Issue No 2.
Courage is something for those who worry.
Christoph Strenger, Design Hotel East, Hamburg.
How does a man look who is known to be a REVOLUTIONIZER within the hotel and gastronomy industry and who won prestigious awards like the European Design Awards?
I am trying to create a picture of Christoph Strenger, while I am waiting for him in the lobby of the East, a member of Design Hotels™. I will have coffee with Christoph, who together with his partners Roland Koch and Marc Cinius, founded the East. A Hotel that gives everything to NOT TO BE RECOGNIZED AS A ONE.
5 years ago, East was build to approach hospitality from a new angle. It was created to overcome the BARRIER local people feel when thinking of a „hotel restaurant“, a „hotel spa“ or even a „hotel cinema“ offered by a hotel in their very own city. At least in Germany, you would never go for dinner in a hotel restaurant. Too artificial, too overpriced, too empty, too CLOSED-DOOR.
But the nightlife scene in Hamburg did. Party people and gourmets entered the East. Had dinner in the Asian restaurant, were fascinated by star-architect Jordan Mozer’s narrative SIGNATURE DESIGN, partied in the three bars, watched movies in the private cinema, became member in the fitness studio and danced their butt off in the member nightclub on top of the roof.
Why did this happen? Maybe because Christoph Strenger raised himself with GASTRONOMIC MILK. In his early twenties he owned his first small restaurant and today, 25 years later, he is the head of Gastro Consulting Company which leads a whole bunch of restaurants, bars and gastro chains constantly working on new projects inspired by hospitality concepts found in all parts of the world.
Delved into my thoughts, I hardly notice the man approaching me, carrying a huge parcel full of flyers. At the very last moment, just before he smilingly stretches his hand towards me, I realize IT IS NOT THE MAILMAN. It is Christoph Strenger. Maybe his natural „DOER-SHIP“ is the secret behind his success story as an entrepreneur.
Christoph Strenger certainly did never plan to revolutionize the world of hospitality. He just did it. Following his instincts and the things he loves.
At the age of 22 he took some paper and a pen and created a list of his favorite activities. At the very top: „TO SLEEP IN“, followed by nightlife and people. So he took over the Brooklyn Bar, the place he was jobbing, just to found a little bit later the first Bolero, a bar and restaurant that today has 14 sisters. Strategy? Not really, it just felt right. And the further development into chain gastronomy paired with DESIGN GEMS like Herzblut at Hamburg‘s Reeperbahn seemed just logic to him. ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS.
While I am listening to Christoph Strenger‘s way from the passionate barkeeper to the president of the Leaders Club Germany, I can‘t stop asking myself where his dauntlessness comes from. At the point we get to 9/11 which would almost BREAK his company and make his partner announcing to quit if they don‘t stop their newest project, the East, I just ask him: „Where do you get your courage from?“ An amazed impression slips over his face: „I don`t feel brave. Courage is for those who worry. I guess I just never did. All I do is to create something that I would love to have for myself.“ That is why he chose to live in the East although he could have picked every other city in the world.
Of course I am curious about his next beloved idea. And Christoph admits that time has come to do something NEW. What it will be, he does not know yet but it will come to him and he just will….do it.