By Juan Moreno
Did you know that the iconic photograph of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán that appears on the thousand peso bills was taken on the balcony of one of the suites at the Nutibara Hotel?
Maybe you also don’t know that there is a tunnel that connects the hotel with the building where Residencias Nutibara once operated, that there is a gigantic lamp that is more than a hundred years old, that the golfer Camilo Villegas tried to make a hole in one from his terrace or that the diva María Félix, the writer Jorge Luis Borges, the king of soccer, Pelé, the singers Raphael, Willie Colón (his song “Especial No. 5” was composed there), Julio Iglesias and the Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez were housed in this emblematic building, that the presidential suite received Mariano Ospina Pérez, Laureano Gómez, Gustavo Rojas Pinilla and all the presidents of the National Front or that in its “Hall of Mirrors” the orchestras of Lucho Bermúdez and Pacho Galán played, even, that the The hotel itself is about to turn 80 years old and its Art Deco style design, the city’s architectural and cultural heritage, is the work of the so-called “Architect to the Stars” in Hollywood at the time, Paul Williams.
These and other robust amounts of data, as historical as they are amazing, can be found in the guided tours that are scheduled once a month, announced on the hotel’s social networks, touring the hallways, lounges and most special rooms of this eleven-story building. apartments, which preserves its stateliness and class despite the inexorable vicissitudes of time. It is even introducing nighttime architectural lights that highlight it above the other buildings in the center.
These tours, which have no cost, but do have a voluntary contribution, are part of a recovery package that has emerged from the hotel itself and has been led by its manager for a year, Andrés Angarita. “It is a innovative commitment because at Nutibara we know that the hotel competition in the center is strong, due to its modern offering. But we have history and tradition as the main attractions. The largest parties and social gatherings of much of the second half of the last century were held here. It was not unusual to attend events that hosted up to three thousand people in their facilities,” he says.
Today the hotel works with 126 rooms of the 150 that were available in its heyday. “I say that this is not an old hotel but an old one, they are two different terms. Through the cultural offering in which the stories and experiences of the building and the people who have passed through here from the political, cultural, artistic and sporting fields are told (the Hotel Nutibara sponsored the Atlético Nacional shirt in the early 80s , times of Don Hernán Botero).
Three pillars in the new cultural offer
Among the plans to turn the Nutibara into a cultural center for the center, there is, of course, one that made it famous: ballroom dancing, which was famous in the 40s, 50s and 60s. They have already done seven of these dances, one per month, with a resounding success thanks to the big band “El Sueño del Maestro”, which brings together the best of the music of stars such as Lucho Bermúdez and Pacho Galán. Since October, the idea is that these dances will be held weekly, every Saturday, at the Nutibara Express, formerly Nutibara Residences.
Also, a theater group is being assembled, led by the remembered actor Dayro Ospina, famous for the program “La Grúa” on Teleantioquia in the 90s. “The idea is to have a very traditional offering, with works that highlight the Antioqueñidad, which locals and tourists learn more about the culture of our region, how we live and speak in the countryside, what traditions we had, etc. For October we will have an offer with this theme. We will also have San Alejo awnings, the second week of each month, here at the hotel,” says Andrés Angarita.
The idea is to thus support the cultural offering of commune 10 and attract visitors not only during the center’s business hours, but also on weekends, which is when it is clearest and thus leave the stigma and prevention with the public spaces of area. These offers can be found on the hotel’s social networks and in guests’ own reservations.
For the second week of October, a cafe is planned to open on the hotel’s emblematic terrace. “It will be a safe space within the center, with very good quality coffees, cocktails, fine pastries, pizzas, panzerottis, calzonis, live music, in short, a worthy place, a space that is given back to the city in the heart of the city.” of Medellín, with torches, with flags of the countries that visit us the most, a welcoming place that helps change the image and stigma that the center has,” says Angarita.
La Fonda Colombia works as a bar, like the wine cellar, for those who like to stay out late. What is intended is for the hotel and the center to recover that image of the best place in the city, as in the great capitals of the world, where people go and find themselves in the center, in their historical sites and walk through them calmly, because perception and stigmas are other pending issues for the municipal administration that is on the way. Only in this way will these private initiatives be successful.
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