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Jose Maria Tenor: "Three main things in a hotel: bed, shower and breakfast" | 02-06-2016

While hospitality giants are opening indistinguishable hotels around the world, one man took a different - creative - approach. Spanish businessman Jose Maria Trenor offers his guests... a bakery, a winery or even a historical residence to stay in! A bakery counter instead of a reception desk, a restaurant in a cellar and rooms in antique cells. Jose, your hotels show the “backstage” life of the Spanish. You invite tourists to the bakery, to the winery, to the garden. Aren't you afraid that some people might be frightened away from this kind hotel experience? The reality is that our guests love it! I believe nowadays travellers want to live true experiences in the places they visit. If they come to my hotels they won’t find a boring building without character, they will be able to live as we Spanish people do, in typical buildings in the heart of the city, and will be able to mix with us when buying from our bakery or tasting wines from our wine bar. "I never liked the typical hotel lobbies, cold empty places" How was the idea born? The creation of not just regular hotels but themes that combine hospitality with public use places, such as a bakery or wine bar. It was a combination of different ideas. On the one hand I never liked the typical hotel lobbies, cold empty places. On the other hand I have always been worried about the best use of space, and finally I really loved the smell of fresh baked bread! Trick question: if you were a guest in which hotel of the Praktik Hotels in Barcelona you would stay? And why? Ha-ha, I love all my children the same! If I could I would stay one night in each so that way I would get to experience different sides of Barcelona in one single trip. From the Wes Anderson film “The Grand Hotel Budapest” the whole world realized that the main person in any hotel is the bell-boy. What do you think? Who from the staff “creates the atmosphere” in your hotels? It´s always a different person. We try to hire responsible people, who have a real sense of ownership, if we manage to get the right director, and I feel we have succeeded very often, then they transmit that culture to all the staff. Therefore I think we have many bell boys, sometimes it is the person at Reception, but sometimes it is the cleaning maid. You probably travel a lot and carefully choose where you’ll stay. Which criteria should a hotel have to satisfy to take you as a guest? Location is key, as everyone knows. And I always believed 3 things are key for a good hotel stay: bed, shower and breakfast. Apart from that, what I look for from hotels is that they are able to offer “something else” during my stay, something that differentiates the hotel from the rest, either if it’s a special restaurant, a historic building… Tell us about the best vacation in your life. What was it like? What made it so memorable? It probably sounds a bit cheesy but the most memorable vacation of my life was Australia and New Zealand for my honeymoon. I have never seen such amazing wilderness… "We will build a 200 room hotel with brewery, chocolate room, disco in the basement..." You have three hotels in Barcelona and one in Madrid. Which city will be next? Are you ready to enter the international level? There should be a Praktik Hotel in every important city in the world … Are there any other non-standard hotels to be planned? Perhaps, you’ll open one in a chocolate factory or a car factory? Yes, we will build a 200 room hotel in Barcelona, in the old part of town, with lots of space in the lobby area. We are in conversations with one of the best chocolate producers in town, we will also have a brewery, a disco in the basement…But happy to get any ideas from you! What advice you would give to a person who dreams about his own hotel “from scratch”? I would tell them that design and technology are ok, but guests are looking for experiences, never forget that! And of course location, don´t get it wrong there… And what would you recommend to a traveler who arrived in Spain for the first time? Which city to choose? Where to go? What to look for first? Your personal secret places. Spain is a diverse country; you can be in a buzzing cosmopolitan city like Barcelona and the next day hop on a train to Madrid and see no one for 2 hours during the journey crossing a real desert (Monegros). One of my favorite cities is in the North: San Sebastian, without forgetting the beautiful city of Seville in the South. I guess I would fly to Barcelona, spend some days here and then either buy cheap internal flights or take the high speed train to visit Madrid, Sevilla and San Sebastian. And once in these 4 cities, hire a car to visit the surrounding areas: the Costa Brava, beautiful seaside up north from Barcelona, the white towns and the Alhambra from Seville, the green rolling fields and excellent culinary hotspots from San Sebastián and the grandeur of Madrid monuments. I know that you love to work with young artists and art-figures around the world. For example, photos that were taken by Murad Osman are hung in one of your hotels. What do you think about contemporary art in general? And have you been asked about new creative collaborations? I am very proud of the collaboration with Murad: the photos he took in our hotels are still in our webpage and whenever we share them on social media, we get a great response from our followers. Cities like Barcelona or Madrid are full of creative minds. I recently hired a street art graffiti guy to paint the exterior wall of the Praktik Vinoteca Hotel! Is there a place (city, country) which you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t had time yet? I would love to visit Russia, maybe Murad could give me some tips this time? ☺

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