An exceptional talent in the hotel industry: Frank Marrenbach is CEO of the Oetker Collection and has been successfully managing Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden as director since 2000.The award “Hotelier of the Year 2016” is just one of many honors this Rhineland native has received over the course of his career.
In the last century, Baden-Baden was considered a “summertime Paris” and a magnet especially for French society. How international are the guests today and what does this mean for the position of managing director?
Baden-Baden is indeed still a highly international meeting place. Our guests reflect this, of course: 67 percent travel to Brenners Park-Hotel from foreign countries, most from North America, Switzerland, and the Middle East. In my role as hotelier, I view myself above all as a host who has to understand the needs of his guests. The diversity of our guests must be reflected in all areas of our work, whether regarding language or differing mentalities. My goal is to create a positive atmosphere for all hotel guests.
How is elegance, tradition, and innovation manifested at Brenners?
Brenners exudes a certain, immediate elegance that we naturally cultivate but never overdo. This is achieved through our design, the interior or works of art that we display – all originals and curated with great care. And just as important is what we refer to as “conduct elegance.” Our personnel is always courteous and accommodating toward our guests. For me, tradition is synonymous with rituals. Tradition is created by the guests, not the hotel. This can be things that they have grown to love and that they would like us to keep. Innovation is manifested, for example, in our “digital detox” concept in Villa Stéphanie: In all rooms and suites, guests have the option of pressing a button on their nightstands that disconnects the entire room from electricity and Wi-Fi for a deeply restful and refreshing sleep. We don’t impose any fixed schedules on the guests, which may be easier for us to organize but inconvenient for them. In our Salon Lichtental, for example, guests can take their breakfast whenever they please.
What makes Villa Stéphanie so special as a spa?
The 15 double rooms and suites perfectly embody the unique, timeless atmosphere of the villa. We want a stay at the villa to be a very special experience for the guest: In addition to the impressive building itself, there are little touches, such as music selected for the guest in the entrance area, the relaxing view of the beautiful park grounds from the room windows, and nutritional concepts. Then there is the exclusive spa area, which is equipped with everything a guest could need for relaxation. My personal tip: In the villa’s garden, there is a bench beneath each of the 4 trees. Choose one, have a seat, and enjoy the wonderful view of the Black Forest.
What words describe the charm of the grand hotel Brenners best?
Most important for me is the friendliness and “heart” of our employees. Guests may not necessarily remember the exclusive interior design or culinary experiences. But they do mostly remember the people – their subtlety and sensitivity.
How does it feel to be awarded the title “Hotelier of the Year 2016”?
I’ve been in this line of work for 30 years now – and it fascinates me just as much as it did when I started. I always wanted a career in which I could interact with great people. My job is just incredibly diverse: As hotelier, I am not only a host but also strongly involved in architecture, marketing, and PR. It’s all very exciting. No routine here!