Every year the Mister takes his staff away for their annual Christmas party abroad…all 23 of them, and this year it was destination Barcelona and I was in charge of organising the three day trip; the lights, the hotel, the entertainment and the itinerary. We all flew out from Manchester airport at an excruciating 6.30am flight time, and arrived safely in Barcelona at 11am with a full day ahead of us.
I booked the U232 Hotel in Carrer del Comte d’Urgell which was going to be our home for the long weekend ahead. The hotel was just as lush as I expected, contemporary furnishing juxtaposed with dark traditional wooden beam features throughout the interior. Upon arrival we all congregated at the bar for welcome drinks and after a quick change ventured out into Barcelona to Parc Guell and then the marina for a bite to eat.
Parc Guell is situated in La Salut and is a very popular tourist attraction. The public park boasts stunning architecture designed by Eusebi Güell who assigned the park to Antoni Gaudí, a renowned architect and the face of Catalan modernism. The park was built between 1900 and 1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926.
After a cultural day of sightseeing, it was time to head back to the hotel and relax before dinner. I had booked a local Italian restaurant, Gusto which was within walking distance from the hotel, but first it was time to have a long soak in the beautiful bath that overlooked our balcony. This was definitely a bath with a view!
The temperature in Barcelona in December was a mild 15 degrees in the day and 10 degrees on an evening, so my look for the evening was ‘understated glam’ – a pair of leather pants from Zara, an oversized printed top from a local boutique in Cheshire and a vintage ostrich fur stole.
We arrived at Gusto and dined on a delicious prawn salad starter, beef fillet and chocolate tiramisu for dessert. For a group dining menu this was not only affordable at 30 euros per person but the quality of the food was on point for 23 diners. Red and white was also included on the group dining menu which was great value for money, but we added a few pitches of sangria to add a Spanish flavour to the dining experience.
Once dinner was served it was time to head to a local karaoke bar, which is the company tradition! This is always a great team building event with so many laughs and so many memories year upon year. The perfect end to a long day and a fun filled evening.
It’s fair to say we were all wounded soldiers the next day, but that didn’t stop us. I rallied the troops up for brunch and myself and the girls hit the shops at Las Rambles while the men hit the local bars. I picked up some great goodies from my favourite make up store Sephora and some Christmas gifts for Rocco and the mister.
After a relaxing afternoon of shopping and snoozing to catch up with ourselves, it was time to go to our last dining location of the trip, Guru Café and Cocktail Lounge in Carrer de Josep Anselm Clavé. This venue was a 10 minute taxi ride from the hotel, it was upmarket, sophisticated and set in a lively contemporary area of the city. The tapas was amazing; cheese, meats, wine, sangria, desserts and impeccable service. I definitely won brownie points with this little find!
After dinner it was time to hit a club, so I booked four tables for us all to go to Shoko on the Barcelona marina. This club was right up my street; funky house tunes, mixed with pop music and RnB, in a large venue, seductive interior and furnishings, with a great VIP lounge. Upon arrival we were taken to our tables and given a selection of champagne, spirits and soft drinks to enjoy in the VIP area. It was a great end to a fabulous group trip and I must say, I was pretty proud I had smashed it!
The flight back home to Manchester was full of laughs and giggles of great memories made that will be the talk of the office until Christmas 2016.