You probably know the hotels: Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, Le Bristol Paris, Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Château Saint-Martin & Spa and Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France. Family-owned and managed, the group has been trading for three years under the owner name of Oetker Collection, part of the namesake 8 billion-a-year food products empire. With new openings in 2012 and plans for growth, hotel CEO Frank Marrenbach gave Elite Traveler Editor-in-Chief Douglas Gollan an overview during the International Luxury Travel Mart in Cannes, France.
ET: How does Oetker Collection differ from other luxury groups?
Frank Marrenbach: We are privately held. We don’t have to speak to the stock exchanges. We manage but we also own or co-own. It makes a difference.
ET: How would you describe the collection?
Frank Marrenbach: If you want to see the Mona Lisa you have to go to the Louvre. Each of our hotels has its own soul. It’s the same concept. In nature pearls are all different but when you put them together they are perfect.
ET: What were the highlights for 2012?
Frank Marrenbach: We opened Palais Namaskar in Marrakech in April. It’s already won four major awards including Harper’s Bazaar’s Best Hotel in the World. It’s not so much a new hotel but a new destination.
ET: What about 2013?
Frank Marrenbach: L’Apogée will open in December 2013 in Jardin Alpin in Courchevel. It will have 55 keys, one penthouse, one chalet and 33 junior suites. It’s ski in, ski out and we have our own private lift. There’s a full spa and indoor pool.
ET: Are there more growth plans?
Frank Marrenbach: There will be more good news. We see 15 hotels by 2020. Europe, the Middle East, East Coast US. We want rarity. We don’t want to be on every corner. It’s no secret we are looking at Istanbul, London and New York. We are hoping for Abu Dhabi to open by 2013.
ET: Do you have any feelings on how large a luxury hotel can be?
Frank Marrenbach: We think 150 to 200 rooms and that’s it.
ET: Are the hotels a for-profit business or a hobby?
Frank Marrenbach: Every single entity has to makes its earnings. It’s a passion but not a hobby.