Barcelona attracts event planners with chic design and fine dining

Barcelona has retained its crown as one of the most popular European cities for business events, according to an ICCA Statistics report on country and city rankings.

Barcelona regularly plays host to more than 200 business conferences each year, making it the city with the highest number of participants worldwide. One of the biggest for 2020 is the Mobile World Congress from 24-27 February, which takes place at Fira Barcelona. The event attracts more than 100,000 attendees worldwide – a bonanza time for hotels.

All these factors make Spain one of the faster-growing hotel markets across the world. The country’s hotel market has grown extensively in recent years, and is projected to grow even further. Spain was also second in terms of investment volume, after the UK.

Competition is fierce and hotels are vying with each other to carve out a special niche in the market. One of the latest additions is Nobu Hotel Barcelona, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, which opened in September 2019. Nobu is one of the best-known brands in the restaurant business, co-owned by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert de Niro and film producer Meir Teper.

The hotel has 259 rooms as well as Japanese-themed meeting and event spaces. On the 23rd floor is Barcelona’s first Nobu Restaurant serving Japanese cuisine with a local Catalan twist.

“There is an outdoor terrace which is suitable for groups and events,” says Lorna Turnbull, Nobu hotel’s marketing manager. “We can provide Nobu bento boxes for lunch, while the sushi bar has views of the Sagrada Familia from the top floor. Our sushi master from Japan can provide special menus for incentive groups.”

The hotel is located close to the neighbourhood of Eixample and near Plaza de España as well as being a four-minute walk from Barcelona Sants train and high-speed rail links, which takes you the conference center Fira de Barcelona.

Other restaurant chain are extending their brand into accommodation. Hard Rock Hotels is slated to open a variety of hotels in Europe this year, including Barcelona, spending €200 million on the new development at the last available seaside plot in metropolitan Barcelona, adjacent to Forum Beach.

Construction of the 504-room hotel is set to open in early 2022 and have seven meeting rooms and ballroom covering 21,530 square feet of meeting and conference space.

Todd Hricko, senior vice president and head of global hotel development at Hard Rock International said this in line with the brand’s hotels’ development strategy in Spain, “which targets opportunities in major visitor destinations with a shortage of rooms.”