Guest House- Onda Vicentina Bed & Breakfast. Credits: Alessandra Birtolo.
The Guest Houses, in my mind, were a type of accommodation that left me on the back foot, perhaps because they were synonymous with sharing, little privacy, and honestly, corresponded to a type of service with fewer conditions. Well… how wrong I have been all these years!
This year was a different year, not only for me, but for everyone. And the way in which we have suddenly been curtailed of our freedom has, more and more, caused a certain anguish. We no longer have the most basic right to make decisions, and we are being managed by the action of the State in a more or less clear, more or less legitimate way. It has been a year of resilience and unpredictability.
The good part is that for now, August is still, for many, a synonym of having a few days off and, for those who have the opportunity, being able to travel anywhere. This being so, this year I challenged Tiago to get to know the Vicentine Coast, as opposed to going to another paradise outside Portugal, at the risk of things changing at any time and we might get stranded (actually, this might not be so bad).
So, having decided this, we started by sketching our itinerary on a piece of paper, with all the areas we would like to visit, identifying the proper stays that varied between Hotels and Guest Houses. I admit that, I am not sure why, in my mind the Guest Houses were a type of accommodation that left me on the back foot, perhaps because they were synonymous with sharing, little privacy and, honestly, corresponded to a type of service with fewer conditions. Well… how wrong I have been all these years!
In fact, these Guest Houses are defined by a family that receives guests, with accommodation and breakfast. There are shared rooms, but also rooms with private bathrooms. It is curious to notice that, for example, in the bathrooms we go from a standardized model typical of hotels to a more personal experience, with a storage area very similar to the one we have at home for personal belongings, with drawers and support areas to accommodate all those small things we never forget. In the bedrooms, we find a traditional environment, based on blue and white tones, with notes associated with surfing and clearly focused on the importance of comfort. And this is exactly my point. For me, nowadays, a Guest House combines comfort and a sense of belonging, because as soon as we arrive in this space, just the fact of sleeping in a house with all the amenities of a normal house, of a house like “ours”, brings us back to our comfort zone.
However, outside the rooms, we are invited to feel the silence of the surroundings, an element that in hotels we often have difficulty finding in outdoor spaces. Here again I understand why I identify so much with this type of service, because in the Guest Houses I can literally escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and have the opportunity to relax without noise and in a simple swing or pool, not having people constantly passing by me and interrupting these moments that are so mine.
Of course, we could go a little deeper into this experience by talking about the wonderful pancakes and homemade yogurt that they would give us every morning, always accompanied by a big smile and a super pleasant conversation, but then we would be running away from the essence of this chronicle and distracting me from the focus of this item.
In short, I began to value this type of space because it underlines everything I have been working on daily in the field of services, both in restaurants and hotels – the feeling of feeling at home. This, in my opinion, is the secret and the basis of my work.
When we say goodbye, we can be sure that we will come back to this place, we can feel nostalgic and thankful for a memorable and unforgettable experience… and how simple it is!