Melia Hotels International and the architect Alvaro Sans intend to highlight the area’s cultural values through the creation of experiences.
Melia Hotels International strives to create the best experiences for its clients, one of its aims being to integrate its properties in their surroundings and to promote the destinations’ culture and traditions. Both goals combine perfectly in Sancti Petri’s newly opened interpretation centre project, called the ‘Discovery Centre’, which the renowned architect Alvaro Sans has created in a new space within the hotel.
A spiral staircase leads hotel guests and visitors with an interest in history and culture to the ‘Discovery Centre’, comprising a thematic library with books on the area, a series of itinerant art and photographic exhibitions, and, as the main attraction, the mythological history that narrates how the existing Castle of Sancti Petri is edified on the remains of the Temple of Hercules, on an island going by the same name. On top of its Phoenician ruins, the Christians built the lighthouse and Castle of Sancti Petri in the 13th century. It was thus called because the Apostle James wanted to eradicate the pagan cult of the ancient temple and consecrate the place in honour of St Peter. Later on, in the 20th century, Manuel de Falla composed ‘Atlántida’ here.
The centre also allows visitors to get to know the history of the coast of Chiclana, from Sancti Petri to the hotel, the history of the wines and wineries of Chiclana de la Frontera, and a promotional section dedicated to the environmental protection of Barrosa Beach.
Another important section is dedicated to the Melia Sancti Petri: its history, architecture and the occult symbolism behind its forms. The property was built in 1998 thanks to the friendship between the founder and President of Melia; Gabriel Escarrer Juliá, and Ferdinand Fransen, the founder of the most important tour operator in Holland, who entrusted the architect Alvaro Sans with the job of creating what is still, 20 years on, one of the best beachfront resorts in Spain.
The Discovery Centre, which is open to the general public, constitutes together with the magnificent ALevante restaurant of the so-called ‘sea chef, Angel Leon, one of the chief attractions of this luxury resort, named the Best Southern European Resort in 2016, located on one of the most outstanding beaches in Europe.