I have to admit it, Andres Araya, Managing Director of Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, Spain has done it again – he has surprised and awed me! I would never had envisaged the transformation of the spacious, beautiful yet spartan twelfth century church of Santa Maria de Retuerta Abbey into a casual lounge space which almost felt cosy and intimate in contrast.
This was the setting for the recent seminal Culinary Conclave, organised by LeDomaine and presided over by legendary chef, Ferran Adria alongside his former colleague and protégée, LeDomaine’s culinary director, Andoni Luis Aduriz, two Michelin starred chef of Mugaritz. The first event for the elBulli Foundation, a circular seating area of settees and leather armchairs for 22 invited guests – experts in the field of gastronomy, was devised to put people at their ease and to prompt and encourage debate and conversation.
The seating area was encircled by six foot high screens which doubled as timelines talking about the history of gastronomy from the ancient to the modern day, all placed upon an oval carpet which seemed to have been custom made to sit in this ancient church. (Knowing Andres, it might have been!) Occasional tables held coffees or water, served by discreet waiting staff whilst to the rear, hot drinks, nibbles and soft drinks were available for private grazing for those who needed to stretch their legs. To aid better understanding between members of the visiting Conclave, two simultaneous translators worked together in booths hidden behind the screens. Presentations were made by DVD or laptop access – and believe it or not, we all had great wifi connections which allowed us social media commentators to create sufficient awareness to “trend on twitter”.
Breakouts served in the Cloisters, wine tasting in the ancient cellars, jazz and cocktails in the lounge, casual fare in Vinoteca and formal dinners in the old Refectorio – all served to highlight the services of this 700-hectare award-winning wine-estate on the River Duero, a two hour drive from Spain’s capital Madrid but only 45 minutes from the former one, Valladolid.
I love it when a client of mine just springs a surprise on me, their own PR – I would never have envisaged this set up in a hundred years – it felt like I was on a film set. Awesome job by the team at LeDomaine – consummate professionals all. Bravo.
Contributor: Sue Lowry – photographs: LeDomaine
Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine is a client of Magellan PR. Follow them on twitter: @LeDomaineHotel and on Facebook/Abadiaretuertaledomaine.
Magellan PR is on twitter: @MagellanPR / on Facebook: MagellanPR / on Pinterest: Sue Lowry / on Google+: Sue Lowry & MagellanPR and on Flickr: Sue Lowry. For more information on our company, visit www.magellan-pr.com. Follow our other blog focussing on travel in the South of England – A3 Traveller.