March 2017 offered myself and the destinations UNLIMITED team a short trip to Bucharest, Romania, for an introduction to the event facilities and a taste of the town.
We arrived in the evening so traffic was light on our journey into the city centre taking 25 minutes.
Our accommodation was at the luxury 5 star Radisson Blu Hotel which offers 487 rooms and suites with contemporary design; and we were lucky enough to enjoy our stay in a Business Executive suite. Walking through the hotel I was taken aback by the funky and modern look, with indoor water features and the purple lighting theme throughout the hotel. My room was spacious, furnished with a desk, free fast wi-fi and everything you would expect. The view from the room looked into the courtyard overlooking the outdoor spa pool. In addition the Radisson Blu is in a superb location which is around a 15 minute walk to the old town.
The Radisson Blu hotel has 11 meeting rooms (50m² each) and an expansive ballroom which can accommodate 650 delegates for a reception with cocktails and up to 500 people for a theatre set-up.
Staying on the Business level I also enjoyed the use of the inclusive business lounge; here you can help yourself to a variety of drinks, food and papers. Each guest is entitled to allow an extra person meaning this could be an ideal place to hold ad hoc meetings. With a couple of internet enabled terminals, complete with a printer you should have everything you need to prepare for the day.
The hotel’s main bar sits in the middle of what looks like an under floor river; the town is rich with cocktail bars, but anyone staying at the Radisson really should try their innovative mixology cocktail range. They taste good but the presentation is what sets them apart. There's one for every sign of the zodiac and these are presented as a series of tarot cards at a great value price of just £10.00 each.
We also viewed the Athénée Palace Hilton (located opposite the Radisson Blu) which was is very different from the Radisson Blu with a traditional & historic feel and offering 272 rooms: 147 guest rooms, 38 executive rooms, 45 junior suites and 20 suites.
Le Diplomate Ballroom can accommodate up to 350 guests and offers a perfect venue for conferences and banquets. They also have 4 additional meeting rooms which can host 20 people in each.
Bucharest town features some stunning buildings; including the National Museum of Art, located in the former Royal Palace in Revolution Square, which is an excellent venue for a gala dinner, conference, product launch or meeting; and they have two special events rooms: The Royal Living room at the basement can accommodate 150 persons and The Thone Hall at the first floor can accommodate up to 180 persons.
The Romanian Athenaeum is a concert hall, and Accent Travel & Events can organise conferences for 600 persons and cocktails for up to 500. Both venues are within walking distance from both the Hilton and Radisson Blu Hotels.
When spending money I very quickly realised that the pound goes a long way in Bucharest. You can expect a good meal to certainly cost no more than 35 lei, which at the current exchange rate is no more than £5. The drinks were equally as cheap even in the more up market bars.
I found the night life in Bucharest to be vibrant, friendly and fun. A few of the pubs we visited were The Druken Lord, La Bonita, Shoteria, Laborator de Cocktailuri, to name but a few, but if you want a good dance with a party atmosphere we had smiles all night at a bar called Times. If you want to go to a night club they tend to be on the outskirts of the old town and you will have to get a taxi. Fratelli’s is the place to go and it is a 25 minute ride in a taxi costing around £10.00 to get there.
Taxis are very cheap at 1.39 Lei per km and we did a lot of walking around the town centre; even at night I felt safe.
I really enjoyed a feast at the Caru’ cu Bere – Meaning the beer cart; this restaurant is excellent for large groups, especially with its long tables, warm, medieval feel, Romanian dancing and hearty meals. Due to the inclusivity of the dancers & staff and the laughs that ensue; this venue would be perfect for an ‘ice breaker’ meal, especially for clients who don’t know each other so well. Capacities: 600 pax seating
Crama Domneasca - This quirky and highly traditional restaurant is great for incentives, especially with its fun, Medieval and spooky feel to it, plus underground cellar for large groups. It has space for 110 pax in the main restaurant, 80 in the adjacent function space and 70 in the cellar. This restaurant has a great atmosphere at night, with entertainment in the form of a band and for a more low-key affair; the courtyard is perfect for just a beer or a lunchtime ice breaker!
Curtea Berarilor has a great atmosphere as well as great food and beer. The beer is served in various ways: lined up on a long tray, on a wheel, in big or small pots, or in a bottle. The food is was great, huge servings and the value for money was amazing.
Outside of Bucharest
Certain themes immediately standout such as ' Beauty and Beast' or 'Dracula Man and Myth' showing the adventures of the real Vlad the Impaler / Dracula and his mythical namesake.
Bran Castle is actually a 3 hour drive but you can also use helicopters which are around £1000.00 to take guests there.
PRAHOVA VALLEY / BRAN / TRANSYLVANIA Prahova Valley is well known for the medieval castle of Dracula (built 1377.) It was turned into a summer residence for Queen Mary in 1922. Surrounded by an aura of mystery and legend and perched high atop a 200-foothigh rock, Bran Castle owes its fame to its imposing towers and turrets, as well as to the myth created around Bram Stocker’s Dracula. The Castle is perfect for a half-day of sightseeing and fits well into most incentive programmes. Clearly the Castle is the perfect back-drop for a Halloween inspired event and Accent Travel and Events are well versed in accommodating such requirements.
In summary, with a guided stay in Bucharest you can eat and drink like a king whilst conducting business with ease away from home. I'm already planning my next visit, intending to visit Dracula himself.
This visit was brought to you by our Romanian DMC, Accent Travel & Events DMC