Hotels for cyclists

hotelcycle

Would you forbid someone to take his bike into his room?

It is undeniable that the number of cyclists has increased substantially in recent years in so-called slow cities and steep mountain areas. In Europe, Amsterdam is a genuine amusement park for bicycles. Copenhagen, with a not exactly Mediterranean temperature, already has the bicycle as the main means of transport of its citizens. No less than 55% of urban movements are made there on two wheels. When I drove through their streets last year, I remembered what these Nordic cities were like when I first visited them 30 years ago, totally invaded by polluting cars and major traffic jams everywhere.

The bicycle today has become entrenched in the collective mindset as an instrument of advanced societies. More than a means of locomotion, it is the icon of a new philosophy of life, a flag of freedom and personal sensibility toward the environment. In fact, the stage of development of a city is no longer measured by the number of cars or televisions per capita, but by the kilometers of bike lanes. Both the fiber optic layout and the proliferation of parking lots are no longer valued. Thus, we can surely say that Seville and Barcelona are more developed cities than Madrid in this sense. Continue reading

Gastronomy without dribbling

gastronomy

«Limit yourself to speak about the food», snapped a chef, whose name I’d rather refrain from providing, to the journalist Veronica Ocvirk when she was interviewing him. The answer berated her professional respectability. She confided in me, hurt by the disagreement and mostly stunned mostly from the limited level of culture displayed by the aforementioned master of the stoves.

«To me the traditional gastronomic journalism bores me» Vero confessed to me. «I swear I fall asleep just having to think about writing an Ode to Palm Heart. What I enjoy is the social aspect of gastronomy, and my dream, one of them at least, is to between us  all think of how we can make high cuisine reach even more people, not less».

Perhaps I shouldn’t have confused a kitchen helper as a chef. Because if the person in question refused to comment on any other melody except that of his pans, I have no doubt that his culinary category is that of a kitchen helper, with all due respect to all kitchen workers. Someone could bring up that I myself once said that a soccer player cannot be asked for a skilled interview, where he should prove his abilities is by skillfully dribbling on the field, with his shoes not with his tongue or pen. But nowadays an elite chef is an artist, and as such, he should respond to the intelligentsia of his art. Continue reading

Fishing in the Network

fishing in the networkIn 2010, when Facebook had barely reached 400 million followers —compared with 1.2 billion it has today—, I wrote a prediction about the increasing power of this social network and the importance that I anticipated for the future of the hospitality industry. Now we already know how it is. Actually, without Facebook utilities, a tourist accommodation has no chance to exist in the next decade, simply because the tourist market is all digital and connected. Soon, travelers will choose and book their rooms on Facebook. And hotels will know on Facebook who their customers are, how they think and what they really want. Welcome to Planet Earth, welcome to Planet Facebook.

The future of search is social, I hazarded in a short essay about the use of social networks on the Internet and its so-called ‘Facebook effect’.  Could Mark Zuckerberg’s ecosystem dare to unseat Google’s digital culture dominance? Assaulting the algorithms used by the company of goggles, Facebook has come to optimize its search engine which allows displaying in real-time all that we are writing on our timeline. Continue reading

The educated luxury

birdsOmotesando, the chicest street in Tokyo, is changing Louis Vuitton handbags and Chanel coats for Zara dresses and Gap jeans. There, as well as in many other places, bellies increasingly feel the pressure from belts and, so it seems, of luxury; what we understand as excessive luxury, nowadays seems by all means over the top. This consideration is seeping ever deeper into our consciences and some people assert that its effects will not be temporary, but that austerity, or a non-wasteful lifestyle, has no turning back. This is even considering that the acquisition of objects of brands such as Hermès, Louis Vuitton or Armani was a symbolic ritual of the Japanese middle class, an act of initiation of which without it there would be no sense of belonging to the group.

Alas, not. Luxury of this type is no longer sustainable, despite the environmental care these large firms devote to their finest products. During the years of the Great Depression working towards a sustainable consumption of goods and use of services may not have been priority. The whole world settled for cheaper industrial manufacturing and less indulgent with environmental damage, preferably made in China. However, what nowadays is on the post crisis, globalized and digitalized horizon, is a new vital culture imbued with variables so innovative and exciting, such as social responsibility, knowledge of purchase, global information, public involvement of consumed objects, and exaltation of the senses… Luxury, yes, but an educated luxury. Continue reading

Facebook Nation

fb

Facebook is already the most populated nation in the world. More than 1,550 million people live connected to each other today, exchanging ideas, feelings, languages, aptitudes, products, services, economies…The demographic has been, is and will be a deciding factor in this world’s organization. And it is convenient to reflect and reconsider many clichés before it.

It would be necessary to discern first what we intend as a nation and how we feel as a country. If we adhere to a legal or historic scope, the concept of nation rises in the middle of the XVII century when the Treatise of Westphalia puts an end to the Thirty Years’ War, in 1648. But the maturity of the State nation is not consolidated until the end of the XVIII century, coinciding with the end of the old regime and the fall of the French Revolution, when the first theoretical formulation of the differential event with its adjacent political movements are elaborated. It would be certainly necessary to synthetize here the foretold End of History, by Francis Fukuyama, equidistant  to the renationalization that seems to be observed in certain areas of Europe as a consequence of what Samuel Phillips Huntington defined as the clash of civilizations, especially that of radical Islamism against the West. Continue reading

Domotic Rooms

domotics

Here are the latest technologies for a guest who is no longer surprised by LCD screen or WIFI connection because he is accustomed to using them daily at home. Hubs for iPod, control panels, interactive TV, light sensors, home cinema, smart tiles, and nanotextiles will be part of the equipment and decor of the rooms of the hi-tech hotels that are to come.

Home automation is a reality. It is in our homes and has come to stay. Eighty-five percent of newly built housing incorporates facilities related to this technology, according to the Spanish Association of Domotics (CEDOM). If the real estate sector is already convinced, we can expect that hotels will achieve this same percentage soon. Continue reading