Vibrant Barcelona

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The Spanish city’s hotels offer stunning settings for meetings of all sizes, says Mark Caswell

W Barcelona

The 473-room W Barcelona is an iconic building in the city, with its 26-storey sail-shaped structure pointing out towards theMediterranean seafrom its location on Barceloneta’s beachfront. Designed by local architect Ricardo Bofill, also responsible for Terminal 1 atBarcelonaairport, all of the hotel’s rooms have sea views with large sofas positioned by the windows, while the ground-floor public areas have an underwater feel, with cushions designed to look like coral, and jellyfish-shaped tables. The meeting facilities are some of the largest in the city, covering a total of 2,500 sqm. They include the Great Room, which offers 1,000 sqm of unobstructed sea views and can accommodate 850 delegates theatre-style, plus an adjacent reception area for up to 500 people. There are nine other rooms of varying sizes on the first floor, and for those looking to take advantage of the hotel’s seafront location, the extensive outdoor terraces can be hired for events, as can the rooftop Eclipse bar, which offers stunning views of the coastline.

1 Placa de la Rosa dels Vents; tel +34 932 952 800; starwoodhotels.com/whotels

Hotel ArtsBarcelona

Part of the Ritz-Carlton group, Hotel Arts was voted the third best business hotel inWestern Europein the 2009 Business Traveller Awards. The luxury property is housed in a skyscraper overlooking the Olympic Port and Frank Gehry’s glimmering Fish sculpture, and features a Six Senses spa on the 42nd and 43rd floors, as well as a Catalan tapas restaurant led by double Michelin-starred chef Sergi Arola.

There is more than 3,000 sqm of meeting space at the hotel, including the 1,300 sqm Gran Salo Gaudi, and the hotel has recently opened Arts 41 on the 40th and 41st floors, with six meeting rooms offering stunning views of the city andMediterranean sea. These new rooms range from a capacity of 12 boardroom-style to 200 for a cocktail reception, when the whole of the 40th floor is hired exclusively.

 19-21Marina; tel +34 932 211 000; hotelartsbarcelona.com

Hotel Rey Juan Carlos I

Billing itself as “Barcelona’s only urban resort hotel”, this property
is located on Avenida Diagonal,
one of the city’s main thoroughfares, and close to theCampNou (FC Barcelona’s 99,000-seater football stadium). The 432-room hotel features 25,000 sqm of 19th-century gardens and several outdoor pools, as well as a 5,000 sqm fitness centre and spa.

There are 14 function rooms in the hotel as well as two fixed marquees in the gardens, but most of the property’s meeting facilities are located in the adjacent Palau de Congressos de Catalunya. Here there are a total of 35 rooms across four floors, including an auditorium accommodating just over 2,000 delegates. The main exhibition floor comprises more than 4,000 sqm, and can cater for banquets of up to 3,000 diners.

n661-671 Avenida Diagonal;
tel +34 933 644 040; hrjuancarlos.com

Mandarin OrientalBarcelona

This hotel was the first property in southern Europe
for the luxury Mandarin Oriental chain. The hotel is located in the city’s upmarket Passeig de Gracia, a stone’s throw from the Gaudi-designed Casa Batllo. Originally a branch of Banco Hispano Americano, the hotel will feature 98 rooms and suites, a ninth-floor terrace with an infinity “dipping pool”, a 1,000 sqm spa with an indoor pool, and Moments restaurant headed by Michelin-starred chef Carme Ruscalleda.

Meetings here will be of a more intimate affair, with four rooms that can be combined in pairs to accommodate between ten and 40 delegates. The hotel will also be able to provide breakout sessions on its rooftop terrace and in the landscaped gardens and restaurant terraces, as well as arrange private dining.

 38 Passeig de Gracia; tel +34 931 518 888; mandarinoriental.com

PullmanBarcelonaSkipper

Located in the Barceloneta district, near the Olympic Port, this 241-room property was formerly known as the Hotel AB Skipper until mid 2009, when it was rebranded under Accor’s business-orientedPullmanoffering. The modern building stands in the shadows of the city’s two tallest skyscrapers (one of which houses the Hotel Arts Barcelona), and is in walking distance of the many restaurants and bars at the bustling marina. Facilities include two outdoor pools and the Malbec restaurant, known for itsMediterraneanand Catalan cuisine.

The meeting rooms are in the basement, with a central triangular atrium allowing natural light into the foyer and Grand ballroom. This 684 sqm space accommodates up to 675 people theatre-style, and can be divided into four smaller areas. A block of flexible spaces on the same floor offers up to seven meeting rooms of varying sizes, and there is a 24-hour business centre, as well as direct access to the hotel’s car park, allowing car launches to take place.

 10 AvenidadelLitoral; tel +34 932 216 565; pullmanhotels.com

Hilton Diagonal Mar

One of two Hilton properties in
the Catalan capital, the Hilton Diagonal Mar is located near
the eastern end of Avenida Diagonal (at the opposite end to
the Hilton Barcelona), across from the Barcelona International Convention Centre. The property has 433 rooms, 110 of which
include access to the executive
floor, which has a private reception and offers free breakfast and
snacks. Other facilities include an outdoor pool, fitness centre, sauna, solarium, and Mediterranean-style Indigo restaurant.

There are ten meeting rooms across three floors, including a 1,000-capacity ballroom that can
be divided in 12 different ways, and a further nine rooms accommodating between 12 and 100 delegates. The 2,000 sqm poolside terrace can also be hired for events, and there is a business centre open from 7am till 7pm.

 262-264 Passeig del Taulat;
tel +34 935 070 707; hilton.com

HesperiaTower

This 280-room property is one of 11 Hesperia hotels in Barcelona, and is ideally located for meeting planners who want to be close to the airport – the hotel is ten minutes’ drive from the terminal and provides a free shuttle bus for guests. Facilities include the upmarket health club and spa Metropolitan, and a
rooftop restaurant housed in a glass “dome” that offers superb 360-degree views ofBarcelona.

The hotel’s meeting facilities are located in an adjoining 5,000 sqm convention centre, where there are a total of 21 function rooms. The largest, the Cosmos ballroom, has an eight-metre high ceiling, can accommodate up to 1,400 delegates, and is divisible into four sections, while on the same floor there is an outdoor terrace that can hold up to 525 people for a cocktail reception. There is also a separate auditorium level with a capacity of 480 delegates, which includes six translation booths as well as meeting rooms along each side of a large pre-function area. There is free wifi access throughout the hotel.

 144 Gran Via; tel +34 934 135 000; hesperia.com

OTHER OPTIONS

LE MERIDIEN BARCELONA

Located on the city’s famous La Rambla, this Starwood property has an excellent location for meeting planners who want to be close to the city’s main attractions. There are seven flexible meeting rooms with free wifi, the largest of which holds 240 delegates.

111 La Rambla; tel +34 933 186 200; starwoodhotels.com

EUROSTARS GRAND MARINA HOTEL

Situated in the World Trade Centre complex in the Port Vell area past the end of La Rambla, the Grand Marina
 offers a total of 40 meeting spaces, including
an auditorium accommodating up to 430 delegates, and a 2,000 sqm terrace.

Moll de Barcelona; tel +34 936 039 000; grandmarinahotel.com

NOVOTEL BARCELONA CITY

This 264-room hotel is situated on Avenida Diagonal in the shadows ofAgbarTower–Barcelona’s equivalent ofLondon’s Gherkin. The property has four meeting rooms, the largest of which can accommodate 309 people theatre-style.

 199 Avenida Diagonal; tel +34 913 827 970;
novotel.com

HOTEL PRINCESA SOFIA

Part of the Concorde Hotels and Resorts group, the 19-floor Princesa Sofia includes the Aqua Diagonal wellness centre, which has indoor and outdoor pools. The 28 function rooms include the 1,200-capacity Catalunya, and the 19th-floor Top City room, with views of the city.

4 Plaza Pius XII; tel +34 935 081 000; princesasofia.com

GRAN HOTEL LA FLORIDA

If you’re after a meeting with a difference, Gran Hotel La Florida (pictured below) enjoys a spectacular setting on Tibidabo mountain in the outskirts of the city. The hotel can accommodate events from 12 to 150 people, and meeting rooms provide dazzling city and sea views.

 83-93 Ctra Vallvidrera al Tibidabo; tel +34 932 593 000; hotellaflorida.com