by Lauren Bailes

La Réunion á Barcelona

Four weeks ago we were on a beach… sunbathing… swimming… and sipping Éstrella… a distant but fond memory in the bracing November weather! It was back in the summer when our director Wayne announced that for our next quarterly Gathering we would be hot-footing it over to Barcelona; a cultural and creative cornucopia that mirrors our own passion for design and ingenuity. After a 0300h(!) start to get to Liverpool airport for our 0730h flight to Barcelona we arrived about 1030h local time and were taken (eventually) by coach to our hotel. We stayed at the stylish Princess Hotel at Diagonal Mar with views of the sea from the rear and of the city from the front. With contemporary designed rooms,  buffet breakfasts  and a free mini-bar our every need was catered for!


Interior of Princess Hotel Rooms - Kevin Hayhurst, Contracts Manager Having checked in and changed into our beachwear we headed over to the beach to take advantage of the Catalan weather after having a quick bite to eat and a beer we then basked in the sun, some were even brave enough to take a dip!


1. Team SZ at the beach - Melanie Zarins, Senior Designer
2. View of the W hotel from Barcelonetta beach.- KH
3. Having a snack at a beach bar - Rebecca Reeves, Designer Our first evening we dined en-masse at the La Gavina in the beautifully restored Palau del Mar with views over the harbour, where we were treated to a sumptuous 15 course banquet of Catalan tapas including Bottifara a Catalan spicy sausage and Cuixetes de guatlla en escabetx fred quail thighs with pickle. After the meal we dispersed and the rest of the evening was spent meandering through the narrow winding streets of Barri Gòtic sampling the wares of the quintessential bars.


1. Our lovely directors at La Gavina - David Hales, Procurement Manager
2. A delicious tapas course - Sue Jordan - PA
3. At Bar Bollox in Barri Gotic - RR Monday morning after a hearty buffet breakfast we convened in one of the hotel’s many meeting spaces where the driver for the trip, The Gathering or La Réunion our quarterly meeting took place. After some wise and inspiring words from our illustrious leaders and an amazing buffet lunch at the hotel we were poised to immerse ourselves in all that Barcelona had to offer. Armed with our T10 carnets we split off into various groups taking in the sights including  La Sagrada Familia, El Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Pavelló Alemany and Casa Milà; basking in the Modernisme that is so prevalent throughout the city.


1. T10 Ticket
2. The Mies Van der Rohe Paviliion - Nicola Crabb - Administrative Receptionist
3. Outside the National Catalan Art Museum - Lauren Bailes Designer


1. ‘A sweeping pan of the lower tier seating at the Camp Nou.
2. Glorious roof-top view of the Princess Hotel branding, complete with sunshine and pool.
3. Ancient brickwork from the old Gothic town. **4**. A view from the hotel lift looking towards the city. - DH


This plaza was found simply by accident - accessible from all four sides through a walkway within the building. The fully enclosed square offered a lot of quirky cafés and tapas bars decorated with palm trees and a fountain, giving out a full Spanish vibe.- Anna Krysa, Designer. After a swim in the hotel’s rooftop infinity pool and a brief siesta; the evening was spent dining in El Born followed by the re-acquaintance of the establishments of the Barri Gòtic late into the small hours.


1. The roof-top pool at Princess Hotel - MZ
2. Dinner in El Born - RR
3. Dinner somewhere with the lads! - Kasra Kiarass-Shirazi BIM Technologist. Our third and final day we distributed ourselves evenly around the city, cramming in as much as we could before our afternoon flight. A selection of us decided to visit Can Framis - the latest of the Fundació Vila Casas museums that are devoted to the promotion of Catalan art, a truly impressive and vast collection that were rich with colour, textures and techniques. My favourite would have to be the work of Catalan’s second famous son Antoni Claví with his dark, abstract and textural canvases.


1. ‘Rey de espadas’, Antoni Clavi
2. Internal view through window at Can Framis
3. Exterior View of Can Framis - DB ![](/perch/resources/rebecca-blog-3.jpg)

1. Barcelona is known for its grid-like octagonal blocks creating wide streets and rounded corners making different districts indistinguishable. This photo from what i consider to be the heart of Barcelona is from the older part where the original street-plan still exists, where you can meander through a labyrinth of narrow streets ‘til your heart’s content.
2. Diagonal Mar is yet another contrast to the Medieval and 18th century grid of the Eixample - one that I didn’t much like having once lived in the older parts. However having stayed here and experienced the views of the city from these modern towers it’s has given me a whole new perspective of these buildings and their contrast to more traditional structures. - RR
3. A street picture from Carrer de Torrijos, in the Sarria Sant Gervasi region, lots of amazing street scenes and only a stone’s throw from Gaudi’s Parc Guell. - Gregg Barton, Director


1. Casa Batllo built between 1904-1906 in the heart of the city by Gaudi. I love the combination of glass and stone with the mosaic facade infusing colour into the very fabric of the building. To think that this was built in the early 1900’s shows that Gaudi was ahead of the times, redefinign what architecture was and could be. Love it! Kristina Mann - Senior Designer. 
2. Nuns in the Barri Gotic - MZ. 3. Casa Mila - KH


1. Awaiting our departure in the Hotel Reception - DH
2. Catching up on some sleep on the flight back - KS
3. The setting sun from the plane marking the end of our adventure - Sam Vickers - BIM Technologist All too soon our brief visit was over with our bellies full of tapas and sangria, our skin lightly tanned and our hearts that little bit warmer from having spent a great few days in the company of friends. So whilst I sit here and listen to the remnants of hurricane Abigail beating at the window - I can close my eyes and I’m instantly transported to the beach of Barcelonetta with a cold Éstrella in my hand. Dominic Barber - Senior Designer.