck Tours. The best way to see the city is through this amphibious vessel that travels on land and water - it’s also a fixture of any New England sports championship parade.
Memento musts: Red Sox, Patriots or Celtics gear. For the foodie, New England Clam chowder.