Exploring Luxury in the Hotels of Peru and Ecuador [Part 8: Bedrooms]

Hotel bedrooms very nearly have to accomplish the whole agenda of your entire house in one tiny footprint: they’re private lounges, dining chambers, storage closets, dressing rooms and work studios all rolled into one. Also of course they have to provide the ideal environment for a healthy night’s sleep.

Hotel bedrooms carry a lot of responsibility. The atmosphere they project when you walk through the door for the first time has to make you feel at home in one glance. Or if feeling at home is not desired, then at least they have to compel you to play along with whatever suspended reality lifestyle you’ve sought out.

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Exploring Luxury in the Hotels of Peru and Ecuador [Part 7: Bathrooms]

Hotel bathrooms have to pack a lot of odd technology and odd experiences into a really small space. There’s a huge potential for chaos and clutter here, not to mention the problem of foul odors, hard surfaces near exposed skin, air and water temperature regulation, lighting that’s either too glaring or too dim, noises that travel where they’re not supposed to, impeding the spread of diseases, etc. It’s always an impressive feat when a bathroom can address all of these parameters and still end up feeling gracious or uncluttered or comfortable or tied in some way to the overall atmosphere of a place.

Sometimes this gracefulness is accomplished through sheer ingenuity or a meticulous sense of composition. The exact placement of a tissue box or the careful filtering of natural light becomes extremely important here.

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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 2: Secret Courtyards and Infinite Hallways]

Getting from one lovely place to another is not always a pleasant experience while you’re actually in transit. This can be true at the scale of a journey between continents or a drive to the grocery store or even a walk from one end of a hotel to another. A lot of life is lived in in-between places and a lot of these places are not typically thought of as lovely – in-between cities, in-between jobs, in-between the window seat and the aisle seat. There’s a tendency not to invest too much effort in in-between places. Unfortunately that leads to a lot of unpleasant physical locations in the world that we all must pass through at one time or another, and we are all worse off for it.

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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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