Dataworks Summit Barcelona
I attended the Dataworks Summit hosted by Hortonworks in Barcelona in March 2019. The conference is about big data, hadoop, analytics and very interesting for my daily job. In the evening my colleague and I had a few couple of hours to visit the city. We did 2 city walks and went twice for dinner in the city. Once we were invited by a supplier and once we just picked a restaurant on good luck.
The first day we took a taxi to La Rambla and started with a drink in Els 4 Gats which was a restaurant frequented by Picasso where he held his first exhibition. After a drink we started to crawl around in the Gothic area where we visited the Cathedral of Barcelona and via some small streets and inside courtyards we came to the Plaça dei Rei. This is a bit aside of the crowd on La Rambla and it’s nice to hang out there.
We continued and continued towards the Plaça Sant Jaume. This square is the administrative heart of both the city and surrounding Catalonia. On this square you find both the Palace of the Generalitat of Catalonia and the City Hall are located here across from one another. A lot of television teams were preparing and we think some demonstration was about to start or it was something political, but we did not pay too much attention and moved on in the direction of the Plaça Reial. This square in the Barri Gotic of Barcelona is a popular tourist attraction especially at night. There are a large number of restaurants and some of the city’s most famous nightclubs.
As the square is next to La Rambla we moved to there and walked it down in the direction of the sea. It’s crowded but brings a nice atmosphere with restaurants and street artists. At the end you get to the Columbus statue, known as Mirador de Colom. We moved on in the direction of the harbor as we were expected for the supplier dinner by 8 PM.
Marie-Claire and I visited the Sagrada Familia back in 2014 but as my colleague had not yet been in Barcelona we went to visit it once again. It was again as crowded as back then. They advanced in building and I heard somewhere they need another 7 year to finish it. Marie-Claire and myself decided in 2014 we will only visit the church inside when it’s completely done. So still some years to go. The church is very special, but you do see the difference between the older and newer parts. The level of detail of the newer parts is way more detailed than the newer parts. This is seen as Barcelona’s number 1 place to visit according to TripAdvisor. It is like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Atomium in Brussels. You have to pay this building a visit.
From the Sagrade Familia we walked in the direction of the Arc the Triomf and the Parc de La Ciutadella where you can also find the Barcelona Zoo. We did not walked much in the park as it was getting late and we were hungy. We moved to La Ribera where you again have plenty of small streets and cosy restaurants. We selected Pla de la Garsa, which is listed number 546 out of 8930 restaurants. It’s a very old building with a nice atmosphere. Both the service and food were good. There is a considerable difference if they seat you downstairs or upstairs. Make it downstairs as it is way better. For wine, starters, main dish and desert we paid just below 100 euro for 2 people. For what we got this was a good price. We really enjoyed the food. After the restaurant we walked to La Barceloneta but called it a day and took a taxi back to the hotel.
The hotel is located just opposite of the conference center. It really is a great hotel. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful and check-in was really fast. The perks you get in this hotel are almost endless.
- Free mini bar (water, soda, beer)
- Free smartphone usage during your stay (with SIM and credit!)
- Awesome breakfast (see later)
- Outdoor pool on 3rd floor
- Outdoor roof pool on 23rd floor
- Gym area
- Late check – out if required
- Restaurant open till 11 PM
The room can be fully made dark with automated roller shutters, there is ambient lighting, a desk to work, a flat screen, and not to forget an awesome shower with side sprayers. The bathroom is with a window, but can also be closed with a roller shutter if you would want to have some privacy.
I have been in plenty of hotels but I’m sure this one will last a bit longer in my mind as I really enjoyed every minute I was in the hotel. There are plenty of small details to make your stay more joyful. A big thank you to the staff. And maybe last but not least, the price of the hotel is really affordable compared to the quality and location. It was a business visit to the conference next doors, so if you are city tripping, the location might be less convenient, but there is a metro station around the corner which should bring you where you need to be in no time as I remember from my 2014 visit the metro is really great in Barcelona.
The breakfast area is spacious and staff is constantly walking around to clean up and prepare for the next guests. There are several islands where you can pick food. At first this was not fully clear to me and I thought the choice was limited with some croissants and bread, but once I paid a bit more attention I saw the breakfast is really extensive. You can taste it all, it would just be too much. There is nothing that you can think off which is not present. I really enjoyed the breakfasts during my stay in Barcelona Princess. If I really have to search for some negative comment, the only thing I can find is that you easily gain calories and that you sometimes have to wait a little bit to get coffee as there are “only” 3 machines. But final conclusion is that the breakfast is awesome and you’ll enjoy it for sure!
The conference center located at the start of the Avinguda Diagonal is near the coast and surrounded with some big hotels. The facilities of the conference center are similar to other conference centers. They have an auditorium on the lower level and then different sizable conference rooms. The temperature was adapted and the sanitary was well maintained during the day. There was an expo organized on the ground floor where also food was catered. If you have a conference here, I suggest to stay in the Barcelona Princess (see above) which is just across the street and is a very nice place to stay.