Waking up to the glorious scent of freshly baked goods when your hotel also happens to be one of the best bakeries in Barcelona.
Even before I set foot inside the bustling Baluard Bakery to weave my way past a queue of locals buying their freshly baked bread for breakfast, I was informed of the delights of the Praktik Bakery Hotel whose reputation precedes it. The fact that this bakery is well-loved across the city became evident when I jumped into my taxi at the airport and uttered the words “Praktik Bakery, por favor”. My cab driver started waving his hands about and repeatedly saying in the best English he could, “Best bread in Barcelona!”.
This is certainly one of the most unusual check-ins I’ve ever experienced. The outside of Praktik Bakery looks nothing like a typical hotel entrance. It’s hotel lobby and 74 rooms are somewhat concealed behind an upmarket bakery in a high-end neighbourhood. There are welcoming, bright yellow awnings and vast windows along the street where any passer-by can view the bakers at work rolling dough and taking trays of golden baked goods out of the oven.
Apparently it’s not only my enthusiastic taxi driver who adores this bakery, I weave between a long queue of what looks like half of Barcelona waiting to buy their breakfast. I carefully roll my suitcase in tow towards the other end of the bakery, past the heavenly array of baguettes, country loaves, cakes, flaky pastries and traditional Catalan coca bread adorned with candied fruits and pine nuts.
I begin to wonder if I had arrived at the appropriate entrance until I eventually located the small reception situated in the hotel lobby and proper cafe section with seating.
Check-in is simple; I’m offered a little treat from a basket of pastries as they attend to my details, hand over my swipe card and direct me towards a bright yellow lift that takes me to my floor.
The economy double room is modern and minimalist; with subway-tiled walls and crisp white linen neatly tucked into the king sized bed. The sunshine and a pleasant breeze stream in through the balcony window, which opens up onto the picturesque tree-lined boulevard typical of the L’Eixample neighbourhood.
The bathroom features blue ceramic mosaic, rain-effect shower and Gilchrist and Soames toiletries. Free Wi-Fi is a welcome inclusion. The room is comfortable and quiet – with no hint of a busy bakery beneath – except, of course, for the tempting scent of baked goods wafting through the corridors that permeates ever corner of the Praktik Bakery.
Around the Hotel
The cheerful cafe, with splashes of bright yellow décor and an impressive array of potted plants that flank the back wall, is awash with morning sunlight flooding through the vast windows. There is a mix of hotel guests digging into the platters for the ‘Baluard Breakfast’ and sophisticated, well-dressed locals reading the paper whilst enjoying a simple buttery croissant with their coffee before work.
The Baluard Breakfast
For an additional charge you can enjoy the Baluard buffet style breakfast in the café, this option has seating reserved for hotel guests. The buffet features a selection of freshly baked bread, tempting pastries, a spread of cold meats, cheeses, fruit, yoghurt and preserves. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are on offer, as well as freshly squeezed orange juice.
L’Eixample is a safe neighbourhood with beautiful modernista buildings and striking boulevards in the heart of Barcelona. It’s walking distance to many of the city’s main attractions and transport hubs, yet it’s quiet and pleasantly situated outside of crowded tourist areas.
Book this hotel if…
You want a chic yet affordable place to stay that’s typical of the Spanish Praktik boutique hotel chain. If you like to feel ‘like a local’ in an upmarket neighbourhood, yet also have easy access to Barcelona’s main sights and attractions. Also, if you’re a ‘foodie’ this hotel is an obvious choice!