Comfort in the stylish atmosphere of the Roomers Hotels
BY ANJA FAHS
(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 4 2017)
A gigantic golden chimney catches your eye as soon as you step foot into the lobby of the recently opened Roomers Hotel in Munich. The atmosphere is modern and cosy at the same time, like a chic, large living room. The design and lifestyle hotel was opened in time for this year’s Oktoberfest, not from the Theresienwiese. The hotel is the Gekko Group’s third Roomers by Micky Rosen and Alex Urseanu. The two visionaries from Frankfurt celebrate indulgence and the quality of life, which immediately becomes apparent in the first Roomers Hotel in the banking metropolis, a luxurious place seemingly made for rock stars with its dark and masculine design. The second style icon, the Roomers in Baden-Baden, was added last October. Italian levity dominates here, everything is flooded with light, and in comparison to the Frankfurt building, its design is almost puristic.
The Gekko Group opened a further hotel in Berlin in March, the opulent “Provocateur”, which brings the charm of the 1920s to life with its burlesque design. These are all places intended to fulfil the highest gastronomic demands, where the lightness of existence can be lived out. The rapidly growing portfolio of the Gekko Group from Frankfurt comprises hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, event locations and residences characterised by individuality, lifestyle and high standards of service. Micky Rosen and Alex Urseanu have significantly shaped Frankfurt’s nightlife culture with their visions since the turn of the millennium. After expanding to other cities, we asked the two entrepreneurs how they have successfully managed to help design the luxury hotel market.
Which three key words would you use to describe the new Roomers Munich?
Alex Urseanu: Seductive, sensual und quatlity.
Which design concept was implemented in the Roomers Munich? How does it fit in with the other hotels of the Gekko Group?
Micky Rosen: We wanted to create a place of inspiration and fantasy. Alongside creative design elements, which meet the requirements of our international guests, it is also a living room for the locals in Munich.
All your restaurants and hotels are very different from one another, each has its own signature. How do you decide whether a project suits you and your portfolio?
AU: All venues differ in design, due to many elements such as feeling, location, property, the point in time and the respective city. What our properties have in common, is our DNA. Heart and soul are always the authentic roots that combine a lightness of being which runs throughout the house, especially in the bar and restaurant. We have a close friendship as well as a long-term partnership with the excellent Berlin chef Duc Ngo. Together, we run “moriki” in the German bank towers in Frankfurt, and a year ago we also successfully introduced it in Baden-Baden. Since the start of the year, Duc has been successful with the Golden Phoenix restaurant at our Berlin hotel Provocateur.
MR: In Munich, we work with the IZAKAYA Asian Kitchen & Bar concept by The Entourage Group from Amsterdam, one of Amsterdam’s top restaurants. The shared dining concept offers modern Japanese cuisine with South American influences. These locations are where people meet and stories are created. Our bar concepts have already received multiple awards, the bar in Provocateur was most recently awarded hotel bar of the year 2018.
You clearly complement one another perfectly, what similarities and differences do you see in each other?
MR: Our basic views/our beliefs are the same, we both love life and have the passion to share it. Alex mesmerises people with his enthusiasm – no matter whether it’s a guest or a business partner, he quickly creates an atmosphere where you can let go and feel comfortable.
AU: Micky is an absolute aesthetician. He has an eye for design and lifestyle, which is why I would never choose a piece of furniture without him.
How did you both become trendsetters?
AU: It was never our goal to become trendsetters. Our motive was and still is to create a special kind of location for people to meet, which at the same time fulfils the highest gastronomic expectations.
MR: We’re of course delighted that it’s been received so well.
Tell us about the early days of the Gekko Group, how did you start up the company?
MR: We’ve known each other since we were teenagers and we both grew up in Frankfurt. Our first joint hotel project was the Bristol hotel in Frankfurt, a former Rema Mercure. Here, we also made a decision within minutes after making brief eye contact.
AU: Back then, there were many sceptics who doubted us. The hotel is close to the train station, which was a shady neighbourhood in Frankfurt at the time. The Bristol hotel quickly became a place to be an was known for its legendary nightcrawler parties. The Bristol Bar is still firmly established in German bar culture to this day. A year and a half later, we opened The Pure in the same neighbourhood. It became the first Member of Design hotel in Frankfurt.
What advice or which experiences would you pass on to young hoteliers and gastronomers for their careers?
AU: Good ideas are a prerequisite, but what's more important is to really do something while staying true to yourself.
MR: Your willingness to do something really well has to be much bigger than your fear of making mistakes.
Digitalisation and technology features are always buzzwords for hotels. How do you react to our digital lives with your hotel concepts?
MR: We are very technology-savvy, both in our personal lives as well as in our lifestyle hotels. The rooms at the Roomers in Munich are equipped with Bang & Olufsen speakers, iPads and an Apple TV, for example. Mobile check-in is also possible, but of course people are and always will be irreplaceable in many of our areas.
AU: In principle, technology is helpful, but it must not replace the hospitality from the people.
Looking at the various Roomers Hotels, they are always very unique buildings that enrich their location with their individuality, standing out from the competition. Who or what inspires the concepts of the buildings?
MR: A lot of our love and passion is in every Roomer. Every hotel is adapted and individually designed to its respective surroundings. Dark tones dominate the banking metropolis of Frankfurt, while bright, warm colours and plenty of light from the floor to ceiling windows are prevalent in Baden-Baden. The roof top area with its bar, pool, and view into the Black Forest is spectacular. The Roomers in Munich is a special place that closes a gap in the city. The hotel could easily be located in a metropolis such as London or Paris.
How hard is it for you to find new visions for an object each time, and what inspires you personally?
AU: We travel internationally and observe developments. New ideas and inspirations comes from everywhere. We implement what we like and optimise what already exists.
Are there currently already new plans for the Gekko Group? Are you still expanding or is consolidation the first item on the agenda after the Roomers in Munich?
MR: We’ve had various offers which we are currently looking into. Next up, we’re planning a project with 130 rooms in Frankfurt.
Will a Roomers ever open overseas?
AU: If it’s the right object and location then we’re on board.
What’s your personal favourite hotel in the world, apart from your own?
MR: We both have the same favourite hotel, the “Hôtel Costes” in Paris.
MICKY ROSEN AND ALEX URSEANU
Micky Rosen and Alex Urseanu grew up in Frankfurt and have known each other since they were teenagers. They both have a background in hotel business and worked in various hotels in Germany and overseas before founding the Gekko Group together. They don’t see themselves as classic hoteliers, but rather as all-round hosts.
Picture credit © Noshe / Gekko Group