25hours blog

around the world - part II

an interview with christoph hoffmann & bruno marti

He’s known as the in­house hotel nomad: Globetrotting is Christoph Hoffmann’s calling. As CEO of the 25hours Hotel chain, Hoffmann develops new products for daydreamers and night owls – and everyone looking for something different in the uniformly gray urban jungle. Bruno Marti is 25hours’ all­seeing Chief Brand Officer, and has unquestionably earned his nickname of the brand sheriff. In our interview with the two, they tell us what impresses them most as travelers out and about in the world, rather than hoteliers.


COMPANION: Which city makes you wake up early?

  • Christoph Hoffmann: Without a doubt, New York. The jet lag when you’ve just arrived helps. There’s no other city in the world that wakes you up so beautifully.
  • Bruno Marti: In New York I often stroll through the streets in the early morning. Of course, that’s mainly because of the jet lag, but there’s something mystical about the unusual calm of the city.


And which city makes you want to stay up until the break of dawn?

  • CH: I don’t know any city that can keep me going until dawn. At some point the fun’s over.
  • BM: Hm, that hasn’t happened for a while. Am I getting old?


What is your favorite way to explore a city?

  • CH: First, with a good bicycle – it’s a great way to quickly get an overview. But after that, by foot. And last but not least, I can’t go home without immersing myself in a local newspaper with an espresso or a glass of wine in a locals’ café. If I can’t understand the language, then I just look at the pictures. They give me insight into the city, its people, and their tone.
  • BM: By bike, no doubt about it. I have three different ones at home for different purposes and moods. When I’m traveling, I always get excited when the rental bikes have a basket for spontaneous purchases.


If you could bump into anyone in the lobby, who would it be?

  • CH: Isadore Sharp, the fabulous founder of the Four Seasons. But only if he had a bit of time to talk about his life and work.
  • BM: The future me. I’d have a couple of questions to ask him.


What innovation would you like to see in the future of travel?

  • CH: A “beam­me­up­Scotty” device like on the Starship Enterprise.
  • BM: What annoys me the most about many destinations is the journey from the airport into the city. Flying attempts to be glamorous and airports are engineering masterpieces – but then you step in an ancient subway or a stinky taxi. Someone needs to invent a more appropriate, quick means of transportation.


Where and when did you last consider yourself a tourist?

  • CH: I’m a self­professed tourist, anywhere and everywhere. I find it silly to pretend otherwise and to act as if you’re a local. After all, it’s nice when a city’s residents and tourists can intermingle and come together. Then you can feel at home anywhere in the world ...  
  • BM: I did a city tour on a double­decker bus in Vienna – and actually learned a lot from it.


When does a hotel make you feel as if you’re not just a guest, but actually at home?

  • CH: Whenever the hotel staff are true hosts, making me feel as though they’re delighted that I’m visiting and taking a genuine interest in me. And an open hearth with a crackling fire and a cozy atmosphere never hurts.
  • BM: When I feel I can move around as I please without an eager member of staff at my side. In reality, one might be looking after you – but they should be invisible.


In our globalized world, when was the last time you discovered something truly new?

  • CH: In Tel Aviv: free public libraries, found in the middle of the street.
  • BM: At the moment we’re planning a collaboration with Fraunhofer in order to further enhance our ability to innovate. On a tour of their labs in Stuttgart, a couple of things really surprised me. There were many clever solutions to everyday problems. These include room climates which automatically adjust to your needs, phones which can be charged without cables, and doors which open without keys. Such things delight me.


When it’s cold outside, do you escape south or jump at the prospect of winter sports?

  • CH: Preferably both. Winter in the mountains is bliss: dry air, lots of sun, and the magnificent nature. Nothing could be better. Or could it? The warm sun in the other hemisphere, embracing a traveler coming in from the drizzle? Sitting outside in the evening, listening to the waves ... I can’t decide!
  • BM: Usually, winter sports. I see no reason to flee the cold. But to be honest I’m happy if I manage to hit the slopes once or twice a year.


Where have you always wanted to go, but haven’t yet had the chance?

  • CH: I still don’t know so many places so listing the ones I’d love to discover would take too long. Argentina is at the top of my list, including Buenos Aires, and then the Andes, and especially Patagonia.
  • BM: Japan is at the top of my wish list. Tokyo is probably one of the most innovative cities in the world, technologically advanced and culturally fascinating. We’ll see whether I get the chance in 2016.

article details

date 05.02.2016
author Stephanie Rebonati & Leonie Haenchen - Freunde von Freunden
pictures Sven Hoffmann
Sven Hoffmann Photography
tags freundevonfreunden, interview, travel, aroundtheworld, marti, hoffmann

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