With its vinyl record collections, rooftop saunas, lobby robots, concept stores and soon-to-open drive-in desert cinema, 25 Hours Hotels is a brand that is determined to do things its own way. Globetrender speaks with the company’s CEO, Christoph Hoffmann, about plans for expansion, why it’s important to have a sense of humour and the power of being unconventional.
German boutique chain 25 Hours Hotels launched in 2005 and now has 13 hotels in nine cities including Cologne, Hamburg, Vienna and Zurich.
What plans for expansion do you have?
Paris is our most recent opening but we are slowly conquering the world. We would like to open three to four new hotels a year – in Europe and worldwide. In 2020, we will open hotels in Florence and Dubai, and we just signed a new project in Copenhagen, which will open in 2021. London – pretty soon we are ready to leave a footprint in the British capital too.
How do you define 25 Hours as a brand?
We are a pretty unconventional brand and not easy to put in a box. We don’t like to be in a box. From the very beginning, we followed our gut feeling and created what we liked.
What sets it apart from other hotels?
Our motto is: “You know one, you know none”. That might seem awkward to someone who prefers global, uniform hotel brands because he/she knows exactly what to expect. We stand for the opposite and want to surprise and, ultimately, thrill.
A further differentiator is that we invent a story for each individual hotel, which becomes the core and main thread for its development.
For instance, the story we chose for our new project in Florence is Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, which is being given as a script to the selected interior designer who develops it further and translates it into fabrics, furniture and accessories.
We pay a lot of attention to details in the development process and always try to create something new. Thirdly, I’d say we are more daring – bold in a way – certainly always with some humour to it.
How is 25 Hours innovative?
While others focus more on the latest technology, we value deceleration and analogue products such as Polaroid cameras, typewriters and vinyl records.
I’m not a fan of following trends and while this entire coworking/coliving space trend is certainly part of the DNA of many hotel brands today (we also aim to have great communal spaces in our hotels), I see a nod toward “No-Co” happening soon, which preserves that individualistic sense of place that grand hotels give.
What is a typical guest?
There is no such typical guest and we do not target any special group of people. If our product appeals to someone, they are most certainly welcome and, thus, we have quite a widespread community.
What kind of unique facilities do you offer?
We have saunas on the roof in Hamburg and Zurich, bathtubs on balconies in Düsseldorf, a new robot in Cologne, restrooms and bedrooms with a view on to a zoo in Berlin, and soon, a drive-in cinema in the desert in Dubai.
How are the demands of Gen Z changing the way hotels are designed?
Funnily enough, we realised that we somehow respond to their needs without even having them as the focus. All the analogue gimmicks we are offering are new to them.
At the same time we anticipate that Gen Z – for whom outgoings and overnights stays still need to be affordable – might appreciate the unconventional vibes we are creating in our public spaces, bars and restaurants.
What is the typical price of an entry level room?
All hotels have different price tags. At our youngest family member, the 25 Hours Hotel Terminus Nord in Paris, you can stay from €204 per night.
How important is retail to 25 Hours?
Retail is very important to us. Each hotel has an own shop selling carefully selected items that match our brand. Partners include Canvasco, Freitag and Stop the Water. Products are all typical to the respective destination. In addition, we recently launched our own web shop at 25hours-things.com.
What can other hotel companies learn from you?
Since we started this venture we have never lost our humour. Hospitality sometimes appears to be so bumptious, stiff and blasé – I really can’t stand this attitude.