10 rooms with a sea view in Spain

There’s nothing like a summer holiday to refresh body and soul at the hottest time of the year. And if it’s by the sea, so much the better. Below, EL PAÍS has selected the best hotels in Spain with sea views – from north to south, taking in the Balearic and Canary Islands – with rooms where the surf practically laps at the foot of your bed.

1. Mediterranean light

Terrace at Hotel El Far, in Girona.

Some 175 meters above the sea, on the Costa Brava, the Romaboira lighthouse in Girona province retains a former hermitage that today offers nine rooms, a stone chapel, and a restaurant specializing in Mediterranean cuisine. Room number 3, with a balcony hanging over the cliffs and a terrace with views of the lighthouse, offers the best views of the gentle summer swell.

El Far de Sant Sebastiá (Playa de Llafranc, s/n, Girona; +34 972 30 16 39). Double room from €150. Continue reading

One Is Half Of Two

pink floyd

Facebook is the new ecosystem of news. It is understood that some media directors proclaim that they wouldn’t hire refractory journalists to use Facebook.

According to Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty, the action of observing changes the observed system. The effect doesn’t necessarily follow a cause. Therefore, we can’t determine reality if we want to interpret it. We can only come close to it through statistics, that is, the average of the interpretive results. Blogs, just like particle physics, have been the natural ecosystem of information. And lately, blogs are embedded within social networks as evidenced by LinkedIn with its new space called Pulse. The determination of reality through analyzing statistics is more precise than actual observing. Continue reading

Toying with the idea of non-reception

non-reception-air

Over and over again, the most bitter of all hotel experiences is the moment of arrival. When everything should suggest opening the doors of imagination and hospitality, we usually see something like a wall barring the way to happiness: the reception desk, the final frontier. No way to find the way! The Iron Curtain falls. So, “what can I do?”, wonders any innovative hotelier; perhaps it is the most convenient way to welcome the customers; maybe it is the most useful method to take their ID; surely it is the most practicable place from which to control visitors. Others, owners of small charming hotels, claim that furniture like this helps the communication with the newcomer, and no digital check-in could replace the warmth of human contact. 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

Gallery of Intrepid Sailors

horta

The Azores archipelago brings us back to medieval times and European myths. The O Faial Island belongs to a group of 9 islands that were discovered during the first half of the XV century and began to be populated in 1460. The 4th of July of 1833 the Portuguese king Manuel I promoted the port of Horta, it’s capital, to a city. Horta owes its name to its first settler’s last name, Captain Joss Van Hurtere.

From this harbor the whaling expeditions of the Portuguese Empire would set sail back then, today international voyagers crossing the Atlantic Ocean from America to Europe dock here. The mythical port of Horta, in the Azores Islands, is covered in annotations and paintings reflecting past experiences of maritime navigation, some unexpectedly tipping over, others tragically sinking. Always cautious with the wind, having no disdain for the strong hurricane gusts found among the Gulf.

On the dock, that’s been transformed into a colorful exhibition of the commemorative depictions, the Fort of Santa Cruz rises since the XVI century, bastion of the King Manuel I for the defense of his vast empire. Since 2004 it’s been part of the Pousadas de Portugal chain, and from its rooms you can see the come and go of vessels with the pointed silhouette of the Pico Island in the background. Continue reading

Unreachable Paradise

isla perdida

A couple days of complete disconnection is beneficial. Even better if it’s due to poor coverage of technology, out in a rural location. We were discussing in Marbella some time ago with the director of the hotel Guadalmina, Rafael Albuixech. The hotel is untouched by the influence of tourism, as other vacation centers on the Spanish Costa del Sol are. At this point in time, its location right on the beach is like paradise, since there no longer is any span of the coastline to exploit.

At a certain moment in the conversation a recurring subject came up, formulated decades before by that entrepreneurial pioneer of the worldwide hotel industry, Conrad Hilton: location, location, location! And which means that if we have a good setting, the hotel is safe. Or maybe not. My Marbellan interlocutor urged the competent official authorities in the matter to finish fixing the accesses, which are very run down, and part of a construction plan that includes the improvement of Costa del Sol highway, making a permanent traffic jam. He remained astounded when I told him it would be better to take a pick axe and shovel and destroy the remaining 800 meters of crumbling asphalt between the highway and his hotel…

No, I’m not joking. One of the great enemies of tourism in Spain is it being un-cataloged as an exotic and picturesque destination. Now no one can offer an exclusive and ventured paradise. Now all the pockets of population are well communicated. You can quickly reach anywhere. There isn’t the slightest opportunity for adventure. And this is why beaches are crowded during the summer, why the natural scenery suffers from ‘the Sundays’, why cultural centers have long lines, why one day come and go activities are dreadful because of the traffic. Anyhow, now everyone can go anywhere, making the natural selection of destinations based on taste or rewards into a chimera.

Isolation, tranquility, is now worth its weight in gold. To this exclusivists can assert, authentic, adventurers, millennials.

What Guadalmina Hotel should set out to attain, as should many other hotels just as nice, is to make the access of passersby difficult as a means to protect themselves from clientele that is not typical and that would likely feel more at ease in a lively group at karaokes, casinos or rave parties. Because there are rap hotels and classical music hotels and in a concert they wouldn’t mesh (except for a version I greatly like of Karl Jenkins’ Palladio performed by Eminem) and a bad audience they’d endeavor.

The proposal of a hotel of the senses would make these liturgies be articulated right upon entrance, transporting us to a dream world and not to the mundane reality. The more inaccessible the hotel is, the greater the adventure to reach it. The further away, the greater the desire to reach it.

In such an overpopulated planet, inaccessibility becomes the biggest incentive of traveling and of the hotel, a tourism destination in and of itself. Because the value of what is remote is founded on poetry of solitude.

Fernando Gallardo |