In 2009, the season runs from 16th June to 20th December. For the first time in my life, I decided to join the throng of people attempting to win the elBulli lottery. After sending my email, I only had to wait 2 weeks to get my response. And of course, I was unsuccessful! Here is the email I sent:
Dear Lluis and Juli,
And here is the generic email I received from elBulli informing me that I needn't pack my bags and get excited.
The demand that we have received at the first moment has again surpassed our limited possibilities for one season and we regret not to be able to full fill more reservation requests.
We thank you sincerely for all your interest and we
Tel. +34 972 15 04 57 (during the season - after 3.00 p.m.)
2009 Season - Open from June 16th to December 20th
Only dinner service 7.30 – 9.30 p.m. except on some Saturdays of September-October-November and December that we
normally Monday and Tuesday closed
SEE EXCEPTIONS OF OUR 2009 CALENDAR AT www.elbulli.com (see reservations)
We do not have information about 2010 season at this moment but we never start the management until we have finished the season before.
You will find information at www.elbulli.com see reservations) in December 2009.
ElBullirestaurantCala Montjoi - 17480 Roses
Tel. +34 972 15 04 57
Fax. +34 972 15 07 17
- The obvious, include your name, email address, and telephone number
- The reservation process is split into four categorizes. Those who have dined there before, those who are first time diners, those who are locals and those who come from overseas destinations. I'm not sure if each category is equally weighted, but I would assume that if you are a previous diner or a local it would be much easier to get a reservation, simply due to the fact that there would be less competition for these tables.
- Write you email in a "dumbed down" version of English. Keep in mind that the person reading your email possesses English as a second language. (not too sure about this tip) Or write your email in Spanish or Catalan.
- Make your email personal. Add in a request for a special occasion diner, such as a honeymoon or birthday. Talk about what a dinner at elBulli would mean to you. When I was at Ferran Adria's talk in October, it was suggested to mention the fact that I had seen him on his tour and that this connection would give me an edge. But I'm not too sure about this, Ferran has talked at length about his dislike of making special conditions for powerful people or friends, let alone someone who saw him during a tour he has done.
- Send multiple emails from different locations. This makes sense, if you buy more lottery tickets, you are more likely to win the jackpot.
- A tip from Ferran himself, be nice. Luis has to read all the emails, and the nice requests are going to succeed over the nasty ones.
- Be incredibly flexible with dates. State a preferred date, but make sure to stress that you are flexible and would take any opportunity to dine there. Requesting a table on the 1st Saturday in August with no exception is not going to help your chances. Being flexible means that they can slot you in where ever there is a free spot.
- Send your request in at the exact moment the reservations open. Apparently it is judged on a first come first served basis. Now this can be particularly difficult as the season changes from year to year. This year the season ended in September and the reservations were taken in the middle of October. The 2009 season ends in December, and as it has been stated many times, they don't start taking the following years reservations until the current years services have ended. So I assume the reservations for 2010 won't be taken until late December some time. But then again i could be completely wrong.
- And the best tip of all, if you don't succeed, try try again.
So I guess I'll try again next year.