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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!