Madrid has bounced back from the global recession admirably, although even in the hard times it remained a popular place to do business – with a diverse range of industries from fashion and textiles to finance, telecommunications and oil and gas. Its affordability and infrastructure also contribute to its success as an international meeting place and it’s fourth in the world for hosting global commercial events.
Apart from the weather (which is a major plus in my books!) and its casual, cosmopolitan ambience, there are plenty of reasons I enjoy my corporate travel to this wonderful city. It’s still work, but not as I usually know it! I’ve gleaned some helpful information along the way, which I’m delighted to share.
Getting to Madrid
Arriving from the UK is relatively stress free, with six airlines flying direct routes from London, including Ryanair, Iberia, easyJet and British Airways. A flight from Gatwick, Heathrow or Stansted Airports takes approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Once you land in Madrid (MAD), the most reliable way to ensure you arrive at your final destination on time is with one of Shuttle Direct’s Standard, Executive or Premium airport transfer services. In just 30 minutes you’ll be right to the door of your event, meeting or accommodation on time and in style.
Adolpho Suárez Madrid-Barajas is a busy international hub with four passenger terminals, all of which are well facilitated for a comfortable stopover or waiting time.
Wi-Fi: Unlimited free basic Wi-Fi is available throughout the terminal and if you’re after a premium maximum-speed service you can purchase a 24-hour pass for €4.90.
Facilities: As well plenty of retail and food outlets, there are a number of meeting rooms available to rent for conferences, presentations meetings or exhibitions in Terminal 2. I’ve found this is a great option for those with limited time.
Corporate Lounges: Lounge Neptuno is my favourite VIP lounge in the airport and it is very conveniently open 24 hours a day. You can gain access to its amenities – along with a choice of other lounges including the Lounge Plaza Mayor and Lounge Cibeles – with the purchase of a Priority Pass. The pass also includes use of the dedicated Business Centre.
My Favourite Madrid Business Hotel
My go-to hotel here is the Melia Madrid Princesa, located in the centre of the city just a short walk to the famous Plaza Espãna. I don’t always like to stay at dedicated business hotels as some can tend to be impersonal, but this one has definite luxury appeal. Its modern, sophisticated décor and furnishings are offset by a lovely contemporary vibe and it’s got a real air of exclusivity – not like a large chain at all.
Apart from being really spacious, the rooms are quiet and super comfortable – just what you need to relax after a long day. Speaking of relaxing, I always make good use of the onsite fitness centre with indoor pool and spa, and the Uno restaurant is perfect for a casual lunch or dinner.
The fully equipped congress and business centre (1800m2) includes a choice of 21 high-tech meeting and event spaces that are regarded as among the best in the city.
A Couple of Others….
If you prefer to stay slightly out of the centre, I can recommend the Courtyard by Marriott Madrid Princesa, in the trendy Argüelles district. It’s recently had a refurbishment and the stylish décor of the rooms accompanies some excellent facilities, which include a business centre with secretarial services and a choice of meeting rooms.
Set in the heart of the financial district, Plaza de Castilla, and just a short stroll to the IFEMA Convention Centre, NH Madrid Chamberí is a no-nonsense property that’s ideal for the short-stay corporate guest. My top tip is to not skip breakfast, as it is outstanding here! The hotel also has four high-tech conference rooms for hire.
Wining & Dining Your Clients
There are great restaurants on every corner and down every back street in Madrid. You can practically close your eyes to make a choice and you won’t go wrong! But for an upmarket lunch to impress clients or celebrate a win, I have a particular soft spot for the two-Michelin-starred Ramon Freixa Madrid.
Located in the super glamorous Hotel Único, this restaurant really is the bees’ knees of fine dining and the décor has to be seen to be believed. But despite its opulence you’re never made to feel out of your depth and the staff are genuinely warm and welcoming.
The ever-changing menu is based solely around available seasonal produce, which leads to a pretty amazing gastronomic experience that’s different every day. My top tip for a working lunch is to opt for their Short Menu, which is a lighter option and only available in the afternoons. If this restaurant doesn’t impress you, nothing will!
Time to spare….
If you’ve got the time to explore, this city will put on a show of art, culture, history and cuisine that’s pretty hard to match anywhere in Europe. But for such an energetic city there are plenty of ways to relax as well – and let’s face it, relaxing is what the Spanish do best!
If you’ve got a free day, or even an afternoon, the Prado Museum is the must-see cultural attraction, closely followed by the Royal Palace (think Versailles on a hill!) and Plaza Mayor.
To immerse in the vitality of the city, try heading to Puerta del Sol and make like a local. Plot up in one of the many bars or cafes that line the square and watch the world go by with a glass of Rioja – and, yes, I speak with the voice of experience.
But, if all you’re craving is some green open space and reflective time, take yourself over to the truly tranquil Buen Retiro Park. This 120-hectare park offers a welcome retreat, with lots of peaceful walks, lovely fountains and open-air cafes. You could even take a sneaky siesta on a quiet patch of grass. And, yes, that comes from the voice of experience again.
About Shuttle Direct:
If you’re doing business anywhere in Europe, Shuttle Direct offers a superb range of services for the corporate traveller. We are the most trusted name in the industry and our reputation for exemplary customer service is second to none. Choose from our range of Standard, Executive and Premium transfers and you’ll be met at the airport and transported in a discrete, unbranded vehicle right to the door of your event, meeting or accommodation. Book online via our easy-to-navigate system and leave the rest of the details to us.