Perched high above a grand bend of the River Tagus, Toledo is a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site with an epic medieval history. With numerous twisty streets that are jammed with history and fame, this small city has been the site of the court of the kings of Spain and fashioned by the influence of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Dominated by its cathedral and castle (or Alcazar), Toledo today is one of Spain's most popular tourism destinations. Many Toledo MICE venues are found in historical settings.
While Toledo is approximately 45 miles southwest of Madrid, the closest international airport is to the east of Madrid, the Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD), better known as Barajas. A little more than 50 miles northwest of Toledo, it has service to all points of Europe and, in North America, to Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Mexico City, Miami, Montreal, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, and Toronto, as well as, seasonally, to Los Angeles and Washington, DC.
There is a small convention venue in Toledo, the Palacio de Congresos de Greco, named for the artist El Greco, who famously lived and worked here. The Palacio has almost 13,000 square feet of space, including a 975-seat auditorium, the Toledo Room for 437 persons and the Zocodover banquet space for 450.
MICE hotels in Toledo include a number of independent properties. Perfect roosts for groups right in the center of the city include the 83-room Alfonso VI, which has five function spaces, including the Salon Rincon del Rey, with space for 450 persons; the 68-room Maria Cristina Hotel, which has three meeting rooms comprising more than 8,500 square feet; the 38-room El Hostal Puerta Bisagra (not a "hostel" as Westerners might perceive that term to mean), which has an old courtyard and one function room for 35 persons; and the 25-room Casona de la Reyna, which has two meeting rooms. On the outskirts of the city is the much larger, 295-room Hotel Beatriz Toledo Auditorium & Spa, which has a 608-seat auditorium and two meeting rooms, as well as outside terraces and gardens.
Unique MICE venues in Toledo and nearby include a building of historical importance that has more than 100,000 square feet of event space. El Cigarral del Santo Angel Custodio in its modern form dates from the 17th century, but it is thought to have once been the site of a Moorish summer camp (and the Moors left Spain in 1492). There remains an Arab garden, and it has 14 separate function spaces, including a cistern, an exhibition hall, four lounges and terraces that provide one of the best views of the rest of Toledo. Other choices include the Museo del Greco, which is dedicated to the art and life of El Greco (2014 was the 400th anniversary of his death) and can host events in gallery space and in its pretty gardens; Sephardic Museum, which chronicles Jewish culture in the city and has for functions the Great Hall of Prayer Synagogue that can seat 175 persons and a patio that can host 60; Centro Cultural San Clemente, which until very recently was home to 800 nuns but now still has its seven cloisters but also a library and exhibition center, and AR-51, a modern art gallery in a medieval shell that has four rooms for functions.
Wonderful group restaurants in the heart of the old city include Locum, in a 17th-century house next to the cathedral and with a local menu; Asador Palencia de Lara, which also has local fare and specializes, as the first part of its name suggests, in roasted meats; Restaurante Alcazar, which is next to the castle's museum and specializes in paella in a suitably Spanish tavern; La Cancela, opposite the Palacio de Congresos and with regional dishes prepared in nouvelle manner; and, also preferring the fusion route, Orza, which is in Toledo's Jewish quarter.