Piscina Barcelona Travelogue

All photos courtesy Aimee Samuelson

Walking into the Piscina and Wellness show (see the full story on page 102) on the first day of the expo immediately felt different than walking into a show in the United States. A bit jet-lagged and craving caffeine, it was a real pleasure to find that most of the trade booths felt like café/tapas bars! As many a travel guide will explain, cafés and bars are an indispensable part of Barcelona, and the exhibitors at the pool and wellness show clearly wanted to bring this indispensable side of the city onto the trade show floor.

To accomplish this, many of the booths were quite large, with not just one, but multiple ‘café-style’ tables and barista coffee and wine bars in each. The bartenders and baristas were pouring away — red wine, beer and espresso — as the hiss of espresso machines and the delightful smell of coffee wafted down every trade show aisle. And, of course, there were tapas!

The relaxed, convivial atmosphere of Piscina Barcelona.The relaxed, convivial atmosphere of Piscina Barcelona.

There were so many tables in the booths, there was no need to go to downtown Barcelona to its legendary tapas bars, as you had servers carving jamón serrano, and offering croquetas, jamón ibérico, and even homemade crepes, turning

like dancers with trays full of savories. In the morning, you were greeted with espressos, cortados, café americano, croissants, cheese and fresh fruit. I didn’t miss the food court at all.

The “Wellness Experience” area of the show is truly an experience.The “Wellness Experience” area of the show is truly an experience.

The tables and booths were always full of folks sitting, eating, drinking, socializing and doing business, of course. As I walked into any booth, the first thing someone would ask is, “Can I get you something to drink or eat? There is always a sense of the importance

of taking care of guests before getting down to business.

There were all the familiar brands and some new brands I’d never heard of before. There were products we see in the United States and new products not sold here at all. With a total of 30-some hours on the show floor — 10 to seven every day for four days (and on the third day, booths stayed open until 10 p.m. so exhibitors could organize ‘pool parties’ at their booth) — there was plenty of time to sit in the Hayward and Fluidra booths, or the Speck, Water Tech, CCEI and RENOLIT booths. Many of the booths made you feel you had entered a ‘happening’ bar with dance tunes and videos playing on large screens.

The ‘wellness’ side of the show also offered unique experiences that aren’t usual in the United States — from thermal yoga and sonotherapy to breathing and mindfulness, as well as facial treatments!

Stylish booths and layouts particularly distinguish this show.Stylish booths and layouts particularly distinguish this show.

There were over 14,000 visitors from over 100 different countries, but every booth had people who spoke English and all the European languages as well.

If you are looking for a new pool and spa show experience, or if you’d like to see what it looks like on the other side of the Atlantic, Piscina and Wellness Barcelona is definitely something you might look into next time around. (The big international show alternates every year between Barcelona and Lyon, so next year it’s in France.) It’s an exciting experience that will leave you with new insights on our products and industry — and a love of Barcelona’s tapas bars and cafes. 

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