Back from the EIBTM Business Travel Trade fair in Barcelona, I would like to share some of my experiences with you. I will write a post on the official travel news soon, but first: let me give you some insights in my experiences in this wonderful city, together with some travel tips.
It is not too much information as I literally spent all my days in the fair, but some basics that could be interesting, especially if you go for business and you have a hotel close to the Rambla Catalunya area.
What to say about the Barcelona Airport? It is one of my all-time favorites! New, bright, clean, friendly and full of beautiful shops and good restaurants. It is nice to arrive in a friendly environment. On my way back I always count some time more to spend at the airport to do some shopping and eat something. You see… this is a good way to keep the business going in an airport.
Perfect also for layovers.
Transfer to the city:
I took a Taxi. They have a fixed rate to the city center, which is 27 €.
As I have been to the fair before, I knew that it is a bit far away from the city center and for this reason I chose a hotel which is a bit farer away from the fair but in the center, in order to be able to go out in the evening without any problem.
I have been to the NH Calderon.
The location is great as it is on the Rambla Catalunya. The rooms are a bit dark, but functional, especially if you are just coming for a fair. If you are lucky, you can even get a room with view of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral.
I had a little dispute with them as I did not have any slippers in my room and when I asked for them they told me that only Suites and Junior Suites get them. There wasn’t any chance to get some, even by asking to buying them! They just said a cold “no!”.
There are few things that really do disturb me… this was one of them. How can you deny some slippers to a client? How can you deny ANYTHING which is perfectly possible for you to a client? Without even saying that you are sorry! Ok, maybe I am too extreme, working in the hotels business myself, but I guess they had an uncountable amount of slippers and they just denied them to me.
So please, if there is any hotelier reading this: tell your staff to at least kindly explain to the guests asking for something why you cannot help them.
And then please: offer slippers in your rooms, at least per request. Slippers mean “come in and feel like home!”.
But to get back to the point: functional, good position, buffet breakfast was fine. Perfectly ok if you are there for business.
A fun business hotel is the Barceló Saints. Location is not as perfect but the metro station directly under the hotel is strategically perfect. It is a strange experience to stay there as it looks like a spaceship and you completely feel like in space. The windows, the furniture, the amenities… it’s just like being in space. Even the welcome note says “Welcome on Board” 🙂
If you prefer very elegant, traditional luxury hotels and have a higher budget, then I recommend the El Palace. Part of the Leading Hotels of the World.
Fira Gran Via (Barcelona fair):
My arrival to the Barcelona fair in the morning was easy as the EIBTM organized some shuttles from the hotel, but a taxi only costs 10 € or you can use the metro.
Food & Drinks:
First of all, let me tell you about the best Tapas restaurant I have ever been to: Cevezeria Catalunya (in Carrer de Mallorca, 236). Every day it is full of people and the atmosphere is great. You can sit outdoors or at the bar on the entrance or inside the restaurant and enjoy the best tapas and great cocktails or a good Spanish wine. We asked the waiter to bring some tapas suggestions and after them, we ordered some more!
My suggestion is to reserve a table the day before or you will be put on a waiting list with a waiting time of around one hour that you can use to stroll down the Rambla.
Talking about Spanish wine:
I have been suggested by different Spanish people to drink white wine from the Barcelona region. Often the Restaurants have a house wine. And in fact, the white wine was always great!
On Rambla Catalunya, 33. A more stylish restaurant, celebrating the art of food.
The specialty here are the 50 different Sangrias as you can combine different wines, even good Cava wine with different kind of fruit combinations. We had a good Cava with Berries.
Mas Q Menos
Nice little tapas bar, perfect to enjoy a good glass of wine with some small things to eat or sandwiches.
Oh one last thing: absolutely ask for a window seat when flying to Barcelona! I had the luck to have a late afternoon flight and saw a wonderful sunset from my window. The view of the Mont Blanc was amazing and when we arrived, the sea was colored in yellow, orange and purple by the sunset and the boats of the fishermen were just too romantic.