Our logistics coordinator, Kathryn Boyd, recalls her recent trip to Warsaw to dispel preconceptions and showcase the city's delights.
Hilton Warsaw Hotel and Conference Centre kindly hosted a long weekend to introduce Warsaw as a destination. Crown have an event coming up in September in the city, so this was also a great opportunity for me to visit some of the venues and experience the capital for myself.
Warsaw is just over a two hour flight from many European destinations, which makes it a good accessible hub – the airport is only a 20 minute transfer to the city centre. There is so much history and contrast in the city and it is continuously changing with new buildings and renovations happening all year round. There is so much variation in the city and plenty of history behind everywhere you go. Our stay was very eclectic, mixing old with the new. We stayed in a modern hotel; visited an abandoned factory turned event space; and then had dinner the middle of the old town, in a restaurant owned by Poland’s equivalent of Gordon Ramsey.
Warsaw was almost completely destroyed after the Second World War. The Old Town was rebuilt by the people, not the state. It is a beautiful part of the city with cobbled roads and colourful houses, surrounded by the walls of a once standing fort. The city is filled with memorials. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was most poignant. It was built in 1925 inside the Saxon Palace, however the palace was partly blown up during WWII, but the Tomb survived. It is now a small structure on a massive square and is guarded by two armed soldiers all year round as part of their ongoing military duties.
As it is a ‘new’ city that is continuously changing, Warsaw is well adapted to pretty much any event. There are low cost airlines that fly to Chopin Airport but there is also an airport slightly outside of the city called Modlin, so accessibility and transportation is not an issue. The history of the city is endless and can therefore be a nice add-on to intersperse in any event, with historical tours and additional cultural activities. 25% of the city is green spaces which takes away from the ‘big city’ feel, despite the ever growing high rise buildings popping up over the Warsaw skyline. The contrast in available venues means you are spoilt for choice, from keeping it simple with a hotel ballroom with natural daylight, or a vamped up abandoned factory, to anything in between.
Warsaw is definitely up and coming and I would highly recommend it for an event from what I’ve seen. Costs are still competitive and the local MICE industry is well connected to accommodate any size of event.