Casinos in cinema

Casinos in cinema

by Laura Martínez

Gambling and money have always been attractive elements in so many movie blockbusters. From thrillers to unforgettable love stories, casinos, neon lights, gambling, and the adventures that come with them, are staple classics of the 7th art.

I’m sure you remember ‘Rain Man’ (Barry Levinson, 1988) where a young Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, two orphan brothers that have nothing but each other. Charlie and Raymond are complete opposites, and they constantly clash; Charlie has a hard time communicating with Raymond, who suffers from autism, but after a night of big winnings at a casino in Vegas, this drastically improves, thanks to Raymond’s ease at scoring at the game.

It was in ’95 when Scorsese’s ‘Casino’ really introduced the game to the big screen. Set in the fabulous 70s led by a stellar cast (Sharon Stone, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci) The movie follows Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a professional gambler and owner of one of the most important casinos in Las Vegas, – that surprise, surprise – is involved with the mafia. Sharon Stone was awarded a Golden Globe for best actress of the year, for her role as Ginger McKenna.
Clive Owen embodied an aspiring writer turned croupier in ‘Croupier’ (Mike Hodges, 1998) His dire economic situation provokes him to get entangled with a female colleague who leads him down the destructive side of gambling.

One of the most turbulent love stories set in a casino film, took place in ‘Indecent Proposal’ (1993) directed by Adrian Lyne, tells the story of a young couple, Diana y David (Demi Moore y Woody Harrelson) who are looking for a quick way to fix their money struggles. 

Their desperation takes them to a casino in Las Vegas where they start with a lucky streak, but they decide to keep playing… We all know that if you’re too greedy you end up with nothing.

However, they manage to get ‘lucky’? When an attractive millionaire (Robert Redford) offers them one million dollars if Diana accepts to spend the night with him. The rest is history and lots of tears.

We can’t forget the exhilarating ‘21 Black Jack’ (2008) where a university professor (Kevin Spacey) decides to make some extra cash with the help of his best math class students and teach them how to count cards to cheat at Black Jack, and get rich from it. The group of students in question, are Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth y Aaron Yo. Led by Spacey, they walk around every casino in Las Vegas, filling their pockets, taking on multiple roles and identities.

And to finish off, it couldn’t be any other way, we must mention the James Bond saga (as far as contemporary James Bond movies go, played by Daniel Craig) ‘Casino Royale’ (Martin Campbell, 2006) shows the British agent, this time on a mission to dismantle and detain a terrorist organization, he risks everything in a poker game against the head honcho, Le Chiffre.

Clearly, the plot twists in casino narratives are endless and haven’t been completely explored yet… at Concept, we dream of having our own casino and live new adventures in it. Who knows, maybe one day.

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Stories Magazine 2022

Stories Magazine

B.B King’s classic heralds the 4th edition of STORIES, packed with the building blocks of Concept Hotel Group’s DNA: art, design, film, fashion and music. These elements fire our collective imagination and enable us to create our lifestyle concept.

2022 is going to be a special year for many reasons, among them the fact that we are celebrating our anniversary. It’s been ten years since my friend Tallyn Planells and myself founded this unique and distinct hotel group, which now has seven hotels in Ibiza. With the same anticipation that we’ve had since day one, and the desire to continue growing, we’ve added another friend to the equation, Marc Rahola, with whom we share a very similar philosophy. Together, we are preparing more surprises for the island, and we are also working on making the leap to major European cities with our urban brand MITICO.

The opening of our 7th hotel, GRAND PARADISO, is another cause for celebration. It’s dedicated to audiovisual art and contains many groundbreaking elements that we hope you will enjoy as much as we did when we created them. Each corner is decked out in classic Art-Deco, making you feel like you are in a Baz Luhrmann movie. Even though digital magazines are ever more popular, we’ve decided to maintain STORIES as a printed magazine because we love everything that can be touched and smelt. It doesn’t contain advertisements and has nothing to do with the typical corporate magazine. It’s just dedicated to stuff that awakens our passion. I hope, and desire, that you enjoy it with a Margarita in hand.

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Expo Mats Bäcker

Expo Mats Bäcker

If we’re talking about a photographer that defined the rock scene of the 60s and 70s, we must mention Mats Bäcker (Hagfors, Sweden 1958) Icons of yesterday and today have been captured by his lens: Mick Jagger, Grace Jones, Bono, Marianne Faithfull, David Bowie, Joe Strummer, Iggy Pop and a long etcetera of immortalized artists in his signature black and white style.

At the end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s, the Punk wave surged through Europe and Scandinavians were the first ones to ride it. Bands traveled there before getting established, moved by those aggressive sounds and fashion. Mats Bäcker was there to capture all of it and became a house name in the Scandinavian scene. He was the first to photograph the band The Jam at their first gig outside of the United Kingdom.

His work, mainly influenced by journalism photography, looks for the sensuality and that casual coolness apparent in rockstars, in a timeless black and white, that exudes power and character. Every photograph has a story behind it, meaning that Bäcker is the omniscient narrator in each of them, telling us about the singular adventures that lead up to the meeting with the protagonists of the stills.

The photographs – and the stories – of this unprecedented artist, arrive on Wednesday 11 of May at our most Classic Rock hotel: Dorado. The Swedish photographer will host an exhibition together with Mondo Galería which will be on display until the 11th of June. Mark this date on your calendar, because you have a date with Mats Bäcker and rock history.

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Swing yo hips

The end of the roaring 20s was approaching and in the US, a new form of expression through movement was emerging. A new way of letting loose, to the sounds of modern variants of jazz music. The most notorious of these variants, and the closest to rock’n’roll at that time was Swing. It revolutionized dance floors, exploding into the decade of the 30s, with its devilish rythms and booming drums, piano, guitars and trumpets.

New Orleans, 1930. Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith led what was coined as ‘Jazz Swing’, the popular American music form that was blasted in Storyville, the place to be and be seen for all those looking for a mighty good time. It was a sort of sinners Club where everything that was regarded as inappropriate by society took place. Where whites and people of color defied cultural barriers, where ground breaking music forms were born for the enjoyment of the euphoric crowds.

Storyville was an oasis in the midst of a society completely divided by racial conflict, a place where you could forget about your problems with a swing of the hip.
Swing broke all the rules applied to multi-instrumental music and it became a dance with a great many variants. An updated version Charleston in the 20s, that started with Lindy Hop, a more informal and unfussed way of couple dancing, that emerged from the streets of Harlem.


The fast pace and agile movements – apart from having an innate rhythm – are basic requirements for dancers who take a brave shot at this discipline.

Becomming the most popular dance style until the 50s, that you’ll be able to learn in pure American style at our temple for Lovers & Sinners: Romeo’s Motel & Diner. Ladies, get out your full skirts and dresses out, and Gentlemen, roll up your sleeves because you’re going to boogie harder than Little Richard in a ‘Lucille’ performance. Swing is meant to be danced with a partner, so go find yourself one… Let’s shake those hips!

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