Author Archives: Clementine

Mutua Madrid Open

The Mutua Madrid Open, a tennis classic

Next year I’m not going to miss it. This time I wasn’t able to go and had to settle for watching it on TV, but during the Mutua Madrid Open in 2018 I will be one of the live spectators in the audience. This magnificent sports event, a true tennis classic, deserves to be experienced in person at least once in a lifetime.

 In 2017 the attendance record was broken and the brilliant final between our own Mallorcan Rafa Nadal and Austrian Dominic Thiem has made me even more keen to go, even if other greats will be playing next year in this Spanish Masters 1000.

 In order to get the planning started, I’ve already began to check what accommodation options there are in Madrid. The excuse of the Madrid Open suits me perfectly; I’ll be able to use it as an excuse to enjoy a trip to the Spanish capital as well: a city that is beautiful and very much alive during the month of May.

 Even if the tournament is held at the facilities of the Caja Mágica, in the Usera district, I’ve decided that I’m going to stay to stay in the centre of the city. It’s going to be more comfortable for me to be near all the shopping and leisure on offer. There are several interesting possibilities there, but one of them caught my eye, and then especially if I end up going there with my partner.

 The hotel  Petit Palace Triball is a very cosy place. It’s located in a charming 19th-century building and just a stone’s throw from the Gran Vía I love. If in the end I decide to stay at this establishment I might even consider renting one of their bikes so I can go to the matches feeling that I’m keeping ‘in shape’.

 After I had seen this hotel on-line, I saw that the same chain offers another two very central hotels. The question is still whether I go with family or with friends. If I go with the little ones, I’d stay at the  Petit Palace Opera, which is another very cosy hotel that’s been recently renovated. It’s also very near the Puerta de Sol and Plaza Mayor, where there is good food to be had for sure, as well as entertainment that will suit all our tastes, because it’s impossible to walk far with the kids in tow.

 Another possibility is the Petit Palace Plaza de España, not far from the square with the same name, or the mythical Callao. The choice will fall on this full-featured four-star alternative if I can convince a couple of friends or my brothers-in-law to join us. That way it’ll be cheaper to rent a car between us four and we get to see the other parts of Madrid between matches. Mutua Madrid Open 2018, bring it on!

 

Health tourism, a travel option on the rise

Health tourism or medical tourism is one of the new products for travellers that the industry has on sight. As well as investments. Many hotel chains, mainly the ones that count with hotels located in the centre of Madrid and accommodations in Barcelona for long stays close to the main hospitals and districts close to health resort, have decided to make the most of this motivation which, after the last european directives regarding to health measures, has opened a new path for the hospitality industry.

The hotels in the centre of Madrid have been welcoming tourists  for years travelling to the capital to make the most of a few relaxing days and receive health or beauty treatments in one of the most prestigious clinics in the country. Cosmetic surgery, medical check-ups or second opinions, participation in patients conferences… The motivations for health tourism are increasingly varied.

Nevertheless, it is very important not to confuse it with active or healthy tourism, which have been one the main poles of attraction for travellers in Spain. Healthy tourism is based on all the packages of sports activities, gastronomy and spa escapes attracting all types of travellers. Medical tourism, on the other side, hides a clear sanitary motivation and the traveller, in this case, organizes the whole trip around a medical appointment or concrete health treatment.

Palma, a privileged sanitary destination

With some of the best plastic surgeries and fertility clinics of the country, Palma has been at the top of the Spanish sanitary destinations for years. Many hotels in the centre of Palma have been specializing in this segment, offering special packages for accommodation near to clinics such as Rotger, Juaneda, IBI or Palma Planas.

It allows them to break up with the excessive seasonality of tourist activity of the capital of the Balearic Islands, which tends to concentrate its greatest amount of visitors during summer months, as the major part of the travellers related to health tourism prefer winter or spring seasons to get treated. The decrease in activity of the clinics and specialists during summer months could also explain this trend.

Barcelona and Madrid

Even if Palma is a special case being a major holiday destination as well as an important destination in the european medical tourism map, Madrid and Barcelona are still the top ranking cities in health tourism.They have the most renowned public care centres in Spain, some of the cutting-edge research centres and clinics of all types, capable to attend any health condition.

“Health travellers” usually plan their stay in one of the hotels in the centre of Madrid and Barcelona, to be as close as possible to the hospital or clinic where they are getting treated, but also because it allows them to be near museums, recreation and leisure areas and all means of public transports: patients and the people they travel with agree that both medical and recreational motivations matter when planning their stay.

No clear numbers

Talking about health tourism was still taboo a few years back, being seen as a way to take advantage of Spanish public health service in order to access unauthorized medical treatments in their home country or at a prohibitively high price. But, with the change in european politics, the Spanish government started to see it as a competitive asset and as a new niche for the touristic sector, most important driver of economic growth.

For now, according to various studies and reports coming from the administration, there are no concrete numbers to measure the extent of health tourism over the global tourism sector and what it could represent in the future of hospitality industry in Spain (and its complementary offer).