James and I have just returned from an inspection trip to Poland with DMC Poland, the latest addition to our portfolio of top-notch DMCs. Having experienced a steady increase in interest in Poland over the last year we have been impressed with the DMC Poland ethos of creating super-creative bespoke programmes and we are delighted to welcome Aga, Ola, Tomek and the team to The DMC Advantage family!
Our trip started with our flight to Warsaw, just a 2hr 15mins flight from London. Poland’s capital was nearly completely destroyed in the second world war with just 15% of pre-war buildings surviving. Having been completely rebuilt we were impressed with today’s modern city, with its wide streets and open spaces, trees on every corner and many large beautiful parks. We couldn’t get over just how clean Warsaw is – it’s extremely clean!
We checked in at The Sheraton, a 5* property located in the centre which has been recently renovated in a very tasteful classical style. We couldn’t fault the Executive Suites and the superlative service. The Sheraton’s extensive conference facilities benefit from plenty of daylight and importantly it is pharma-friendly even though it’s a 5*.
DMC Poland’s Aga and Tomek then showed us a selection of Warsaw’s best hotels and venues. We visited the Intercontinental, Hilton, Westin and Marriott hotels, the latter featuring a restaurant at the top with stunning views over the whole city. These centrally located modern, quality hotels feature 350 rooms or so and lend themselves perfectly to meetings and conferences. For a more boutique feel, the 4* Hotel Indigo, an IHG property is an excellent option while those with bigger budgets will consider The Bristol and the splendour of Raffles Warsaw, possibly Poland’s finest hotel.
Stixx Bar & Grill is a great place for dinner with a great selection of food from classic steak to Asian cuisine. However, the place that really impressed me was Koszyki. This large open plan hall offers a mix of different restaurants and cuisines. Everyone will find something to their taste here, from typical Polish food to Italian, Japanese, seafood and many more. DMC Poland can make this work for groups so that everyone can choose what they like but can still sit down and eat together.
We then had a fun experience driving an old Polish Fiat built under licence in the communist era. Our task was to load this car with five suitcases and five people and then driving, avoiding the cones and making sure the suitcases didn’t fall off the roof. We celebrated our achievement with a typically Polish shot of vodka! We ended the day with a wonderful dinner in Warszawa Wschodnia restaurant, watching the chefs cook in the open kitchen and enjoying the delicious food.
The next morning we visited the Old Town and some stunning venues for gala dinners, namely Stara Oranżeria and Belvedere located in the beautiful Lazienki Park. Two beautiful historic venues that certainly bring the elusive wow-factor. After lunch we boarded the train to our second port of call in Poland, Krakow. It’s just a two-hour journey which opens up the possibility of a twin-centre programme for those looking to experience a little more.
From the first moment we arrived in Krakow you could tell the difference. Warsaw is a big city and very spread out; Krakow has small narrow streets and an amazing historic old town. Krakow naturally lends itself to incentives whereas Warsaw is more suited for conferences and meetings but of course DMC Poland can pull together excellent options in both cities to suit your requirements.
We visited Hotel Stary, a 5* boutique property located in the heart of Krakow with an atmospheric rooftop bar before taking a stroll around Krakow’s impressive mediaeval main square and the surrounding streets. We were joined by Ola at Szara Gęś restaurant for dinner tonight and ate extremely well. Then it was time to sample Krakow’s nightlife and we discovered a cosy little bar where we could sample one or two of the various vodkas on offer. Na zdrowie!
On our final day we visited the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Wieliczka salt mines, located just a short drive from Krakow. Event organisers are always looking for the WOW factor – well this place certainly has it. Our brilliant team at DMC Poland can create an experience for your clients here in the various huge caverns that they will never forget!
Back in Krakow we had a typical Polish lunch, sampling beef goulash, pierogi and many more before heading to Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter famous for its buzzing bars and restaurants before heading to the DMC Poland office where we met the rest of the team. Founded in 2004 by Ola and Aga, DMC Poland have built their reputation with operations all over the country including Gdansk on the coast and other lesser known hidden gems such as the Masurian lake district, and have recently opened a second office in Warsaw.
Poland is a destination on the up as it offers great value for money, a fabulous mix of historical and modern elements for meetings, incentives and conferences across all budget ranges and is easily accessible from the UK. The DMC Poland team are friendly, creative and very experienced with every event hand-crafted to meet and exceed your expectations. We cannot wait to introduce them to you.
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