Juan Carlos Sanjuán is a man with a lot of energy, the kind of person who, to quote The Beatles, works eight days a week. It’s curious therefore that he chose to name the hotel chain that he has created in record time ‘Casual Hoteles’, for although he dresses in a smartly casual way, he is in fact very methodical and a stickler for detail.
After working in just about every hotel post in a wide range of hotels all over Spain, and becoming a hotel director at the early age of 28, he realised several things; firstly, that Spain didn’t have a thematic hotel chain, and secondly that there was a big gap in the market of guests who wanted good quality for a moderate price.
As well as being clever, Juan Carlos is also lucky, lucky to have a talented sister, who like many (but not all) talented people, is an English teacher. But it was Raquel’s design talent that helped Juan Carlos launch his chain of thematic hotels, for it was she who came up with all the decorative ideas that make each of the hotels, and each of the rooms unique.
Borrowing his seed capital of 40,000 Euros from friends and family, his first project was the 15 room Casual Hostal Valencia in C/ Doctor Marco Merenciano, and the theme was civilizations. In July 2013 he opened the 39 room, two star Casual Hotel Valencia in a building dating from 1923, where the theme is the cinema, and where you can sleep in the Matrix room and wake up in a different dimension, or encounter Johnny Depp pointing a pistol at your head.
Expanding nationally he developed the brand opening a hotel in Seville centred around literature in May 2014, and in Bilbao in July of the same year with Basque culture, and especially the sea as the key theme.
As well as quality in bed linen and fixtures, Casual Hoteles is also on the ball when it comes to services, offering quality very complete buffet breakfast for only 5 euros, sushi room service that’s to an arrangement with a local restaurant and Wifi coverage throughout the city thanks to a device that you can slip into your pocket as you slip into tourist mode.
Juan Carlos has come a long way since his days as a student at the Jordi San Jordi and Salesianos Juan Bosco schools in Valencia, now supervising a growing staff of 37 workers, each of whose names he knows.
But the real winners are the guests, whose slumbers may be disturbed by the arrival of Peter Pan or Mary Poppins, but who, like Dorothy, will soon realize that there’s no home like Casual Hoteles.