(image taken from Screened)
(image taken from Science Fiction Wallpapers)
(image taken from Movies MMGN)
(image taken from Cinema is Dope)
So I was wrong. So wrong. This is neither a rare nor a monumental occurrence, surely not one that requires any type of shame or celebration, however, it is a bit ironic, given my rather vehement and facetious recent post, in which I heralded turn down service chocolates as the highlight to a trip to South America, due to the exquisite executive level ecstasy they elicited. For, my broad generalization about a stay in one business hotel in any city being essentially the equivalent to a stay in any other business hotel in another was, obviously, wildly off base. In a truly American myopic perspective, I neglected to think of the innumerable national and regional franchises, ones that, surely, adopt the local cultural flavors and aesthetics. The little guys.
For the past four nights, I stayed at the Barcelo Sants, a hotel that claims to be both business and resort based, though, when situated above a large train terminal in the heart of Barcelona, more than a stone's throw from the beach or any body of water, the resort seems more than a gross stretch. This locale had been chosen based on two core items: a low price and an open availability. A colleague had informed me that it had been recently renovated, though he was unsure of the exact details, having yet to visit. Nonetheless, this all seemed quite optimistic. As I approached the front desk, passing through the requisite revolving doors, I was a bit shocked by the starkness of the white walls, with a black carpet, scattered with colored stars. Above the front desk, large capital letters read "Boarding Desk"; all chairs and furniture appeared to either be some sort of bizarre capsule, meant to launch a monkey or dog or other non-human creature far beyond the stratosphere, or some retro-futuristic, 1970s rocket ship cockpit. With one sweeping glance, I quickly realized, indeed, the entire hotel was spaceship and space travel themed, with not a subtle but an overt and brazen tribute to the Stanley Kubrick epic 2001: A Space Odyssey. Above the entire front lobby, a large and spacious and overwhelming neutral atrium, a simple geometric mosaic mural of the infamous 2001 astronaut character, in his space helmet, staring with an amazed horror at the computer before him. A friendly enough receptionist gave me the key to my modest accommodations, not surprisingly labeled as a "boarding pass."
Beyond the front desk, all walls, carpets, and other ornamentation still a stark contrast of either black or white, there was this computer console that could be borrowed from the set of the Men in Black franchise, a comment both painful and pathetic, because, it is actually a franchise. I was soon greeted with more moon-shaped chairs, sliced into half cross sections. The bar is clean, quite befitting for freeze-dried foods and vacuum sealed beverages, though, disappointingly, this seems to be the only arena in which the hotel decided to drop the metaphoric front. Tables scattered about were decorated with bizarre stunted cacti plants in silver colored pots, cacti that had been spray painted neon colors to appear ethereal and unearthly; perhaps this stratagem worked for some. Stepping into the elevator, again clinically white, the floor was an onyx black with glittering celestial-like glittering objects, in a rather regular, non-constellation forming pattern. At my floor, a large faux window, looking from the confines of a our constructed craft into a superficial space, the moon prominently and inaccurately portrayed in the background. Again, white and black, odd geometric lines and weird capsules. The hall was completely dark; as I neared my room, low vertical lights between each room automatically illuminated. I nearly burst out laughing.
Thankfully, in addition to the now familiar white and black, my room had some fake light wood paneling. It, too, had some strange bubble window that looked onto an alien landscape, one that connoted an unknown and forbidden planet; across the window glass, in white, were the numbers of fabricated coordinates. And I believe a random temperature listing.
Alas, unfortunately for me, despite this incredibly ridiculous pretense of cosmic modernity and technological mastery, the tap water still tasted as though I were licking the used hamster shavings inside of a busy pet store, and there were no wash clothes, anywhere, on the entire premise. The evolution of man.
Snarky commentary soundtrack: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust David Bowie; "Erase/Rewind" the Cardigans (on repeat)