Despite being on opposite sides of America, German-born Californian Jens von Gierke and New Yorker Michael Barry came together to collaborate on a shared labor of love. The result is a manifestation of their passion and drive to put a serene slice of the Californian coast on display for all to see, while embracing individuality and quirkiness in the name of total authenticity, Californian-style.
Michael Barry: I stayed at an interesting Riad in the medina of Marrakech, down a little thousand-year-old alley. There were donkeys pulling carts, street vendors, and from this unkempt little alley, you come into this amazing courtyard full of flowers, with birds chirping and a water fountain babbling away. This authenticity is something that sticks in my mind and I wanted to recreate that feeling with Timber Cove. If I was to use one word to describe Timber Cove, it would be “unique”. One can’t recreate that experience anywhere else and that’s what travel and hospitality should be about.
MB: Well, I think everyone wishes that they bought Apple in the 1980s or Amazon in the 1990s!
Jens von Gierke: I wish I had known how hard it can be to work with officials to get things done in hospitality. I’ve had many projects in many different destinations, and everything can be going smoothly—the investors believe in you, the concept fits, et cetera—and then an official with a different idea puts you back to square one.
JVG: For me, it’s Chip Conley. He’s one of those people in the hospitality industry who just gets it right all the time. And he’s always on top of what’s next. I’ve learned a lot from him.
MB: People who can think outside of the box. Like Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and figures who just approached things from an angle that nobody had thought of before. With Timber Cove, we try to think outside the box by embracing individuality and quirkiness. Everyone has a different idea of their perfect stay, and we strive to make it a reality for them.
JVG: I always traveled a lot when I was a teenager, exploring cultures and countries in Europe. During one of the trips, in Lichtenstein, I got to know the owners of the hotel I was staying at, and they inspired me to work in hospitality, which brought me first into the kitchen.
MB: I’ve been a developer for many years in the New York metro region. When Timber Cove first came up, I had little desire to redevelop a standalone hotel on the other side of the country, but Jens said, “Just come out here for a weekend and see it”. I went out and fell in love with the property.
JVG: Michael… move to California!