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Three hoteliers to write home about by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

Behind every great small hotel, there is a great hotelier – think of Robin Hutson (The Pig hotels and Lime Wood), Tim and Kit Kemp (Firmdale Hotels) and Olga Polizzi (Hotel Tresanton and Hotel Endsleigh ), all of whom have created stylish homes-from-homes in their own unique style. So we were intrigued when our friends at Design Hotels told us about these three innovative hoteliers – two owners and one MD – who are currently making waves in Germany and Marrakech.

Korbinian Kohler, owner of Hotel Bachmair Weissach, Bavaria

Heir to the renowned Gmund paper factory, Korbinian Kohler (above right) grew up in Tegernsee. After working abroad for several years, Kohler returned to Germany with the dream of opening a hotel. He had fond childhood memories of Hotel Bachmair Weissach, the oldest guesthouse in Tegernsee. ‘When it was very cold in Tegernsee, I would spend many contented hours fireside in one of the cozy parlours, with the wafting aromas of roast pork from the kitchen. By breathing new life into Bachmair Weissach, I have realised a lifelong dream of reclaiming such moments,’ he says.

Since taking over the hotel five years ago, Kohler has instigated many changes. Its original name has been reinstated, and the 19th-century building returned to its origin al grandeur without losing any of the authentic Bavarian charm. Kohler’s unique blend of the traditional and the contemporary (check out the framed lederhosen on the walls) extends equally to the hotel’s 146 rooms and suites, its fireside lounge and its culinary concept, which includes the newly launched Japanese sushi restaurant and MIZU Bar. From £188 per night in January.

Andrea Bury, owner of Anayela, Marrakech

‘We simply wanted to create an inspiring place in a meaningful and vibrant setting,’ says Andrea Bury (above right). ‘It was never our intention to open a hotel.’ But in 2008 that is exactly what she and her husband, Bernd Kolb, did, transforming the 300-year-old city palace into a truly magical riad hotel with just five bedrooms. One of its most beautiful features is its ‘flying carpet’ tower, draped in billowing scarlet textiles. According to a handwritten manuscript discovered during the renovations, the tower was where a 16-year-old former occupant used to meet her secret lover, and the lovers’ tale has been beautifully hammered out in silver on the vast doors throughout the hotel.

In 2011 Bury founded a fashion label and social project called Abury to promote the country’s outstanding craftsmanship. Working in collaboration with Moroccan artisans, she produces handcrafted leather goods, the sale of which supports the local community and helps protect the region’s rich handicraft heritage. The foundation also supports schools, where experienced seamstresses pass down their knowledge to the next generation. ‘Things couldn’t have worked out any better if I had planned it all myself,’ she says. From £159 per night in January.

David Dielmann, Managing Director of Factory Hotel, Münster

‘When you are convinced of an idea or project, you should do everything in your power to realise it,’ says Factory Hotel’s David Dielmann (above left). Born and raised in Münster, Deilmann studied communications in Berlin before returning to his hometown to open a restaurant, jazz bar and café. Encouraged by his success, in 2008 Dielmann jumped at the opportunity to join a ground-breaking new hotel project in the former Germania Brewery, where Münster’s finest beer was once brewed.

‘Nobody builds this type of building anymore  you really have to seek them out. And so when you are lucky enough to come across one, you should do anything possible to bring it back to life and preserve its charm,’ says Dielmann. At Factory Hotel, which comprises 128 rooms and 16 suites, old and new are masterfully blended to create a cosy and open atmosphere that somehow manages to be both buzzy and serene. ‘To be frank, I believe that my strengths lie in the fact that I do not have a classical hotel and gastronomy background,’ adds Dielmann, ‘and therefore I am able see the hotel through the eyes of a guest.’ From £68 per night in January.

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