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Unconventional thinkers on the move

ITB Hospitality Day: Keynote with Design Hotels, CEO Panel on Boutique

Design Hotel Skube Paris  
Retro-future hotel in Paris Montmartre: Design Hotel Kube
and its characteristic plexiglas cubes.


Berlin (February 15, 2013). "For the first time, travellers found more than a place to sleep," sums up Claus Sendlinger, founder and CEO of the globally unique consortium of Design Hotels, which was founded exactly 20 years ago. The development of this group made him a pioneer in the international hotel industry. Today, he asserts: "Neighbourhoods are the new cities!" Sendlinger will hold a keynote speech about this subject at ITB Berlin 2013. By chance, this year´s "CEO Panel" is comprised of two additional "Design Hoteliers": Christoph Hoffmann of 25hours Hotels based in Hamburg and Loh Lik Peng of the Unister Collection from Singapore. Both have built up unconventional boutique hotel groups – and will exchange with each other on the ITB stage regarding the same and dissimilar conditions in Asia and Europe.

The Keynote by Claus Sendlinger as well as the appearance of both boutique hoteliers fits under the motto "Young" that stretches like a red thread through this year's ITB Hotel Conference.

In 1984, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell set off a great boom of designer hotels that would change the industry completely. "When the brand of Design Hotels was founded 20 years ago, we had the vision and were convinced that design would become an essential part of hotels, and that design-oriented hotels would become a real alternative for travellers" says Claus Sendlinger. "In 1993, when we started as a marketing business for modern hotels, we represented a small group of ten unique member hotels, among them was another hotel designed by Andrée Putman, the Hotel im Wasserturm in Cologne."

Sendlinger Claus  
Claus Sendlinger, Design Hotels.


Due to the inflation of design hotels in the market the consortium has changed its definition of Design Hotels over the years. "Instead of looking only for aesthetics, we put great emphasis on the entire concept from the beginning: the quality of the equipment, the love for detail, the architecture, the hotel's integration in its environment, and the networking with the neighbourhood, and especially the personae behind the hotels – the idea and the spirit connecting everything." Claus Sendlinger will explain the key word neighbourhood in his keynote indicating that Design Hotels defines hotels as places for locals, like-minded people, artists, creative minds, and meeting points with visitors from all over the world. This is why Sendlinger claims "Neighbourhoods are the new cities." There, the guests have access to the world's most creative backstreets..."

More about the "Hotels of Tomorrow. The Neighbourhood Principle" on Thursday, March 7, 10.30-11 a.m., hall 7.1b/Auditorium London.

Small boutique hotels: Survival through creativity

  Hoffmann Christoph
  Christoph Hoffmann,
The 25hours Hotel

Two hoteliers who see themselves in the CEO Panel for the first time will tackle the bridge between Asia and Europe even though they have implemented similar ideas: The German, Christoph Hoffmann, from Hamburg who has placed witty-coloured hotel accents with the 25hours Hotel Company in the German-speaking realm as well as Loh Lik Peng who, in dilapidated walls, created his first "wow" hotel in Singapore and thus laid the cornerstone of the Unister Collection. Today, he has united six individual, funky-shrill hotels and six restaurants and not only in Singapore, but also in Shanghai and London. And Loh Lik Peng quite happily wants to expand in Europe, he reveals in advance. Whether he is able to predict which mentality differences will reveal themselves to him in Paris, Berlin and Rome?

Christoph Hoffmann wants to coax out from his Asian colleague how he manages to find his target audience and whether they truly have a similar guest structure. And the entire audience will certainly be interested in how one can exist as a small boutique hotel chain next to the chain giants in the hard, international competition of today …

Peng Loh Lik  
Loh Lik Peng, Unister


Christoph Hoffmann is, by the way, a "trained hotelier", Loh Lik Peng is an absolute newcomer – he was previously a litigation attorney. The classic hotel industry was too dull to each of them, both developed into two unconventional thinkers and today, both are newly defining overnight stays …

To see and hear, both will be at ITB Thursday from 14:45 to 15:45 in Hall 7.1b/ London Room under the title: "CEO Panel: The Secret of Boutique – Young CEOs discuss young hotels in Asia and Europe". The moderation will be taken over by Maria Puetz-Willems, Editor in Chief from

For the 8th time, hospitalityInside is the exclusive media partner of the ITB Hospitality Day and will also report on these two panels later on their website (always to be found under the "Network" button). The complete programme for the ITB Hospitality Day 2013 can be found under this link. / kn


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