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 wanted 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.
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.
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!