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 |

Embracing Beauty

fibonacci

I had the pleasure of speaking with Enrique Loewe about beauty and ugliness in the solemn courtyard of the new Thyssen Museum, Málaga. “Embrace beauty”, he exclaimed from the podium of someone who symbolizes luxury better than anyone else in Spain. “Whatever you may study, whatever you may do, be sensible to the ideal of beauty that will transform your professions into a happy and creative exercise. Be demanding with your surroundings, proclaim your taste for things well done, hold on to what’s beautiful,” concluded he who in his own words “has given everything for the desire of beauty in design”.

The esthetics canon has been in constant evolution through History. While the women of the Renaissance portrayed wide hips and prominent curves, women in the 18th century quite contrarily sought to accentuate fragility which was considered romantic by taking only vinegar and lemon. Or what about the incomprehensible esthetics, to us, that are the giraffe women of the Karen tribe in Thailand. Or the teeth blackened with the ohaguru technique in Japan. While Japanese culture demands pale and milky faces, the European middle class has imposed a tanned sheen achieved after many hours of sun exposure in the Mediterranean beaches. Since classic times the concept of beauty had been associated with the discovery of the divine proportion, the number phi, enunciated by Pythagoras and other Hellenic mathematicians. Symmetry isn’t found in parity, but in the spiral evolution of the shapes based on 1618. For each unit, you add to the line a little over a unit and a half. This Fibonacci succession is recognized as much in the works of nature as in the work of artistic geniuses: Praxiteles, Da Vinci, Palladio, Le Corbusier. Continue reading