Archive for the ‘FUTURE OF HOSPITALITY’ Category

Issue No 2.

Courage is something for those who worry.
Christoph Strenger, Design Hotel East, Hamburg.

Design Hotel East

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.

Cinius, Mozer, Strenger at East Hotel

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.

East Design Hotel, Cinema

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.

East Design Hotel

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.

East Design Hotel, Lobby

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.

East Design Hotel, Lounge

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.

MORE ARTICLES „The future of hospitality“:
Interview with Claus Sendlinger, CEO Design Hotels
The series kicks off


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First Issue


Claus Sendlinger about the future of hotels as happening places, the creative generation of hoteliers and his very personal vision for what is next in hospitality.

Claus Sendlinger, Design Hotels

It is 11 o’clock in the morning and old barges pass the Spree River while I am jiggling on my design chair in Design Hotels‘ headquarter loft. In a moment I will meet my PERSONAL BRAND GURU: Claus Sendlinger, the head and founder of Design Hotels whom I always wanted to get to know just to get trailed away in his visions for one of my favorite topics: the future of hospitality.

Two hours later I leave his office, feeling like a travellette having done one of her best trips ever being accompanied by one of the most creative entrepreneurs.

Before I met Claus Sendlinger in person, I touched the spirit of Design Hotels twice. One was somewhat disappointing, the other pretty inspiring. In case you should not know, Design Hotels™ is an international lifestyle brand that curates a collection of member hotels, which are very carefully selected. Last year 400 hotels did apply, 25 made it under the umbrella of the brand. All of those have an asset. And this is NOT JUST DESIGN. According to Claus Sendlinger design is no competitive advantage anymore it is a minimum requirement.“ What made those hotels great enough to be supported by Design Hotels are the creative entrepreneurs behind them. The hoteliers.

Made by Originials, Design Hotels

Design Hotels is scanning the hospitality world for the most creative, passionate and authentic minds“. They kind of look for hoteliers who love to admit: „at the end of the day we are all crazy“ (quote Emanuele Garosci in „made by originals“). And craziness means to live for the creation of “touching” spaces and services. Hospitality experiences that evoke your very personal potential, scooping the power of the country you are in.

Claus Sendlinger is the pulse maker of this spirit. He is niche and a global brand rolled into one. In his 20ies he rocked the Air Force’s PR department, travelled the world in between, engaged in PR for the nightlife scene, bought a travel agency with 23, led it to success with three of his homies and a charming old lady and was always ON TOP OF THE TECHNO AND SNOWBOARD CROWD.

Later he brought nightlife and travelling on a whole new level by organizing raves in ski areas and providing brands with parties that would always differentiate by design. With the openings of the one of the first design hotels in Paramount, Claus Sendlinger would become even more connected with the mover and shaker of the design scene and 1987 finally decided to launch a creative travel agency: COORDINATES, which six years later, would turn into Design Hotels™.  Soon the agency represented some of the coolest hotels in NYC, L.A., Paris and London. Do I need to say that their owners were mostly creatives out of the music and design scene?…

Here we go: We are facing a creative entrepreneur at its best. So I took my chance, put on my creative classy glasses and went to interview Claus Sendlinger about the future of hotels as happening places, how his company creates touch points for creative class people and about his personal idea of WHAT IS NEXT. Enjoy!

Design Hotels, Claus Sendlinger


Claus, travelling means to me, „finding new triggers for different experiences“. What is your target group, the „global nomad“ seeking?
Since taste has become so diverse, staying in a hotel is more about „MOMENTS“ than about a design experience or a location. There is no „my favorite hotel“ but „my favorite moment“ which happens in very different ways in very different hotels. The more intellectual and forward thinking someone is, the more he has a mind of his own. Don‘t try to heavily convince him of your hotel. Those people want to discover or maybe stay at a friend‘s place. They don‘t want to be tourists but participants in a global world.

What do you think your guests of choice expect from today‘ hotels?
Today forward thinking people expect more from the creative product than just the hardware, the aesthetic room. You easily eat one‘s fill with design and creative class people are swift to leave anyway. They are always looking for the upcoming COUNTER CULTURE of an actual movement.

Design Hotels, inside Claus Sendlinger's office


I love hotels for their potential to hook me up with pulsating people. How does Design Hotels realize this potential?
We sometimes challenge our hoteliers by asking: „Do you build your hotel for the transient passenger or for the locals? And where do you draw the demarcation line? Is it in the lobby? At the spa or at the restaurant? Is this a house or a happening place?“
The answer always depends of the very specific setting of a hotel. It is about the property and the district and the design. The later is always the catalyzer and the architecture needs to embody the hotel‘s soul.

Tell me, where is this successfully happening?
Hmmm….the Roomers in Frankfurt is such a place. The two hoteliers Micki and Alex are the local chiefs when it comes to party. They do amazing parties in their own hotels and the guests draw the guests.

Design Hotels, ROOMERS

What do you think of the idea that hotels become modern saloons?
Once upon a time, the Grand Hotels’ teatime was the DJ of the 19th century. Guests would define themselves by the hotels they lived in. The aristocratic class would not travel the world but the hotels. YOU WERE WHERE YOU SLEEP. Then mass tourism and hotel chains arrived.

So there is no modern translation for the old Grand Hotels?
Until now…Design Hotels is establishing the modern version of those old saloons. Just now, we are planning, in co-operation with TheCrane.tv, worldwide „CONVERSATIONS“ where we invite experts and celebs out of design, art, architecture and fashion as well as entrepreneurs and selected media. Thereby we focus on millennials between 25 and 32, people like you.

Besides those events, how do you get cool locals wowing for Design Hotels?
It is definitively not the event. It needs to happen organically. People should love to meet here because they like the atmosphere, the people, the place.  That is how it happens in hotels everywhere in the world.
Design Hotels plans something like that in Berlin. At different locations with different concepts. We think about an open door concept including an aesthetic powerful space where you can work and talk…

Design Hotels, reception at headquarter


I consider you as a very visionary creative entrepreneur. What is in your mind, you haven‘t realized yet?
A lot…but do I want to talk about it now?
Having always been the consulting part, I would love to create my own hotel. Here in Berlin.
Beyond that I think of a completely new definition of the leisure experience or let‘s call it „CHICK SHACK”. So far, all I see is so NOT right. It does not match the real needs. All those concepts seem to just copy successfully implemented models. Nobody really tracks the zeitgeist and the change of needs and translates it in a new product.

Design Hotels, Claus Sendlinger's office

So what might this new product look like?
My topic is the aesthetic room, which doesn‘t necessarily need to be covered with buildings. Why not just cover it with plants? In my eyes all existing spaces today are way to expensive as it is far too much „SIGNATURE DESIGN“.

Design Hotels, Claus Sendlinger

What is the alternative?
Design should be defined by the atmosphere of its surroundings. The last thing an urban guy who travels the mountains needs is a Barcelona chair. He needs a walnut and an apple served on a clean wooden plate. Design should make you INHALE THE COUNTRY you are in.

Thank you Claus.

The series

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