GTAlk

News, views, culture and cuisine, wine, recipes, DMC team members profile, where to shop, concerts, fiestas and so much more.

GTAlk is intended to be an on-line destination magazine to give you an insight into life in our destinations as well as the normal MICE news on new venues.

April 1 to April 4 2014 – Seville Visit

We chose to fly to Malaga so we could meet an old friend, a doyen of the Spanish MICE market, for dinner on Thursday night prior to flying home on Friday.

Tuesday

We had an early start but at least flying from Birmingham was so convenient for us and allowed a full afternoon of hotel site inspections and an enjoyable surprise during the evening.

Paco provided our very personal meet & greet and drove us to Seville – a picturesque drive in amusing company. Thanks Paco.

Tuesday afternoon was all about Melia. Melia Lebreros, Sevilla and Colon. Three different locations and, surprisingly for a city centre, each hotel is in comfortable walking distance of “tourist” spots and night life while also offering excellent logistics for transporting large groups.

After a long day we were just a little tired and our visit to Aires de Sevilla seemed as though it might be too much before dinner and an early night. However, we were told that Paco had arranged a special treat as long as we took our swimming gear.

Aires de Sevilla was created during ancient times- a Hamman. The atmosphere was wonderful – so calm and so relaxing though the cold baths were a shock to the system. Of course the warm and hot baths, sauna and steam room provide a good warm up as does sitting on the heated stone seats sipping tea.

And our special treat – a Hamman massage.

We left feeling refreshed, wide awake and hungry. Fortunately the night life, tapas bars and restaurants were conveniently local – all we had to do was choose which one before enjoying a wonderful tapas meal with some great “local” Spanish wine.

Wednesday

This was our main venue day – an elegant richly decorated palace, mansions, 17th century haciendas, cortijo and restaurants were just some of the venues we visited.

And… we still fitted in one hotel and a walking tour of the picturesque Jewish Quarter.

We started with an amazing rural Hacienda only twenty minutes’ drive from central Seville. There were so many spaces and options, indoor and outdoor, plus bullring and grounds for team building/fun activities. We loved the beamed ceiling in the main indoor space – so atmospheric for dinners and conferences of up to 600 and the bull ring capable of staging horse riding shows, mock bull fighting, product launches and other activities.

Maximum dinner capacity is 2,000 and the bullring can seat 1,000 spectators.

Our second venue can seat 1,000 in the grounds for dinner and offers multiple indoor spaces for small groups on up to a conference spaces for 200 and 400. The extensive grounds include a lake – here you can have team building and incentive activities on land or water. Shooting, hunting, 4×4’s, kayaking and more.

Fancy being Lord of The Manor with butler service … the house is authentically maintained to look much as it did in the 17th Century and comes complete with 21 individual bedrooms rooms! Being without a bar the butler serves your drinks.

Our final countryside Hacienda provides 8,000 meters of indoor and outdoor spaces set in 180 hectares. The carriage museum is superb for smaller dinners and meetings while the outdoor marquee seats 900 theatre and 550 for a banquet. The gardens can seat 800 banquet style. Finally the Patio of Labour offers 25,000 sq metres of space – it can be a fairground for product launches/demonstrations or seat 1,500 for dinner.

The main house has a lovely character and serves as a hotel with 19 individual bedrooms.

And back to Seville for lunch at the popular Casa Robles set in Seville’s colourful winding streets. The plan had been to eat lunch as the locals do – casually at the bar – but Robles’s popularity with the locals meant that the bar seating was too busy. So we ate in the first floor restaurant. More comfortable but not quite the “local” lunch experience intended – still the food was great. For small groups, up to 70 the third floor provides excellent private dining

For larger and more formal groups Robles has another venue a few minutes’ walk away. Here you can hold dinners/gala dinners for up to 460.

And on to a really interesting boutique hotel with great views of the cathedral. The hotel has an organic character – it grows out sideways and backwards as the owners are able to buy up neighbouring properties. Great for incentive groups and those who like simple elegance with a touch of the quirky.

We followed on with an old palace able to seat 370, a smart contemporary restaurant able to seat 110 main room (and 64 in the first floor with the three little saloons together) along with a number of small private dining spaces and finished with a modern riverside venue with great night time views that that can seat 400 gala (600 using also the terrace)

Thursday

A short agenda but some great experiences that featured a very exclusive glass of sherry – only 125 years old, an experience with horses that surprised us and the amazing Alfonso X111 before we departed for Torrelominos and a great dinner with old friends.

Ramon, co-owner of the bodega carries on a five generation family tradition – sherry wine and wine are laid down and reserved for future generations and very close friends. We had the honour of being served a glass of sherry from a barrel laid down five generations ago – fortunately we drank this last so enjoyed the much younger wines first.

The bodega produces all of its own grapes for their sherries, wines, and, coming soon, Cava. In addition, Ramon provides activities and we were due to experience a horse drawn carriage through the Green Corridor – but it was too wet.

The Green Corridor is river side land owned by a small number of families in order to enhance their passion for all things Arab Pure Bred. Each family owns horses and they are allowed to run “wild” and breed.

Our second privilege we took the Green Corridor tour in the only 4X4 allowed to enter this area, Ramon heads the association who own the land.

Groups can take the horse carriage tour and hold barbecue parties Sevilanos style on the edge of the Green Corridor as well as meet the horses.

Beautiful landscape, barbecues and parties I can understand but, personally, I was not a fan of horses. Strange as it seemed having the horses called to join us and simply observing the connection between owner and beautiful, gentle, horses was both moving and relaxing at the same time.

So on to Alfonso X111 which we loved. There are some hotels you just walk into a feel they are a class act. Built to impress Royalty, Heads of State and the wealthy attending the great 1929 American Exhibition and beautifully maintained this hotel still turns heads.

 Seville Overview

Seville’s venues will spoil you for choice, space and theatrical/atmospheric settings whether you are looking for a venue for a dinner, gala dinner, product launch, welcome reception or offsite meetings spaces. We visited ten, a small fraction of Seville’s offer, and we impressed by the number of venues able to host very large numbers for dinners combined with day long activities.

Time did not allow we see some of the great options in monuments/public historic sites – perhaps they will fit into a future Seville Fam!!