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, ashamed, asked for forgiveness with a kind smile because the water had been heard in her service and a drop was ejected unto the tablecloth, moistening it in an amber speckle.

It’s ok, it’s just a drop of water, I whispered to her while I tried taking it out with the tip of my index. But the damage had already been done. The celestial peace of that place was disturbed when a glup! followed by a clap! cracked in the surrounding air of the table.

Such was the refinement lived that night in the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona Hotel that any hiss may have unwillingly broken the sublime concept of silence and dining fragility. The reader may certainly be astonished by the importance I am giving to such trifle. Foolishness, he would think. To deny the liturgy of service such as the one provided in the restaurant because of a crackle of the water in the glass and a splashed drop on the tablecloth.

However, when we are talking about Asian luxury, these refinements have to be taken into account seriously. The dance of the maids in the hall, the delicateness in the speech, the fineness in their gestures, the torsion of the bodies in graceful attitude, the charm in their acts, the sapience in their evolutions between the kitchen and the table… All this liturgy, like many other liturgies that are celebrated each minute in the spaces of this hotel, find a reason to be in the exquisiteness as concept of supreme luxury. A delicatessen whose audiovisual expression has reached my soul in Barcelona, as they have affected me to the bones in Bangkok, Tokyo, Shanghai or Singapore. I refer to the promotional video of the Mandarin Oriental brand which expresses through its oneiric, transgressive, enjoyable and sensorial visual landscapes the emotional value of a quintessence brand of Asian luxury.

By means of their sequences, we can convincingly approach the idea of the experiential hotel about which we talk so much. I would like to be a Saintexuperian little prince and someday find, in a hotel outside Asia, a waiter who jumps into a pool, a sumo wrestler submerged in an onsen, a swimmer on an apple bed, a hairstylist of the old barber school, a dragon in the jungle, an astronaut behind the crystals, some flying seneschal… and bump into Gong Li in the halls.

Evanescent emotions in all the hotels of the Mandarin Oriental chain on which the imagery of this promotional short, to say of some evanescent in opium and belonging to an eastern cohort of drugged ups. But indisputable sedatives, even if only spiritually. Landscapes and sequences inspired in eastern atmosphere movies like House of Flying Daggers, The English Patient, The Last Emperor or Ran.

Because being exquisite in the inexcusable condition of being cultured.

Fernando Gallardo |

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