The fascination of this place
is not about what there is
but about what is missing.

This is not a cliché.

August 2016

01 August 2016

What a wonder a hotel can be!

Long ago hotels were proud establishments dedicated to conviviality and where the interchange between persons was the order of the day. Discussions, debates, real coming together of opinion and ideas and healthy exchanges between persons. Personal enrichment was to the fore and this came about through taking in the knowledge of others.
"We firmly believe, more so than ever, that our hotel needs to be a place where we promote a sense of cultured hospitality which makes us stand out in terms of offer."
At the end of the ‘Ottocento’ there appeared in Switzerland a young chap, son of farmworkers, and he of modest means had the enthusiasm to explore opportunities which his kin had not dared contemplate. The lad was Cesar Ritz, and, blessed with a great determination, he had the idea to idea to substitute the standard with the luxury, and to transform the hotel trade into a noble and enterprising profession. Indeed he would establish himself as the embodiment of a new hotel hospitality entrepreneurial initiative. The young man transformed radically the world of hotel accommodation, making of hotels an exclusive structure where the guests would be treated like royalty. Thanks to this vision of his he was able to realise hotels of a standard suitable for nobility, the ‘well-to-do’ and the ‘borghesi’ in general, they all at that time accustomed to travelling both for trade and pleasure. He was the first to invent the notion of private bathrooms, of daily cleaning routines, of well-lit and airy relaxation areas. And he too was the first to create a new sort of dining order, separating tables in a way so that there was space for a more intimate and meaningful exchange whilst dining.
The world in those days was a time of glory for some and of despair for others. They were the years of the Belle Époque, the times of much advancement in science and technology. All moved at a certain frantic pace – there was the birth of cabaret, the advent of impressionism, new art forms, the dawn of publicity. The creative ferment at play led to euphoria and frivolity in abundance. The evident prosperity convinced many that they belonged to some superior world and, as we know, this can quickly lead to some perversion of fact and habit, and with time things changed and there was even a certain rancor. Excess of vitality was followed by the Urkatastrophe, the fatal catastrophe, and all came to change, the nature of hospitality too. And since then we have not really recovered, and the influence of Monsieur Ritz, the king of hoteliers, the hotelier to kings, remains but a distant memory.
In 2012 there were a billion tourists in circulation around the world, but how many of these enjoyed an experience rich of exchange and personal enhancement? Yes, it is true that there are still the great travellers as we once understood them to be, even if there are few lands to discover and the convivial exchange factor, as this newsletter relates, has become a rare commodity. Notwithstanding all, we at La Pera believe, and even more so than before, that our hotel needs to be a place of meeting and exchange and there is a need to cultivate that culture of hospitality which should be a fundamental and distinctive nature of ours. The dialogue between host and guest is vital – this too why we have taken a step back and reintroduced the half board format in our Stües – it is important that there is this sharing of time and presence between we who work and you who are our welcome guests. Take for example Mariagrazia, waitress at Berghotel Ladinia, she happy to speak of Arabic language and culture; Biancamaria, who oversees the Spa, happy to accompany us at a healthy pace to the waterfalls; I myself, ready to tell of the Great War and introduce to you the songs rebelling against the war: for us all of this is part of the cultural exchange we seek in our version of hospitality. With this in mind we have chosen certain occasions to celebrate and experience alongside yourselves. The idea is not to convert ourselves and our offer into a Holiday Club, but to focus on events and circumstances which we would like to share with you. For example on 17 July we remembered the Ladin protest of 1946 against the unjust fascist tripartition. Looking to the month ahead, on 5 August, on the occasion of the beginning of the Olympics we will celebrate the sporting movement. On the celebration of Santa Maria dai Ciüf, the ladies in the hotel will have a special flower arrangement as part if their hairstyle for the day, and the gents will have a specially prepared flower arrangement for their jacket lapels. On the Sunday prior to midsummer on 15 August it is common also to carry a basket of flowers to church as a wish for a healthy autumn harvest. Without making the occasion an uncomfortable one for those who who do not wish to partake, we would like to give the chance for staff and guests to be involved in the tradition. At the heart of all we do is respect for the values we have: to be aware of and focus on the individual. This comes across in our mission which states ‘Enhancing wellbeing in full awareness of and focusing on the value of the human individual as consideration of others is pleasure itself.’ I would have liked to have asked Monsieur Ritz what he thought of our mission but even more I would like to ask our guests what they think of our mission and our attempts to live it to the full through the initiatives and celebrations we take forward. All your comments are welcome for as you know the individual is at the focus of our attention.