Exploring Luxury in the Hotels of Peru and Ecuador [Part 6: Swimming and Pampering]

Spa culture is kind of weird. Once, in the weeks leading up to our wedding, Bekah thought it would be hilarious to convince me to join her for something called a facial. In a dark earth toned room they wrapped my head up in a boiling hot cloth, provided me a library of scents to select from and informed me that I was about to be taken on a sensory journey. Then they repeatedly jabbed a little steel instrument deep into the tip of my nose. That was my first spa experience.

Every kid grows up loving hotel swimming pools. Immersion in water is a primal experience. It’s inherently appealing. A swim in a pool is a simple way to engage with a place on a tactile level.

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Exploring Luxury in the Hotels of Peru and Ecuador [Part 5: Dining Rooms]

Hospitality is an artform that engages all the senses. In this artform the hotel dining room can play a pivotal role. These spaces are the points of convergence for multiple agendas (architectural, culinary, cultural) where all of a guest’s senses are fully engaged. These are the epicenters of the hotel experience.

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Exploring Luxury in the Hotels of Peru and Ecuador [Part 4: Exteriors]

Hotels can be very secretive little worlds. Yet even the most secluded and off-limits place has to come to terms with the fact that it still exists under the same harsh sun as everything else and still has to do the unglamorous work of keeping out the rain. It still has to have a physical presence in a wider landscape or a city.

The hotel environments that Bekah and I explored recently all had to transition at some point from carefully curated interiors to unpredictable landscapes and weather conditions that lay waiting outside the front door.

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Exploring Luxury in the Hotels of Peru and Ecuador [Part 3: Lobbies, Lounges and the Drama of Arrival]

Checking into a hotel doesn’t always mean just standing at a tall desk and having paperwork slid across the countertop at you before lumbering off alone to the elevator. There are more fitting ways to celebrate the miracle of successfully arriving somewhere. When you show up for the first time at a hotel you get to play a part in the drama of arrival. This is a drama that has been acted out over and over since the beginning of time, and it has the potential to convey not just a sense of welcome but maybe even a sense of wonderment.

The first moments of exposure to a new place are what this drama is about, and these moments are your chance to gauge how seriously that place values hospitality. In other words it’s your chance to gauge just how much that place actually wants to honor you.

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Exploring Luxury in the Hotels of Peru and Ecuador [Part 1: Introduction]

Luxury is a word that used to unsettle me.

I used to think pursuing it was only about the showing off of power and wealth through excessive and wasteful life choices. I used to think that luxury only meant things like gold plated Hummers and recreational rhinoceros hunting and mansions with TVs on every wall and ceiling. It does still include all of that unfortunately. But in recent years I’ve had some unusual experiences and I’ve ended up in some unexpected places, and I’ve grown to understand that there is also a truly noble and worthwhile kind of luxury out there that follows a completely different agenda.

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