At the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I, concierge Christian Fons has spent five years guiding visitors to the best things to do, see and taste in Barcelona. Here he offers expert guidance for business travelers.
What should business travelers pack when visiting your city?
Pack for the season. In spring and summer, warm temperatures and humidity will keep you comfortable without a sweater. During winter and autumn, pack a sweater and light jacket. At all times of year, stylish but comfortable clothes and footwear are appropriate—you’ll do a lot of walking.
What are your top restaurant recommendations for a business lunch or dinner?
Ornina Restaurant [Avda Diagonal, 593 Interior (old Oliver y Hardy); Ph: +34 933 21 64 32], in the business district, is one of the trendiest restaurants of the moment. The cuisine is inspired by southern Mediterranean flavors. It’s a sophisticated space with private rooms and a quiet terrace. Marea Alta [Av. de les Drassanes, 6-8 (Edificio Colón Piso, Planta 24); Ph: +34 936 31 35 90] offers smoked and grilled fish in a high-rise space with 360-degree views. It’s the ambitious project of renowned chef Enrique Valenti.
What’s one thing that always surprises guests about your hotel?
Guests are wowed by our new chic and stylish lobby—a concept created by the prestigious London studio Richmond. They’re also surprised that we have 25,000 square meters of breathtaking gardens first planted in the 1800s. Our gardens are a natural oasis in an urban setting; you not only see beautiful flora, but also get an unparalleled view of the Barcelona skyline.
If business travelers only have a few hours for leisure, what must they see in your city?
Get a feel for Barcelona by admiring the outside of Sagrada Familia cathedral, designed by our internationally celebrated architect Antoni Gaudí. Then walk along Las Ramblas, visiting the Boquería food market and the Gothic Quarter.
What’s the best option for outdoor exercise in your city?
The Carretera de les Aigües offers paths that will take you to the top of Collserola ridge, where you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the city. The vista is a great reward for the effort you put into exercise.
Concierge Christian Fons’ top tips for getting business right in Barcelona:
Tip 1: Expect effusive greetings from locals, even for business meetings.
Tip 2: Most business deals get done at the office in Barcelona, but a tapas bar can be a great place to break the ice at the beginning of a negotiation or celebrate a successful conclusion. These bars are social spaces with a friendly atmosphere.
Tip 3: If possible, print one side of your business card in Spanish. Colleagues and clients will be impressed by your consideration.