Surrounded by mountains and based right on the water’s edge it’s no wonder Barcelona is such a sought-after incentive and conference destination. A 2-hour flight takes you from London to a sunny and bright blue-skied Barcelona, even at the beginning of March!
A short taxi journey took us from the airport to the W hotel. With its iconic shape and size, we all enjoyed spotting the hotel from different viewpoints on route. We arrived and were enthusiastically greeted by Miriam, Blanca and the rest of the W team who whisked us away to Bravo24 to admire the view and sip Cava.
Once our thirst had been quenched we were shown to the private dining room for a traditional Spanish lunch of tapas and paella. The food was absolutely incredible. The Catalan chef uses fresh, seasonal ingredients to create traditional food with a modern twist and traditional tapas.
After all that food, we were thankfully offered some downtime! The view from the bedrooms is breathtaking and on the 23rd floor, I had a view over the sea, beach, promenade and the whole of the city. I spent most of our 2-hour break sat on the sofa looking out over the city!
Later in the afternoon, we were taken to the in-house recording studio for cocktails and singing! We were split into groups to record our own version of Taylor Swift's 'Shake It Off', which was then put together and after a few tweaks were made, played back to us! It was a hilarious experience and definitely an icebreaker for us all.
Then it was time for more drinks at the Wave bar - the atmosphere was fantastic! We decided to share a jug of Cava Sangria, when in Spain you have to have Sangria! Sat right on the beach the view was beautiful, we all wanted to spend our evening there watching the world go by but it was time to head out for dinner.
Our first stop was Roc35, an old flour mill and stunning blank canvas events space with huge kitchen areas where you can watch the chefs as they work. The venue is made up of two large rectangular shaped rooms both with live kitchen stations which are joined by a fabulous courtyard which would be perfect for summer drinks receptions. After a wander around the venue and quick explanation for our hosts, it was time for more Cava and some delicious canapes.
Next up was dinner at Can Recasens. The front of the restaurant looks like an incredible delicatessen but take a step inside and through a small doorway towards the back and you find a huge traditional Spanish restaurant. We enjoyed over 8 courses of traditional Spanish cuisine, and I can safely say it was one of the most indulgent meals I have ever had!
The following morning we had until 10:30 am to have breakfast at our leisure in our rooms which was a real treat. After a breakfast fit for a king it was time for an official site visit of the W Barcelona.
It’s hard to say what event the W Barcelona can’t do. Their events space is huge and so versatile with the majority of the spaces having huge floor to ceiling windows looking out over the beach and sea! Their 1000 square metre Great Room really is the perfect conference venue, there are 3 outdoor event spaces for the summer months, 2 outdoor and one indoor pool, a spa, a gym and numerous suites that make the W perfect for both conference and leisure guests.
We got to visit the Extreme Wow suite which can be used for events. The panoramic views, private hot tub, huge living room and DJ booth makes the suite the perfect party venue. The hotel also boasts 6 restaurant and bar areas, the possibilities are endless.
After our site visit, our first stop of the day was to the La Boqueria where we met the head chef of a local restaurant, El Altar. He showed us around the market and explained where everything was farmed as well as buying a few ingredients for our lunch later on. Once we had explored the market, we headed to El Altar for an exquisite tasting menu that was cooked live in front of us by the chefs.
Next stop was to Alta Alella, a winery less than a 30-minute drive from the centre of Barcelona with stunning views from the hilltop down to the sea.
Our guide showed us around the estate and explained how the wines and cavas were made. The reception and tasting area is also home to a fantastic lower ground events pace which would be perfect for a private dinner or Reception. It was then time for my favourite bit; trying the wines! We got to try a number of wines, eat a few nibbles and look out over the vines to the sea. It was a really fantastic activity to end the afternoon with.
The evening consisted of us trying our hand at traditional Spanish cooking. We started off by making a Tomato and Strawberry Gazpacho which was followed by a Paella and finishing with a Crema Catalana. Each course was fabulous and tasted amazing! We then headed to Eclipse for drinks and dancing before we all our beds called us for the end of the night.
Our final morning started with a 45 minute HIIT workout which was very much needed after what had been an indulgent two days. Our final meal was the famous W Sunday brunch which was completely mind-blowing! I have never so many different food options at one buffet before, it was very hard to choose what to eat first and to make sure to save room for dessert too. After yet another delicious and overindulgent meal it was time to head back to the airport and go back to London with heavy hearts.
Barcelona stole my heart during my short stay there and I would definitely recommend the destination to anyone whether they are travelling for business or pleasure.
I would like to thank our wonderful hosts from Marriott Luxury brands; Michael Wiseman and Laura Deakin and the W team; Miriam Pala and Blanca Serrano for organising such an incredible trip and looking after us so well!