Bucharest, Romania's capital and principal business and cultural center, is not as old as many might expect for a city in the heart of Europe: It dates only to 1459; indeed, it only became the country's seat of government in 1862. Between the two world wars, it was known as Little Paris, for its elegant buildings and coffee culture, and some beautiful venues in Bucharest do still exist, despite decades of now-gone Communism.
Henri Coanda International Airport (OTP) is the city's airport, and it has service throughout the world, although there is no direct service at present to the United States or Canada. Approximately 10 miles northwest of the city center, many still refer to it as Bucharest Otopeni, its former name used until 2004 and hence is IATA code.
Leading the convention venues in Bucharest is
Romexpo, looking rather like a landed flying saucer; it has 12 exhibit halls with a total of 400,000 square feet, 21 meeting rooms and 200,000 square feet of outdoor function space.
Hotel venues in Bucharest include the 718-room
Radisson Blu Bucharest, which has 11 meeting rooms and a 5,400-square-foot ballroom; the 401-room
JW Marriott Grand, which has 21,528 square feet of meeting space; the historic, 278-room
InterContinental Bucharest, which has eight meeting rooms and 16,728 square feet of exhibit space, and the 272-room
Athenee Palace Hilton Bucharest, which has 13 meeting rooms and a ballroom able to host 350 persons. (A small, wonderful, boutique choice is the room 22-room Amzei, which has a boardroom.)
Bucharest's mix of grand avenues, historical buildings and rich culture means there are some wonderful event venues here. Five possibilities are the George Enescu Museum, housed in the impressive Cantacuzino Palace, named for one of the country's most famous composers; National Museum of Art of Romania, which includes the Gallery of European Art, The Gallery of Romanian Medieval Art, The Gallery of Romanian Modern Art, The Treasury and an auditorium seating 450 persons, all in a building dating to 1837; and Theodor Pallady Museum, the oldest building in Bucharest. Far more up to date are SkyBar, high above the city and with a retractable roof, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, which is a modern section of the far older Palace of the Parliament.
There are some great dining venues in Bucharest. Among those with private dining areas are Market 8, which might be a little eccentric for some tastes with its cornucopia of design and bric-a-brac, and La Mandragora, with 200 seats and a German chef specializing in Romania fare. Another Romanian-menu restaurant is Jaristea, while Casa Doina and Balthazar, both very celebrated, the former having a beautiful garden with a heated terrace, the latter perhaps being the city's most august dining spot and with a French-Asian fusion menu.