Room of the Valkyries

valquirias

Since The Lord of the Rings trylogy, of which its first part was directed by Peter Jackson, tourism in New Zealand has not stopped growing exponentially. The national tourism authority would never have dreamed such an avalanche of foreigners would come with the premiere of the adventures of Frodo, Gandalf, Bilbo, Gollum and Aragorn, despite spending millions of NZ dollars on promotion. Just one film, only one impression, was good enough to entice us with those dreamscapes we enjoy now and forever.

The same feeling came to us some decades ago with the vision of 2001: A Space Odyssey. When the master Stanley Kubrick took us into science fiction ecstasy, we ran to Copenhagen for a few days to seeing with our own eyes the white, pristine, hotel lobby SAS, designed by the great architect Arne Jacobsen for the final chapter of the Continue reading

Architecture of Light

piloña

Besides the purely functional criteria, the illumination of each room shifts depending on the aesthetic and sensory effect we want. Also, it depends on the time of day, which determines how some multi-purpose spaces should be transformed. Experimenting with light allows us to design some interesting projects playing with color, intensity, and even with the flashing beams. The transformative power of light draws attention to concrete objects or spaces. It creates atmosphere and engenders different feelings to guests. From bright to dim to all those discrete visual effects created by optical fiber, any hotel is the perfect scenario for this kind of delightful fireworks. Continue reading

Hotel of Flying Maids

At the end of an exquisite dinner, and only at the moment of serving the dessert, one of the maid falters and made the water gurgle while she was serving the glass. Hell, what did just happen? We found out immediately. A fatal rupture had taken place in the harmonious cadence of the service, an unpardonable oversight in the quietude of the dining hall, surely caused by an anticipated step or a delayed gesture. The atmosphere, suddenly, broke its Zen inspiration. Like a stab, all the gazes converged towards that glass from which bosom, a slight, but obvious, gurgle had been perceived. The maid, Continue reading

Having a charger at hand

egg

The use of the landline phones in the hotel rooms has dropped significantly since the popularization of the mobile phone. That non-negligible complement of the hotel business —easier to manage than the mini bar goods— is going through its hardest times, and there is no evidence of it getting any better. On the contrary, the tendency leads to its extinction for all travelers have been provided with their small device.

Only provided with that? It is well-known that nobody travels with a trunk anymore. Not even the Saudi sheikhs, oblige to feed their harem, they carry with them or get someone to carry those heavy chests which used to show the pedigree of the old travelers. Today he will only carry a suitcase, the more practical the better, and since airports started being impossible when it comes to safety, the smaller and lighter the better. Continue reading

Buying Landscape

landscapeHow many enlightened hotels in paradisiacal locations don’t suffer nowadays the consequence of the developing approach previous to the Great Recession? How many hotels haven’t sold views without registering them beforehand in the Property Registry? That competitive advantage of some locations above others, apparently free, always found expression in the graphic splendor of a tourism brochure or a webpage with appealing colors, without any more intrinsic cost than having opened a window towards the mountain or tasking the architect with an infinity pool.

There were those, absorbed in the panorama, who believed in paradise thanks to a heavenly image. But the postcard ended up having a price: the requalification of the terrain on behalf of the current mayor, urged to feed the municipal coffers, if not more personal needs. And all without losing sight of the obstacles in tackling regional decentralization – that is to say, municipal autonomy.

Then, when the neighboring property has been requalified and from the ground an entire urbanization has sprouted with townhouses, is when the business laments ensue. «They have stolen my view», «They have asphyxiated my business», «They have surrounded the hotel with housing developments, asphalt, noise, garbage, and syringes.» Continue reading

A genius is unique and chaotic, not perfect or a winner

shirtwhiteI am very grateful to Orlando Cotado, ideologist and promotor of Incitus Awards, by these words addressed to me on his blog. For sure, the title is deafening, but its content redeems.

This past Friday at the organized lectures by the Incitus Movement, as a complement to their dynamic work in the hostelry sector, I had the luck to meet and learn about the convoluted speculations of Fernando Gallardo (@fgallardo). A character who has seen a lot, lived a lot, and I’m not saying that because of his age because I consider him infinitely younger than I, but above all, and I think this is his greatest virtue, because he has thought a lot.

As if that wasn’t enough, a friend and no less brilliant Luis Veira, chef of Árbore da Veira restaurant and one of the Michelin Stars with the biggest future in the Galician gastronomic scene, also accompanied us. The grace of the event was in the contrast of opinions and experiences.

A common characteristic of quick and privileged minds is the slowness with which they communicated —Adrià is the exception that proves it—. Gallardo is a calm and light person, but with content even in his pauses. A guy who is able to place all his cards face up, yet still hide his game. A great guy, provocative and generous as all those of his species. A guide that is going one small step ahead.

After a pretentious examination of perceptions to which he was playing with an advantage —throwing zooms and perverse angles of vision to hide from us the table of Zaha Hadid and the famous shower of his Inhabited Ruin— he concluded that what prevented us from being different, the barrier between the old and the modern, that which turned us into a gray plain, was protocols.

Protocol, a rule or guide with enough information to prevent creativity. That which tells us that a table must have four legs, a telephone keys with numbers or a car a steering wheel. Fortunately, there’s geniuses like Hadid, Jobs, or Google’s engineers that don’t let themselves be closeted in by these protocols.

As a trend analyst, his mission is to open doors and show us new and trending worlds. However, their biggest virtue is surrounding information and their bold approaches. His bet for collaborative economic is known by all —I like to think that that’s where his support to the Incitus Movement comes from— and his tough defense of Uber. In his lecture, he condemned success as a fight to be the best to other’s detriment. Gallardo imagines a society where we strive to be different, not better. «Watch differently, be unique» —he concluded.

This was the message of the entrepreneurs of the room, a message that, not by overuse, has lost its sense. The «Think Different» of Jobs and Apple is more present than ever. Because, no matter how much we repeat it, we don’t come to grips with accepting it. «Creativity is not copying» Adrià repeats hastily. Very simple, but very complicated to execute. Although Gallardo also left us without any clue in that subject.

«When I bought what today is The Inhabited Ruin, I hired the best architect in rustic European home rehabilitation. He delivered the best project I could hope for, the best. Everything was right, but I didn’t like it and I didn’t know how to express why. Until a year later, we visited the ruin and I realized it. I had the project I hoped for, everything that imagination and talent could perpetrate, but something was missing, a surprise element that would make it different. It was missing madness, it was missing chaos, it was missing being unique» —he confessed.

And this is the path. Add chaos to your routine and «become an entrepreneur only if you are capable of creating unique things». A genius is unique and chaotic, not perfect or a winner.

Continue reading