HOTEL BLOG 4. Crisis proof



The roof terrace with the art work by Daniel Ruanova

I remember that, a few years after we had moved into our new premises, I very optimistically thought that all crises would pass us by. After all, even the credit crisis had not affected us. But I did not realise that this was just a coincidence. Just before the crisis we had invested in a new building and this investment yielded a plus on one side that just happened to be greater than the minus on the other. The fact that things would never be as easy after that, despite my optimism, did not really fit with my optimistic outlook.

Back when we were, as always, having quite a hard time but before there was anything really wrong with the world, our decision to start a chip shop was one that was fully backed by Martien, the head chef, and Sanne and Maaike, the sisters who take care of the looks and the quality of the restaurant. The initial phase was just about good enough to recoup the investment. But ‘FRIET Piet Hein Eek’ suddenly turned out to be a fantastic concept and decision when corona broke out, because takeaway was the answer! So, purely by coincidence, I was proved right in hindsight. An opportunist would say: ‘I told you it was a good decision’, but a realist knows that it was simply a case of good luck. Still, I think it is good to remember: if you don’t do anything, you can’t do anything good!

And now we are working on a hotel. It is years ago that I came up with the idea of a hotel as the perfect addition to the concept of a total experience. I asked the bank for funding in 2017 and as that was our best year in the past decade, we were granted a loan. The contract with Triodos Bank is really good and they occasionally ask me how I manage to do all of this with all these activities. I always give the simple answer that I don’t really know, but that the people around me do a whole lot of good and take responsibility for what they do. The following years were much less rosy and would have provided insufficient basis and confidence for the bank to provide a loan. But a deal is a deal, so I received the loan and now we are making a hotel.

There were lots of good reasons for creating a hotel in the building. But opening a hotel in the middle of corona does not seem like the right time. I thought that if we are offering total experience and people have nowhere else to go, then a hotel could potentially be very successful during corona.

When Stefanie, my girlfriend, said that she wanted to go away for a weekend to a hotel where we could also enjoy a good meal, I immediately thought of Villa Augsutus. You can go there for a real experience and Dordrecht is also a great place to visit, so it’s quite similar to our place really. We were just able to book a room as the hotel was fully booked, full of people looking for something fun to do in these difficult times.

But that was a few weeks ago. The most recent measures mean that it is no longer possible for hotel guests to dine in the hotel restaurant! And the shop and showroom are also closed, so it’s not much fun anymore. I am so glad we did not drop everything and focus only on trying to open the hotel in time. Who knows, we might be ready much later than planned and still exactly on time!

So, in these hard times we are creating a wonderful experience. In order to provide a little enjoyment in anticipation, and to share our enthusiasm, we have decided to offer a hotel voucher (in the form of a unique, printed scrap wood tile) – always a great gift, but also perfect for under the Christmas tree!

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