Prevue September-October 2017 - 29
"Hospitality and a genuine desire to
help guests not only visit but live the
city are built into Madrid's DNA."
Chamberie's tracks have also been transformed into a mini, highspeed racetrack for corporate events.
Elsewhere in Madrid, Exploramas is offering iPad filmmaking
team building in some of the area's most hair-crawling convents,
while groups can also learn to give chills during an "Expert Criminal"
workshop with Extravaganza that teaches skeleton key making,
sabotage, jewelry heisting, forging works of art and escape and
concealment techniques-while "disguised" in red- and whitestriped robbers jerseys, naturally.
Madrid's MICE allure is often attributed to its cultural attributes,
accessibility and readiness for large scale conventions. To this point,
there are three UNESCO World Heritage sites within the Madrid
region, more than 70 museums, miles and miles of explorable green
spaces and a plethora of dining options, including 14 Michelinstarred restaurants, molecular gastronomy and the oldest restaurant
in the world (according to the "Guinness Book of World Records"),
Botin. Groups can ride Segways and electric bicycles through the
Madrid Rio Park, a renovated part of the city on the banks of the
Manzanares River, or become beekeepers for a day at the Sierra
de Hoyo Beekeeping Centre.
David Noack Perez, director of the Madrid Convention
Bureau, adds a missing ingredient to the city's cultural attributes.
"Hospitality and a genuine desire to help guests not only visit
but live the city-and a desire to truly celebrate life-are all built into
28 | prevuemeetings.com
Madrid's DNA. The people of Madrid will make [attendees] feel right
at home." Perez recommends the Madrid Art Walk, which links
three of the city's top museums-the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza
and Reina Sofia-in a half-mile walk as a hyperlocal experience for
visiting groups. "A visit to a tablao (a place for flamenco dancing), and,
if possible, a flamenco class" is another to-do.
There are currently around 206 hotels in Madrid with four- and
five-star ratings, and big name hotel chains will soon bring another
4,413 hotel rooms to the region over the next couple of years. The
action kicks-off with a new 159-room Hyatt Centric, scheduled
to open by the end of this year in a landmark building on Gran Via
that dates back to the 1920s. Following suit in 2019 is the Four
Seasons' 200-room hotel and 22 residences, which is taking shape
in Canalejas Square, the focus of a major urban revitalization in
central Madrid. Also in 2019, Marriott will add close to 300 rooms to
the city with the opening of the W Madrid and an Aloft hotel, while
the Edificio Espana, one of the city's most iconic buildings, is set to
become a 650-room RIU with a rooftop pool and panoramic views
from a nearly 10,000-sf event space on the top floor of the hotel.
Chicago's vast cultural attributes can be explored in creative ways-
whether jazz tours that culminate in a harmonica lesson with a
live blues musician, guided kayaking and paddleboarding on Lake
Michigan among the lights of downtown skyscrapers, prohibition
pub crawls (a current claim to fame is Band of Bohemia, the only
Michelin-rated brewpub in the country) or a behind the scenes
tour of Wrigley Field's locker rooms and dugouts, and possibly a
step out onto the field and into the footsteps of legends like Ernie
Banks and Sammy Sosa. The Museum of Science and Industry,
Chicago, housed in the only remaining structure from the 1893