Eventonline regularly explores interesting cities that qualify as a MICE destination. Executive Director Olivier Wauters recently travelled to Barcelona to scout the city. Below are some tips if you consider Spain’s second largest city as the location for your MICE event.
The capital of the Catalonian province is perhaps the most cosmopolitan city in Spain, even more so than the country’s capital city Madrid. Barcelona also offers the best of both worlds. The city borders the Mediterranean Sea where it rises from the sea and runs along the coastline of the Costa Brava through the city streets into the hills of Montserrat. Famous for its architectural gems of Gaudi signature such as the iconic ‘La Sagrada Familia’ or ‘Park Güell’, avant-garde chefs and, of course, perhaps the most legendary football club in the world – FC Barcelona – Barcelona is also a dynamic city perfect to relax, to stroll around and enjoy the unique way of life after an intense business meeting or a multi-day conference.
As my HQ, I opted for Hotel Pullman Barcelona Skipper. The hotel opened its doors in November 2006 and became a member of AccorHotel in 2010. The hotel has an excellent strategic location. Barcelona has three major attraction poles, namely the historical part of the inner city, the Olympic Village and 22@, a zone of urban renewal that has been designed as a hub for international companies and start-ups. The described area makes a triangle on the map. The hotel is located in the Olympic Village, which is the top in the middle of that triangle. The nearest metro station is just a 3-minute walk away and after 3 stops you are in Plaça de Catalunya, the heart of the city. You can also take the tram, with a stop within 3 minutes walking distance and after 6 stops you are in 22@. The hotel has excellent MICE facilities to work hard during meetings and conferences and to relax afterwards, in the hotel or nearby: swimming pool, seafront, restaurants, tapas etc.
Every evening I also visited an interesting restaurant with an excellent cuisine where you can go for dinner with a large or small group after any MICE activity. The first evening I opted for ‘Casa Gracia’. “We are ready for the Invasion!” shouts out the website of the restaurant, ready to receive your group of guests. Casa Gracia is also a hotel, but you can easily have lunch or dinner in ‘La Paisana’, the hotel’s spacious restaurant. Something for everyone, for the vegetarian, the carnivore, the gin lover and the cocktail aficionado.
The second evening I dined in ‘El Nacional’. This establishment is located in Passeig de Gràcia and covers an area of 2,600 m2 with a capacity of more than 700 seats. A culinary restaurant with several zones, where each of the sections has its own unique characteristics, providing different experiences in the same restaurant. Actually, it concerns four different restaurants – a meat restaurant, a fish restaurant, a tapas and rice restaurant and a fast-deli restaurant – as well as four bars specializing in beer, wine, cava and cocktails respectively. This setting makes ‘El Nacional’ Barcelona’s restaurant of the moment, a place to immerse yourself in the local life of the city.
To finish off, on the third evening, I visited the restaurant ‘Chez Coco’, a restaurant specializing in poultry dishes, inspired by the mythical tradition of the French brasseries. The restaurant has an ‘à la broche’ roast where all kinds of poultry and meat are roasted on the spit.
In short, three absolute recommendations to conclude a successful incentive in a great city. – Olivier Wauters