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Photo Credit: Ingarden and Ewy Architekci

THE FLAGSHIP OF NEW EUROPE

  • Opened: 2014
  • Halls: 34 meeting halls
  • Surface area: 36.720 sqm
  • Theatre max: 1915
  • Category: E – Convention Centre
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Photo Credit: ICE Krakow Congress Centre

INTRO

We first evaluated ICE Krakow immediately upon its opening in 2015, when it earned itself the title of the best congress centre in New Europe. Our revisit was during corona time, an epoch that has had profound effects on the meetings industry, considering congress centres are the heart of the sector’s development. The purpose of our visit was to inquire about how agile ICE Krakow had been during this new post corona crisis. After our visit, we were glad to conclude that ICE Krakow is still triumphant and is once more the best congress centre in New Europe according to individual criteria. ICE Krakow has solidified and retained its position firstly due to its well-preserved architecture and general infrastructure and secondly due to successfully managing the Krakow Network Protocol that is facilitating the growth of the city’s congress industry. In our honest opinion, ICE Krakow is an exemplary case for all regional congress centres looking for a way out of the current situation.

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Photo Credit: ICE Krakow Congress Centre

LOCATION

The congress centre is ideally located within the city centre next to the Vistula River, overlooking the historical centre of Krakow and Poland, Wawel. The vistas of the castle, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, open from numerous halls of the congress centre. Furthermore, the location enables attendees to walk directly to the heart of town that is within arm’s reach. In the direct vicinity of the congress centre, several hotels have arisen, thus making the area a true congress city within Krakow. According to our colleagues from ICE Krakow, more than 2000 hotel rooms are available within walking distance.

ice_krakow
Photo Credit: Ingarden and Ewy Architekci

ACCESSIBILITY

Krakow’s accessibility is solid and comparable to most regional congress destinations. The airport is merely 20 minutes away whilst the public transport is well developed. Krakow, moreover, offers connections to 80 destinations around Europe. Poland’s road connections are equally impressive regardless of the occasional traffic jams. Congress guests are excellently taken care of at ICE Krakow. An underground garage with 336 parking slots awaits visitors whilst one of the city’s main public transport crossroads is just a shot away. Guests can, thus, access the tram line stop that is only 50 metres away and where five tram and twenty bus lines intersect. Alternatively, guests can opt to arrive sustainably by choosing the train. A comfortable train ride will take you from Warsaw to Krakow in 2,5 hours.

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Photo Credit: Krakow Convention Bureau

COLD APPETISER - Architecture and Aesthetics

The striking feature of the congress centre, its phenomenal architecture, stunned us already upon our first visit. After seven years, it continues to be breathtaking, inspiring and telling of the design’s timelessness. The architects exploited the location brilliantly and devised the striking foyers to be spacious and open while offering a panoramic view of Wawel and Kazimierz. To this day, the centre’s commodiousness is its psychological upper hand. Even TV groups and movie directors opt to adopt the centre due to its delightful city views.

The central hall, devised by the architect to reminisce vineyard terraces, is an acoustic gem. Its design enables attendees to have perfect views of the stage from any position. The Ingarden & Ewy Architekcii architectural bureau also designed the neighbouring Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology. Consequently, the congress centre features a number of Ikigai elements. If you desire to marvel at this extraordinary architectural masterpiece, we suggest strolling down the nearby Wawel, from where you will be able to grasp the grandeur and originality of the iceberg-like congress centre. Phenomenal.

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Photo Credit: ICE Krakow Congress Centre

WARM APPETISER – Staff and customer service

The heart of ICE Krakow is the outstanding staff that goes above and beyond the usual congress logistics. ICE Krakow is managed by the excellent team of KBF (Krakow Festival Office), who have been operating in the crossroads of cultural and congress events and festivals for over 20 years. At first sight, the team is an unusual choice to manage a congress centre, yet, they spur the much-needed logic of creative industries. I do not doubt this is what makes them so successful as they are one of the rare teams in this part of Europe that exceed the logical function of a congress centre. KBF is a team that precisely understands the logic of events and, therefore, support events exceedingly well. More importantly, they organise and produce an array of events themselves. In our earnest opinion, the power and creative energy behind ICE Krakow come from this unexpected and extraordinary managing scheme. The latter enables them to strive for the destination’s wider interests instead of seeking short term benefits and quick earnings. The centre is, in fact, perennially proving this, and they deserve the utmost respect for this. It seems that Krakow has envisaged a new model for managing a congress centre that is sustainable and responsible.

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Photo Credit: ICE Krakow Congress Centre

MAIN COURSE – Quality of facilities

ICE Krakow belongs to the category of medium-sized centres that can host congresses for up to 2000 participants. A huge advantage of the centre is its functional design that embellishes the centre’s crown jewel, the Auditorium hall. ICE Krakow’s smart design can be interpreted as the ideal combination of congress halls with a fixed setting and multifunctional halls such as the Chamber Hall. At every step, one notices modern equipment that is managed by a competent technical team. If, upon opening, there were a few drawbacks, now, it seems that the congress centre operates like a well-oiled machine. It is remarkable to see the array of happenings the centre plays host to, making it one of the best in the region and Europe. A single detail can make a world of difference. Within the centre, the partner store www.kinnarps.pl has also found its home. Their equipment and chairs are from another planet and nothing you are used to in other congress centres. The partnership between the two companies has resulted in a unique space to make sure congress attendees feel utmost incredible.

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Photo Credit: ICE Krakow Congress Centre

DESSERT – Catering and additional offer
ICE Krakow’s catering is overseen by the certified Masters Catering group that has a team of over 120 young gastronomic professionals. According to experts, the mentioned catering is among the best in the city. Their feasts are indulged in the centre’s four foyers that offer impressive views of Krakow. Masters Catering is also in charge of 2 bars and a restaurant that is regularly fully booked.

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Photo Credit: Masters Catering

FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES

A rather meticulous observation is regarding the access to the elevators that are not ideally labelled. Albeit, a bit of recreation walking up the superb staircase cannot be too bad.

TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES

Congress Avenue is a socially-responsible project of planting trees during important congresses the city hosts. Their tree-planting campaign commenced in 2017 and, today, there is hardly any space to plant more trees given the number of events ICE Krakow has already hosted. Congress Avenue is a gift to future generations and was created on the initiative of the City of Kraków, the KBF and the Kraków Park Agency.

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Photo Credit: KBF

INSTEAD OF A CONCLUSION

Even though we have said much about ICE Krakow, it is only righteous to recap its essence. Projects such as Krakow Network Protocol have placed ICE Krakow on the very top of our list. Only a handful of congress centres around the world have proven such agility, resilience and diligence to work in the interest of the entire industry.

The congress centre’s architecture, the excellence of the main auditorium and the fantastic team operating like a well-oiled machine is what impressed us most. Indeed, there are more spacious and larger congress centres out there. However, the entire package of ICE Krakow is incredibly balanced and convincing. All combined, ICE Krakow is among the best of the best. More importantly, event organisers will feel at home at the centre. It is no coincidence that ICCA chose ICE Krakow for its world congress in 2022. We full-heartedly recommend opting for it, not least because you will pay much less for renting halls than in more famed congress centres.

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Photo Credit: ICE Krakow Congress Centre

FINAL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY

FINAL GRADE: 4.96 GOLD Convention Centre

GOLD final score from 4.81 to 5.00
SILVER final score from 4.61 to 4.80
BRONZE final score from 4.41 to 4.60

CATEGORY E – Convention Centre
OPEN FROM 2014
SURFACE AREA36.720 sqm
LARGEST HALL1915 sqm
NUMBER OF HALLS34 halls
MAX. HALL THEATRE1915 seats
MAX. HALL RECEPTION1000 participants (Foyer F0 and F1)
MAX. HALL BANQUET500 (Foyer F0)
CAPACITY OF MAIN HALLS (THEATRE)– Auditorium: 1915 seats
– Chamber Hall: 400 seats
– Theatre Hall: 594 seats
– Conference Hall Complex: 350 seats
– Foyer F0: 1000 people (standing banquet)
– Foyer F1: 1000 people (standing banquet)
– Foyer F2: 650 people (standing banquet)
– Foyer F3: 230 people (standing banquet)
FACILITIES– 2 bars
– Restaurant
– Parking for 336 vehicles
– Parking for the technical team
– Modern registration desk
– Cloakroom
– Cargo lift for demanding productions
– Cloakroom for the performers
– VIP Saloon
– Office for event organisers
EXTRASICE Krakow has showcased how culture and congress activities go hand in hand. Also partly due to the rich and diverse cultural scene, there is always something happening in the city centre that has significant added value for international congress guests.

ICE KRAKOW INDIVIDUAL GRADES 2021

RESULTS OF ANALYSISAVERAGE GRADE
LOCATION4.95
ACCESSIBILITY4.86
OVERALL IMPRESSION AT ARRIVAL5.00
QUALITY - ENTRANCE HALL / LOBBY5.00
QUALITY - CONFERENCE SPACE5.00
QUALITY - CONFERENCE INVENTORY5.00
QUALITY - LIGHTING5.00
QUALITY - ACOUSTICS AND SOUND SYSTEM4.98
QUALITY - MULTIMEDIA SYSTEM5.00
QUALITY - INTERNET CONNECTIVITY5.00
EMPLOYEE BEHAVIOUR4.93
ACCESS TO POWER AND COM LINES5.00
BUSSINES CENTRE5.00
CUSTOMER SERVICE4.92
SAFETY5.00
SECURITY AND EMERGENCY5.00
ADDITIONAL OFFER4.86
CATERING4.78
SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICES4.98
COMMUNICATION & MARKETING5.00
TOTAL:4.96

GET IN TOUCH

ICE KRAKOW CONGRESS CENTRE
ul. M. Konopnickiej 17
Kraków, Poland

T: [48] 12 354 23 00
E: office@icekrakow.pl
W: www.icekrakow.com