Sepia ghosts in luxury hotels | Culture

Sepia ghosts in luxury hotels | Culture
Sepia ghosts in luxury hotels | Culture

On the trips I have made around the world I have stayed in seedy hotels and others steeped in history. In this case, upon entering the room I always wondered what kind of illustrious people or criminal types had slept in that bed, what mysterious ladies with double lives had used the bathroom, how many adulteries, fights, reunions their mirrors had reflected. I think the strongest thing about old British luxury hotels are the ghosts whose shadows remain stuck to the walls. To any exotic and distant luxury lodge you go you will find that the inevitable guests, Winston Churchill and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, have passed through there. It also seems impossible to reach a hotel in Europe with history that does not wander in the shadow of the poet Rilke, a specialist in making princesses and duchesses of the Austro-Hungarian empire and their respective husbands fall in love.

Rilke was a wandering poet who was always a guest from mansion to mansion, from hotel to hotel in Venice, in Capri, in the Black Forest, in Paris, in Rome, in Stockholm, in Florence, in Saint Petersburg, in Duino. And wherever he went he also left a trail of fake loves. What did you miss at the Victoria Hotel in Ronda? The same as the cheetah in the snows of the summit of Kilimanjaro. I started reading Rilke during the militia camp in Montejaque, whose memory is now lost in time. Some Sunday he would go up to Ronda and read some of his poems along with a lemon slushy with mint on the terrace of the Victoria Hotel. The two concoctions were interchangeable.

I like the sepia photographs that show what these hotels were like in the interwar era. If they were by the sea they appeared with some boats with lateen sails stranded on the sand and the indigenous farmers and fishermen posing next to the gentlemen who wore butter-colored suits, along with their women in wasp swimsuits, shedding smiles. The white armchairs, the ice cream cups art deco, the hammocks, the booths with white and blue striped fabrics, the traditional waiters, so faithful and helpful in the middle of the society parties. At night how many times have I dreamed of my first arrival at the Formentor hotel in Mallorca, when the flurry of literature promulgated by Cela had just passed through there and the waters of the bay reflected the poem by Costa i Llobera that Maria del Mar Bonet would later sing, The foot of Formentor. This hotel even today requires you to arrive at its lobby with a canvas trunk and a bellows briefcase in the company of a woman who adorns herself with a cap in her hair and four strands of necklaces that reach to her hips.

View of the Formentor hotel, in Mallorca.Alamy Stock Photo

On one occasion, at the Bayona inn, out of deference from the director, I took the suite room main one, where King Juan Carlos, Prince Philip, Charles de Gaulle, several dethroned monarchs and also Generalissimo Franco had slept, who took advantage of it to take a nap while the yacht was anchored. Goshawk in bay waters. The truth is that I did not experience any special macumba transmitted in dreams by the dictator. At the Villa Politi hotel, which stands above the Capuchin latomy in Syracuse, I learned that many years before André Gide had preceded me. What would you go looking for? Perhaps, having an ephebe whip him with a laurel whip and sunbathing his flesh with sirocco, getting lost in the twists and turns of the port or dreaming that the island of Styx, which is part of the city linked by a bridge, was where the nymph Calypso held Ulysses back.

One of the most valued shadows that inhabit hotels with history is that of Al Capone. It is enough for them to tell you at reception that this famous gangster passed by for you to start investigating the bed where he slept, the armchair in which he sat in the lobby, the stool he used at the bar counter. When he traveled from Chicago to New York he used to stay at the Intercontinental. I fell there on September 10 of I don’t know what year to do a report on the anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers, without realizing that due to the opening of the United Nations, given its proximity, the hotel was full of gyrfalcons from all over the world. countries highly sought after by terrorists. The block remained cordoned off. They gave me one suite room at the end of a hallway whose rooms were all occupied by FBI elements with their respective wolf dogs. I was the only innocent being in the entire plant. At night I heard the dogs howling that had previously sniffed even the most secret parts of my body. Sleeping in the same bed as Al Capone surrounded by fifty FBI dogs is one of the peaks I have climbed in my life.

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