TRAVEL in times of virtual reality
« L’endroit le plus sûr pour un bateau, c’est le port. Mais ce n’est pas pour ça que le bateau a été créé… »
The desire to break away from our daily routine, to conquer unknown places and reconnect with the explorer spirit inside us is innate to man. Submerged in a scene of vivid colours, an unknown language, and surprising customs, we feel rejuvenated, awake, present. This is the essence of travel: the renewed experience of oneself.
This experience is currently in danger. Just like a “reality show”, the scenes shown by tourist operators in the so called tropical paradises or the gentrified neighbourhoods in fashionable destinations have as much to do with reality as members of “Survivors” do with explorers and the contestants of “Love Island” with lovers.
The architectural setting of the resorts resembles the fable“A Thousand and One Nights”. Both “Hagia Sofia” and the “The Sagrada Familia” drowning in seas of visitors have been converted into spectacles. They are no longer enjoyed as much as architectural masterpieces. They cannot be perceived or valued in the right way, because the experience of finding oneself with the real essence requires attention complete awareness and concentration. Therefore, far away from the hordes and masses.
View of the Sagrada Familia full of people.
View of the terrace of the Hotel AYRE Sagrada Familia in Barcelona where you can see the towers of the basílica.
The central patio of the Hotel AYRE Sagrada Familia is made up using the mathematic relations of “Serie Fibonacci”, created by the mathematics of the same name of the Italian renaissance. The growth patterns of organic elements are reflected here, of a tree or a snail for example. It wasn’t by fate that Gaudí put together the proportions of the basílica following the connections of this idea. The genius of Modernism found his great inspiration in nature. If Gaudí used th colours of the four seasons of the year for the patio of la Pedrera, the architects of the Hotel AYRE make use of LED technology to show a symphony of colours in 4 million distinctive tones. Steering away from the pastiche and rehearsals, using contemporary methods Gaudi’s work is recreated as an authentic experience.
But just like at other times, man is capable of reinventing himself, of overcoming obstacles and reconnecting with his spirit. In the tourism sector, many different initiatives are coming to light that turn the accidental tourist back into an authentic traveller.
This is where AirBnB positions itself and advertises itself, not without reason, as a welcome refuge to the traveller in the home of a native person, showing them the local customs. Additionally, luxury hotels conceived as «refuges» are popping up, allowing the traveller to reconnect with his surroundings, origins, and traditions. In this sense, at the Amagiri Hotel in Canyon Point, guests paying $3,000.00 a night will be submerged into a natural wilderness. Attending shaman rituals from native local tribes allows us to reconnect with our ancestral spirit, balance, and strength.
At the same time, so as not to lose any market share in times of «experience travel«, traditional hotels promote themselves on social media, offering a connection with the local habitat in the form of workcenters, city-biking with a local guide and meals in culinary societies.
Amangiri hotel in Canyon Point, Southern Utah.
There is something for all budgets and tastes, for lovers of the opera and of the open air. Well orchestrated by professional agents, well trained entrepeneurs and visionary politicians, we find ourselves facing immense potential to revitalise rural and urban areas in decline, creating beneficial realities for residents and visitors.
Calistoga Motel Motor Lodge & Spa in Calistoga, USA. – Winner of the «Ahead Award 2018» prize, in the category of best renovation and restoration. The design is inspired by the nostalgia of American roadtrips with the interiors inspired in analogical leisure, attractive topics for the new generation of Millenials and Generation Z, who experience travel and local customs in a more leisurely way.
Calistoga motel Motor Lodge & Spa in Calistoga, USA.