Set against the background of a sorely troubled economy – two recessions in three years, a banking sector corrupted by bad loans and incompetent practice, property and construction industries declining by the day, unemployment in the 16-25yo cohort at 50% – the timing of Mariott's decision to enter the Spanish business market appears less than propitious.
But I'm no economist, and in any case I'm certainly not brave (or mad) enough to start second-guessing Marriott Intl' s (MI) business strategists and M&A team! What seems very likely is that MI's “joint venture – under which, in case you haven't noticed, 80+ hotels previously owned and managed by AC Hoteles are now part of a joint venture and operate as “AC Hotels by Marriott” – will lead to an increase in the number of visitors from outside of Europe.
A few months ago our Community Manager noted - in a delightfully droll moment - noted that some of my posts tended to be "quite thorough", and that perhaps I might think about creating a blog. Though that seems a little like "over-egging the pudding" (even if I could work out how to do it), it does seem that there are a variety of issues about modern Spain that are intrinsically interesting and of great relevance to the would-be visitor.
Over the next few weeks I'll try to come up with a series of posts (each short!!) which address two questions:
1. What sort of place is 21st century Spain;
2. How has it come to be as it is?
After a preliminary ramble across Spanish history since 1492, I'll focus on the four largest cities - Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville - looking in each case to identify some of the key aspects of their past and present that will enrich a visitor's experience of them.
Please join in how ever and whenever.
Have traveled to Spain many times and loved every trip.
Each city has had its own charms, Madrid, Toledo, Malaga, Marbella, Sevilla, Jerez, Barcelona, and this year I added Granada and Alhambra to the list.
What I think I love most is that the history and culture are all around you, and become your everyday life.
and its very sensual, the colors, sounds, smells
Its not the dry stuff from history class.
Many thanks. In a few words, you've summed up exactly the aspect of Spain I'm going to try to get at:
".........the history and culture are all around you, and become your everyday life."
If my text becomes "the dry stuff from history classes", just tell me -- or better still, enliven it.
More Madrid links on MI
Hotel Ritz Madrid http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madrt
AC Santo Mauro, Autograph Collection http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madma
AC Hotel Aitana http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madai
AC Hotel Aravaca http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madac
AC Hotel Arganda http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madar
AC Hotel Atocha http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madat
AC Hotel Carlton Madrid http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madca
AC Hotel Coslada Aeropuerto http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madco
AC Hotel Cuzco http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madcu
AC Hotel La Finca http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madfi
AC Hotel Los Vascos http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madva
AC Hotel Madrid Feria http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madfe
AC Hotel Monte Real http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madmr
AC Hotel Recoletos http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madrc
AC Hotel Rivas Vaciamadrid http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madri
AC Hotel San Sebastian de los Reyes http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madse
AC Palacio Del Retiro, Autograph Collection http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/hotels/madre
Mrs A and I honeymooned in Francisco Franco's Spain in 1970.
It was an interesting time: the constant surveillance of the military, the beauty of the cities and the countryside, the impressive architecture, the midnight Flamenco shows--the rhythm of a nation embodied in the painting "Jaleo," the bull fights in the searing Madrid sun, the painting "Las Meninas" in the same room it was painted at the Prado, the ancient gold making city of Toledo, and out of the way church opened with a huge iron key to show us the El Greco paintings therein, the vibrancy of Barcelona, the women of the night there, Las Ramblas in all its glory.
Yes Spain was a beautiful, but dark place in my memory. Like the Kodachromes I have the colors have faded, meaning it is time to go back.
We await your Spanish reports Como Siempe Mi Amigo!
Here is a link to photos of my trip to northwestern Spain earlier this year.
Even though I'm a Catholic, teaching Spain's religious history gives me shivers. Its history of Catholicism was even to recent times everything I deplore. When I went into the Mezquita in Cordoba, I didn't want to see the small cathedral that King Alfonso had commissioned in honor of "St James the Moor-Slayer". Even that medieval king, when he saw what they had done in the midst of that amazing building, called it an abomination. The top photo is a statute of the Moor-Slayer (in his more peaceable form Santiago de Compostela) and the other two photos are the original building started by Abd Al Rahman I in 784.
I think that Cordoba is one of the few cities I have missed in Spain. That and the Northwest that I have always wanted to see.
One of my favorites is in the Northeast - Montserrat.
My 2 favorite places are Monserrat in Catalonia, Spain and Meryemana in Efus, Turkey
Below is a link to a very nice video complete with sound.
p.s. another thing that Franco did not like was anything Catalan - the language, sardana dancing, the monestary, etc.