Hotelier with Heart and Soul, 25hours a Day
He lives and breathes hotels – and has done for as long as he can remember. After graduating from school, Christoph Hoffmann and his best friend hop into a Ford Fiesta and head straight for the south of France. Arriving in Èze, they take a seat in a small pizzeria overlooking the town and the sea and start making plans.
“What could be better than running a hotel here?”, they think. It’s normal to have big ideas at that age. But many end up driving taxis after trips like theirs – and speak endlessly of missed opportunities and faded dreams. But that’s not an option for Christoph. He wants more. Not one to bemoan his fate, he prefers to get stuck in.
Christoph was born in Saarland, grew up in Swabia, graduated as a travel agent in Stuttgart and learned the trade at establishments like the legendary American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem. He generally works and climbs the career ladder in luxury hotels, for instance the ritzy Louis C. Jacob in Hamburg-Blankenese, where he is appointed deputy director. But he hands in his notice in 2002 to establish a hotel in Frankfurt for his later partner, Ardi Goldman. Although the project doesn’t get off the ground, it instils in Christoph the belief that his days as an employee are over – he now wants to see his dreams come true.
He remembers his youthful ambition of running a small hotel in Switzerland or the south of France. He criss-crosses these countries in a tireless search for suitable properties or to meet with potential partners. And he invests time in building a network. For instance, he frequently meets with the hotelier Kai Hollmann in Hamburg. They come to realise that they share similar ideas about the hotel business. And Christoph recognises that his future will not be a small hotel in the south of France. He starts to think bigger.
He collaborates with the Event-Labs agency to establish the Fox-Hotel in Copenhagen for Volkswagen. His plan: hotel specialists from throughout Europe are given free rein to put their ideas into practice. The hotel becomes a global sensation and yet another attraction in the Danish capital. For Christoph, though, his tenure there is a game-changer for another reason: among the jury members he recruits to decide on the concept pitches are Kai Hollmann, Stephan Gerhard and Ardi Goldman. It is a fateful encounter: the four of them set up a company just two weeks later. They each hold 25 percent of the shares, and Christoph is made CEO. Their first joint establishment – the 25hours Hotel Frankfurt The Goldman – opens in Frankfurt. Its approach broke the mould, even then: each room is designed by a different artist, and they publish a book presenting the hotel concept.
It is a resounding success. Christoph and his partners have since opened a whole series of hotels – and no two are alike. But all 25hours Hotels do have one thing in common: they are homes for creative minds and places that inspire big ideas. So although Christoph never got his hotel in the south of France – the whole world is now his oyster.
In UNWORDY, the restless soul speaks about past ambitions and accomplishments – as well as his plans for the future.