Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A hotel and a love story

Navegant des de 1969 or in navigation since 1969. That is what is printed on leaflets and cards from La Santa Maria hotel. It refers to its name, the same as the vessel navigated by Christopher Columbus to the new world in 1492. But the story behind the hotel is a story of a young German woman and a young Spanish man and their determination to create a future in this beautiful beachside resort.

Very rarely you get to know the owners, when checking into a hotel. You are met by receptionists, and the founder will stay discreetly in the background and enjoy the fruits of their once hard labour. The best hotels are, in my mind, those where the owners take part in the daily management of the hotel. The family run hotels have more character as the proprietors leave their distinct personal mark often providing a higher level service to the visiting guests than ordinary chain hotels.

Last year I saw a woman behind the counter at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Little did I know then, that she was the owner of the hotel. I do respect management this way, showing the staff around that we all are in the same boat - La Santa Maria.

When telling her on my work, she was eager to read what I had written last year, and she told the story of the hotel - and I told her that I just had to share it with all of you visiting Enjoy Food & Travel.

The story of Santa Maria Hotel

Ute Voigt is a German, originally from Münich in Bavaria. In the late 1960's she worked in Sitges. Here she met Antonio Arcas Sanchez. As she did not speak properly Spanish, and he did not speak German, they both talked French to each other. They married and decided to find a house to start a hotel.

They looked at different buildings outside Sitges, but decided that the future would be on the beach. In 1969 they bought their first beach side building, and they expanded the hotel as they took over four different buildings and turned them into one hotel. They ran the hotel together until she lost her husband three years ago, but she is still going strong as the captain on board La Santa Maria.

More on La Santa Maria Hotel

See review of the hotel Santa Maria 2009 here on Enjoy Food & Travel

See review of the hotel Santa Maria 2008 here on Enjoy Food & Travel

See review of Santa Maria Restaurant here

More on Sitges

See article with map on what to do in Sitges here on Enjoy Food & Travel

1 comment:

John said...

We've stayed at the La Santa Maria (and its sister hotel La Pinta) five times out of the last six years and seen many of the same people coming back year after year. That should speak for itself. Ute is indeed a most gracious hotel owner.

Thanks, Tor, for yet another good read!