How is the hotel influenced by and integrated into the city?
Well, the university is a big part of Göttingen’s identity, and we’ll have the Forum Wissen (Knowledge Forum) museum built next-door to the hotel in the coming years. We’ll work closely with the university, hosting events and supporting each other, particularly with the “Freiraum” room that we’ll have there. Another way the hotel is linked to its location is through the Herbarium bar, with its concept informed by The Old Botanical Garden.
How did you move into hospitality?
I started off in the hotel industry with an apprenticeship. I went through all the departments, from the kitchen to housekeeping, service, reception, everything. Then I went on to work in a few different hotels, in Munich, London, and beyond, and got my qualification at hotel school. Then in 2004, my wife and I moved to Lower Saxony and took over our first property, and in 2008 I started my business together with my partner and opened the first Freigeist hotel. Then we took over the Design Hotels™ member Hotel zum Löwen, and then a second Freigeist hotel, and now the Freigeist Hotel in Göttingen. The whole time, we had this idea in our heads of giving guests an experience that is totally different from anything they’ve had before.
Which aspect of hospitality plays to your strengths?
Food and beverage has always been my passion. I was always working in the restaurants and the bars during my first years in the industry, and it was always a big part of my childhood growing up on the German side of the Austrian border, near Salzburg. I spent most of my summers in the South of France, going to farmers’ markets and cooking. At our Freigeist hotels, we aim for fine dining quality but with a relaxed, friendly style and service. We want people to have fun staying with us.
What inspires you?
I’ve traveled the world, and I’ve stayed at great hotels and been to amazing bars and restaurants. I’ve seen creativity in action. And hopefully I’m helping to change Göttingen, Northeim, and Einbeck into standalone destinations worth visiting.