Centrally located between Vienna, Budapest and Prague, Bratislava is making its mark as a central European capital of both business and leisure. In addition to hosting the regional headquarters of brands like Tesco, IBM and Kraft Foods, it's also quickly establishing a reputation as a thriving start-up hub.
Looking at Bratislava today, it's hard to believe that the city only really landed on the UK's radar back in 2003, when the first direct flights flew from London to Slovakia's capital. Today, visitors will find a great range of quirky cafés lining the quaint streets of Staré Mesto, the Old Town, while across town gleaming high-rises dominate the skyline of the business district. With a population of just 427,000, Bratislava feels pleasingly small and compact. Even if you have several appointments across the city, you'll find it easy to walk from venue to venue, stopping every so often for a locally-brewed beer or bryndza sandwich – crumbly, sheep's milk cheese with a slight salty taste. Of course, Slovakia's best-known beverage is wine, with Tojak the most immediately recognisable name. There's no shortage of great wine bars in the city, but to really impress any new or prospective colleagues, journey out to Elesko, an artsy modern restaurant in the Modra vineyards with a cellar to die for.
There are several features to look for when booking a hotel for a business trip, but complimentary Wi-Fi has to be chief among them. Although it can be nice to feel cut off from world on a romantic break, it's less ideal to have to wander down to the lobby every time you need to send an email while away on work. You're unlikely to find hotels in a European capital without any internet access at all, but it's still worth checking that there's high-speed internet throughout the hotel and particularly in your room, to facilitate quick and efficient responses over both Skype and email. At our Radisson Blu Carlton Bratislava, our business class rooms provide enough space to work comfortably, with all the benefits of a home office. Thoughtful additions like an electronic safe large enough for your laptop, free daily newspaper delivery and, of course, a coffee machine ensure that you have everything you need to work efficiently with no distractions from the task in hand.
Office hours can easily become irregular when you’re working abroad. Entertaining clients, long conferences, and evening networking events can leave you with little time during the day to utilise the hotel facilities, making 24-hour room service a necessity. If you're only in the city for a short time, it's also important to consider the distance between your hotel and the airport. Car rental is available at Bratislava Airport, but it's best to book in advance if you're planning on hiring. You'll only really need your own vehicle if you're visiting offices on the outskirts of the city, as there are excellent public transport links in and out of the centre. If you're flying into Vienna, there are two buses from Vienna International Airport to Bratislava, operated by Eurolines and Postbus. The Radisson Blu Carlton is just a 15-minute drive from the airport, and has secure underground parking available to guests with hired cars.