GARY LEFF, author of the popular travel blog “View from the Wing”, recently posted “How The Jesus and Mary Chain Influence My Hotel Choices” – his take on why some hotels create a deeper emotional response in us than others. ((I’m a big fan of Gary’s blog and any item whose title so felicitously combines “travel” and “80’s music” references engenders an almost irresistible, Pavlov-quick click-through from me.))
He looked at two which are among my own sentimental favorites: The Park Hyatt Tokyo and the Fairmont San Francisco. I’ve noticed that, even though the staff of great hotels like these may change over the years, an essence endures. People can identify it and, often times, identify with it. Something more than just institutional memory, it seems like what the Romans called the genius loci — the spirit of a place.
Hotels, stadiums, stores, neighborhoods, cities, even whole countries can have it. The spirit of certain places — and the people we meet there — captures our attention. It can stir our imaginations. It can make us feel a sense of belonging. After a time, you begin to feel that you know it in the comfortable, familiar way that you know an old friend.
Finding these places is why I love getting on airplanes.