Destination: Madrid

Trip Hosted by: The Meeting Space & Conventia

Name of Destination: Madrid

Country: Spain

Airport of Departure & Arrival: Heathrow Terminal 5 and Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport

Flight Duration: 2 hrs 20 Mins (Approx)

Language: Spanish

Currency: Euro

Climate: Hot and sunny with an average temperature of 25 °C degrees in the summer months, but cool and cold during the winter with temperatures dropping down to around 6 °C.

We’re here to bring you closer to the destinations that we visit: to give you a taste of what the countries, cities and venues around this beautiful world have to offer for your events. Even places you might think you know well already, may have the ability to reveal another facet, surprise you and beckon you to take a closer look.

Cherry Dalton, our Project Manager recently had the opportunity to attend The Meetings Space Forum, which took place in the charming and alluring city of Madrid. Across the two-day event, Cherry networked with event industry professionals, connected with suppliers and uncovered the must-visit destinations from across the globe. She also got the chance to get better acquainted with the host city and here she shares her Madrid destination highlights…

My Madrid Destination Highlights

Madrid is a stunning city: it’s rich history, it’s artistic heritage, the eclectic architecture and vibrant and energetic culture, all combine to beguile and draw you in; before you know it, you’re immersed and on a journey to discovering the best that the Spanish capital has to offer.

Every time I visit Spain, I have a completely new experience and it gives me a whole new appreciation for a country that I already thought I had figured out. Whilst there’s so much I could tell you about this place, here’s the venues and experiences that made my trip unforgettable this time around.

Hotel RIU Plaza España

What more could you ask for: after a busy day of travelling from the UK to Madrid, we were invited to attend a beautiful drinks reception on the 360-degree rooftop terrace of the Hotel RIU Plaza España. Designed with frameless glass balustrades, the views were unimpeded and simply unreal, capturing Madrid’s multifarious skyline in beautiful twilight hues.

The terrace area is spacious, with different seating areas for guests to sit (or stand) and enjoy a drink with a stunning backdrop. This would be a beautiful setting for a networking drinks reception and would deliver a real WOW factor.

As a newly opened venue, The Hotel RIU Plaza España had an exciting vibe, and we felt rather VIP to be some of the first guests to stay at and explore the hotel’s meeting spaces and onsite business centre. Having the forum take place in the newly opened complex was a brilliant way for us to get to know the venue and its operating capabilities; plus being situated centrally on Madrid’s Gran Via, it gave us a great base to explore from.

Real Madrid Santiago Bernabéu Stadium Tour

As part of the forum we were invited to visit the home ground of Real Madrid Football Club for a tour of the stadium. Football fan or not, this experience was awesome!

When we arrived, I was taken aback at how big and impressive the stadium was from outside and was surprisingly excited to get in and take a look around. Our tour gave us access to the trophy room; the club’s museum, which had some fascinating memorabilia; a player bus simulation; the changing rooms and, unexpectedly, the chance to sit on the managers seats pitch side; it was really cool to get this close to the pitch and see the stadium from this perspective.

Even as a non-football supporter, I would 100% recommend this tour as an activity for groups; the format and content of the tour was well-thought-out and offered an engaging experience that reflected the club’s prestige.

El Club Allard

One of Madrid’s most unique and eclectic spaces, El Club Allard is a restaurant that exudes exclusivity. In a prime city location, the building is grand and summons you in with its gorgeous marble steps and exquisite iron railings leading into the entrance.

Once we’d had a welcome drink and enjoyed some divine canapes, we had a tour of the space, which included the private members area and their cigar room – picture sumptuous and sophisticated interiors.  As we moved through the building, it was clear to see that care had been taken to maintain the history of the property, with lots of restored original features, all of which were complemented by contemporary design and beautiful furnishings. Many of the rooms also offered some spectacular city views to marvel at, which added to the overall allure of the venue.

El Club Allard would definitely be an impressive venue for a private dinner, product launch or small exhibition event; it’s a perfect blend of traditional, quirky and cool.

Madrileño Within

What better way to become acquainted with a city and to discover and embrace our inner Madrileño, than with a guided walking tour through Madrid.

As we sauntered around the city, we got a really authentic experience, stopping off at various locations to learn some Spanish lingo, dance the Flamenco and take part in a drawing class, which was all great fun and a really fantastic way to bring a group together and bond. Plus, it was a superb way to take in and appreciate the diverse Spanish architecture and soak up the warm Mediterranean sunshine.

Gran Meliá Palacio De Los Duques

For the final night of our Madrid stay, we checked into the Gran Meliá Palacio De Los Duques. The former 19th century palace, is simply stunning and has been converted into an incredible hotel that offers a real 5-star experience to guests. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted with a glass of pink champagne and were invited to relax and chat whilst our luggage was taken to our rooms.

Exquisite artwork is paired with modern interior to create a sleek yet luxurious and comfortable setting throughout the hotel. The bedrooms were grand, and gorgeous artwork framed my bed, which reflected the fact we were staying in the artistic and cultural heart of the city.

The Gran Meliá Palacio De Los Duques is a remarkable place to stay whilst in Madrid; the amenities were amazing, and I was completely blown away with the rooftop pool, which overlooked the city and provided unrivalled views of the Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral.

Tatel Madrid

This is one of the most incredible restaurants that I have been to. We ate like kings and queens with a menu that included jamon Iberico de bellota, ensaladilla rusa, foie gras, grilled octopus, glazed lamb shoulder and chocolate cake, all of which was happily washed down with fine red and white wines such as, Muga and Senorio de Villarrica.

The gastronomic delights we enjoyed were only enhanced by the fabulous atmosphere of the restaurant. With every table booked out, it was clearly a popular and renowned place to eat in the city, and with a relaxed yet trendy feel, it was easy to understand why. The service was warm and friendly, delicious food was carefully carved and served at the table, and with Flamenco dancers performing between courses, the whole dining experience felt very Spanish and fantastically immersive.

The private dining space available at the restaurant, is apparently one of Cristiano Ronaldo’s favourite places to host a dinner when he is in the Spanish capital.

Platea Madrid

Post dinner we walked down the street and arrived at Platea. Platea, situated in the Salamanca district, is Europe’s largest gastronomic leisure centre. The premise of the venue is to provide inhabitants and visitors of Madrid with standout food and entertainment all under one roof.

The space is huge and has suspended floors overlooking a central stage. We headed up to The Palco, on the top floor, to enjoy a cocktail and a mesmerising, breath-taking aerial show.

This venue is dynamic and would be an ideal spot for small VIP groups to visit for an entertaining and impressive dining or drinking experience. It was definitely a really memorable way to end our last evening in Madrid.

Fencing Academy

On our last morning in Madrid, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to join Spanish fencer and 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medal winner, José Luis Abajo Gómez “Pirri” for a fencing lesson. During our 2-hour session, we were told about the origins and rules of fencing, and given the opportunity to change into some white – very fetching – fencing gear, before engaging in the real fencing action. I never thought I’d be fencing, but this was a great introduction to the sport and an energising way to end our adventure in Madrid.

Overall my visit to Madrid was exceptional and has to be one of my favourite destinations within the country so far. I would certainly put the city forward for events and incentives and particularly promote the aesthetic beauty and warm hospitality delivered here. Plus, with so many activities and a broad spectrum of venues, it’s a place guaranteed to offer something to please everyone.