At the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I in Barcelona, concierge Jordi Leno has spent 23 years recommending things to do and see in this beautiful seaside city. Here he offers expert advice for business travelers.
What should business travelers pack when visiting your city?
“In addition to business attire, bring an outfit for evening, in case you’re tempted to experience our nightlife. In summer, you cannot forget a swimsuit, of course, for the beach or the hotel pool.”
What are your top restaurant recommendations for a business lunch or dinner?
“Restaurant Via Veneto (Ganduxer 10, 08021 Barcelona; Ph: +34 93 200 72 44) offers exceptional service, awarded-winning and Michelin-ranked cuisine and an exceptional wine cellar. The restaurant’s Belle Époque décor is well worth the visit by itself. Restaurant Windsor (Carrer de Còrsega 286, 08008 Barcelona; Ph:+34 932 37 75 88) is a favorite of locals and visitors to Barcelona because of its bright, modern décor, unique indoor garden and exquisite cuisine. The lamb shoulder is a signature dish. Our own Terrace Restaurant, in an ivy-clad pergola overlooking the hotel garden and pool, offers an enticing selection of appetizers, tapas, salads and rice dishes, as well as fresh meat and fish on the restaurant’s barbecue. It’s ideal for long lunches, relaxed dinners and after-work get-togethers.”
What’s something that surprises guests about your hotel?
“Designed by renowned Catalan architect Carlos Ferrater, our hotel was inaugurated by the king and queen of Spain shortly before the Barcelona Olympic Games of 1992 and won the National Prize for Architecture in 1993. But our grounds hold even more history with 25,000 square meters of gardens that date back to the 19th century; that amazes our visitors.”
If business travelers only have a few hours for leisure, what must they see?
“A bicycle tour takes you to hidden corners of our city. Enjoy riding along Montjuïc Hill, La Rambla, the harbor and seafront, the Gothic Quarter and past Basílica de la Sagrada Familia and other architectural masterpieces of Antoni Gaudí.”
What’s the best option for outdoor exercise in Barcelona?
“Our hotel garden trails are perfect for walking or jogging. Or see the heart of the city with a jog or stroll along La Rambla and through Paseo de Gracia.”
Tip 1: Most Spaniards dress fairly formally for business, so be prepared with a well-cut suit or stylish dress.
Tip 2: Meals are very important for building relationships with local clients and colleagues. Do not turn down a dinner invitation, if at all possible. If dining out, remember to tip the waiter or waitress—usually 5% to 10% of the total bill.
Tip 3: Keep in mind that most public places have a ban on smoking, with the exception of some bars and nightclubs.