Over the years Barcelona has become a major hub for business meetings and conferences so there’s a good chance you might find yourself travelling there with a corporate, rather than leisure, agenda.
From some of my favourite hotels to the city highlights that you shouldn’t miss if you have spare time – here are some essentials for visiting Barcelona on business.
Getting to Barcelona
Barcelona is easy and inexpensive to get to from the UK, with no fewer than 8 airlines flying direct from London. The flight time is about 2 hours and you have about 225 flights per week to choose from, so finding one to suit your schedule is not a problem.
You’ll land at El Prat Airport, which is about 16 kilometres south of the city and a pre-booked Barcelona airport shuttle service can have you in the city centre within around 20 minutes.
El Prat Airport is completely kitted out to help ease the strain of travel for the business executive.
There are several VIP and business centre lounges located in both terminals where you can access free drinks and snacks, newspapers, and computers. Your individual flight will be announced to you so you can relax while you wait.
T1 has a VIP lounge in both the Schengen area and non-Schengen areas as well as the Colomer Lounge, which is located in the Barcelona-Madrid Air Corridor lobby. In T2B you’ll find the Canudas Lounge.
My ticket has not always included free access to the VIP lounges but I’ve found that the small entry fee is definitely worth it, especially as the free WiFi in the terminals has very limited speeds.
I have also made use of the Business Centres, where I was able to print, copy and bind documents. You can use the services here to organise the shipping of excess baggage.
The Centres are located near Gate A13 in T1 and in the centre of Level 1 in T2B.
I’ve never made use of it myself but the Fast Pass VIP service at Barcelona Airport has a good reputation for facilitating tight connections or just making life easier when you are arriving or departing.
You’ll be met and accompanied throughout the airport by an assistant who will manage and expedite all your paperwork including tickets and luggage. The best part is probably the fast track through security, which can always be that one hurdle too many to getting to a meeting on time.
For more information on the Classic and Exclusive levels that Fast Pass offers, contact:
Telephone: (+34) 933 758 600
My Favourite Barcelona Business Hotel
The Majestic Hotel & Spa is my preferred hotel in Barcelona. It’s been operating since 1918 and has a long tradition of catering to the European and American executives and business travellers. Located near to the financial and business district of the city, I have always enjoyed the combination of centrality and stylish elegance that the hotel offers.
The Majestic has several good quality restaurants and a rooftop bar with amazing views, so whether you are entertaining clients and colleagues or just having some down time after a busy day, you have a few options on the same site as your room.
A Couple Others…
Hotel Fira Palace – If, like me, one of your biggest bug bears when it comes to corporate travel is the risk of being allocated the pokey single room without a view, then the Hotel Fira Palace might be just the place for you. It boasts the largest bedrooms in the city.
The amenities are also superb, with a pharmacy in the lobby, a gym and swimming pool and a satellite newspaper machine that can deliver any world paper you want in just 2 minutes. It’s a great venue for a business meeting even if you aren’t staying there.
Meliá Barcelona Sky – Located in the business district of Barcelona, next to the CCIB conference centre, this hotel is part of the iconic skyscraper designed by Dominique Perrault. Along with its superb facilities and service, I really appreciate the cutting edge atmosphere that seems to give the hotel a vibe and energy that inspires my corporate drive.
Wining & Dining Your Clients
Bravo24 is truly one of the most unique restaurants that I have ever encountered and I am certain that it will not fail to impress any client you care to invite to dine there with you.
The Catalan chef Carles Abellán is the genius behind the scenes, who has put together a menu that he created from the historical and traditional flavours of Barcelona. He has reinterpreted many of the regional culinary basics to serve up dishes that are innovative and playful.
The restaurant’s space is also ideally suited to the business agenda. You can book a private space for your meeting or you can blow your clients away by reserving a table on the terrace with its spectacular views of the sea.
Currently Bravo24 is not open on Mondays, so if you need an alternative I would recommend looking into some of the venues described in this blog post, which led me to discover Bravo24 in the first place.
Time to spare….
You’re in for a serious treat if you can bag some free time during your business trip to Barcelona. My favourite way to kill some hours is always the walking tour. Guides offer tours of the city based on a variety of themes and there’s one to suit all tastes.
I have particularly enjoyed the tour of the Gothic Quarter, which takes a few hours and visits all the major highlights in the city: La Rambla, Passeig de Gràcia, Sagrada Família, Park Güell, Montjuïc and the seafront.
There’s very little hardship in visiting Barcelona on a business trip. You’ll have a choice of high quality and suitable accommodation; the food is fantastic; the amenities will ensure your business is achieved efficiently; and the city atmosphere is fun and lively.
About Shuttle Direct:
Wherever you are travelling to in Europe on business, Shuttle Direct can provide you with a private transfer service from the airport to your meeting venue or hotel. Our fleet ranges from Standard to Executive and Premium vehicles. However all cars are discrete and unbranded, driven by chauffeurs whose courtesy and professionalism will ensure that you have a top rated experience.