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Tobias Alter
Cape Town’s Adopted Son

001 Tobias Alter
  • Words Scott McGill
  • Images Claus Brechenmacher & Reiner Baumann

With his Gorgeous George property in South Africa’s oldest city, Tobias Alter connects his guests to the art and design of the nation’s creatives.

After studying economics at the University of Vienna, Tobias Alter went into the high-octane world of property development in his home country of Germany. But it was a trip to Cape Town that pulled him further afield—both physically and into the world of hospitality. Aiming to create an inspiring gathering spot for artists and a hub for both locals and world travelers alike, Alter turned to the community of Cape Town creatives.

003 Gorgeous George Tobias Alter
002 Gorgeous George Sign
004 Gorgeous George City

“Attracting locals is a priority for me, as ultimately I want to give guests the chance to have an authentic experience.”

Tobias Alter

How do you make a personal mark on your projects?

There are lots of private objets d’art at Gorgeous George, as I built the hotel in the way that I would have liked my own house to look. So it wasn’t just another property development, but more of a passion project. I’m also a perfectionist so I was involved in all the small decisions and details throughout the process.

 

What do you want guests to take away with them?

I want to give people an authentic experience that they could share and remember. I also wanted to build a showcase for South African design by using local furniture designers and artists. Attracting locals is also a priority for me, as ultimately I want to give guests the chance to have an authentic experience without leaving their hotel. Getting to know the locals is crucial to that.

005 Gorgeous George Table
006 Gorgeous George Room
007 Gorgeous George Shower

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self today?

Take things slower. I have learned that it’s important not to spread oneself too thin by taking on too many projects at the same time. So I would tell myself to slow down, concentrate on what’s important, and then naturally the projects become more enjoyable.

 

How and why did you get into hospitality?

Well, one often goes to visit a beautiful place and then returns to one’s day-to-day life and loses touch with that place. When I came to Cape Town, I wanted to buy myself a holiday apartment, just as a getaway to keep me coming back. I wanted to make a commitment to the city—something that keeps me tied to the place—and it’s always been a dream of mine to be involved in hospitality. I didn’t really know what I was stepping into, but my passion for design and beautiful things came into play, so I developed the property from a hostel into a design-led hotel.

008A Gorgeous George Habour
008B Gorgeous George Fish
008C Gorgeous George Market
008D Gorgeous George Streets
008E Gorgeous George Cafe

What’s next for you?

Well, hospitality is a very rewarding industry. Good feedback from guests excites me. Also, starting from scratch in a new place with a different culture is just exhilarating!

009 Gorgeous George Tobias Alter
010 Gorgeous George Car

Featured Hotels

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Gorgeous George

South Africa, Cape Town

Featured Hotels

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Gorgeous George

South Africa, Cape Town
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