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we curate inspiring spaces.

With the Strandhotel Blankenese, stilwerk is opening its second hotel in Hamburg in May: Another Art Nouveau jewel, again on the water, only this time not on the Alster, but on the Elbe. The hotel is set against the picturesque backdrop of the Blankenese staircase district and exudes Mediterranean flair. We talk to Karlotta Bott, Head of Curation & Design, and Alexander Garbe, partner at stilwerk, about what makes this place so special, what the interior concept of the hotel looks like and what color worlds await us.

View of the stilwerk Strandhotel Blankenese in Hamburg

stilwerk: What is special about this place?

Alexander Garbe: A lot of things are happening at the same time in this place: you are in the city and somehow also out of it. The beach (incidentally one of the last natural beaches in Hamburg) is just around the corner and the harbor is opposite. Container giants pass by and the picturesque staircase district with its villas is behind you. This simultaneity is what makes it special. It creates a certain magic that makes this place so least for me.

Karlotta Bott: Absolutely – that's how I always feel when I come here. And the light – the light in the rooms is simply fantastic. When the sun shines, it creates such a warm atmosphere that I feel like I'm transported to the south.

Karlotta Bott, Head of Curation & Design, and Alexander Garbe, partner of stilwerk.

stilwerk: You have completely redesigned the hotel. How does such a creative process start? As a team, on site? Let's take a quick look behind the scenes...

KB: Definitely as a team: After an initial, joint visit on site, during which we collect initial ideas, spontaneous associations and perhaps find three or four keywords that serve as a framework, an intensive research phase follows: Here I get visual inspiration, find moods that correspond to our vision of the place. These moods are usually not concrete at all, but rather are more about a mood, a feeling, the atmosphere, even in a certain way an attitude that we want to convey with the space. The essence of the place, so to speak...

AG: Keywords like timeless, modern with a certain twist are basically already set - that is the DNA of stilwerk and all our destinations, so to speak. But it is a real process. With lots of curves, roundabouts and turns...


The creative process starts with mood boards and collages © Luís Bompastor

Then tell us – what is the design concept of the beach hotel?

AG: With the beach hotel, we want to create a place that inspires, surprises and where a vacation in the city becomes possible. Vacation in the sense of relaxing, taking a break, taking a deep breath. Here you can really enjoy good design - for a business trip or a city trip.

KB: Exactly, we want to create an oasis here. An oasis of well-being that inspires you. A place that invites exchange. We were inspired by the surroundings when designing: water, sand and lush green define our color scheme. The materials are all genuine and very natural. Unpainted, stained wood, marble surfaces, brass tones. Paired with small breaks, twists that make the overall picture exciting. These breaks start with the color scheme, continue with attractive, special shapes in the furniture and find the finishing touch in the accessories.

The design of the studios © stilwerk

Animated collage of a studio in the stilwerk Strandhotel Blankenese

© Luis Bompastor

Speaking of color: As in the stilwerk Hotel Heimhude, color also plays a major role in the Strandhotel – how did this penchant come about and what are your Blankenese tones?

KB: In fact, in both hotels the colors came first and then the rest came. So yes, main role describes it pretty well (laughs). For Blankenese we always say: sky, sun, sea and some greens - colors that are inspired by nature and create a really cozy atmosphere overall. Colors play an important role anyway, of course. But we wanted to go a little further and be bold: color as a statement, not garishly colorful, but clear in expression.

AG: Karlotta had to sometimes slow me down so that it wasn't too colorful (laughs). A good example is our club room: it's pink, but far from the Barbie look and cutesy feel. Rather, it has a timeless vibe that is really special in combination with the furniture.

From sans yellow to dusty blue: the colour palette is intense and fits in with nature © Luís Bompastor

Perfect transition: What about the furniture - have you discovered new brands for the Kosmos? Are there certain key pieces that make up the Blankenese vibe?

KB: We were particularly inspired in Milan at the Salone del Mobile and at the 3 Days of Design in Copenhagen. We were actually able to find some new brands there: Atelier Areti, for example, a small studio from Italy that we discovered in the off-program Alcova and that is now furnishing our public areas. With really great lights that are very elegant and formally really special. Or Rye from Denmark, who make their timeless wooden beds in Denmark and only make them to order. I could go on forever, but to name a few more names: Northern, Massproductions and Dusty Deco are also real highlight brands that are new to the cosmos.

AG: A real key piece for me is the Verpan sofa in the Club Room.

Lots of wood, metals and surprising accessories characterize the design of the hotel © Luís Bompastor

Do you already have a favorite spot in the hotel? So where can we find you next?

KB: I love the yellow studios. I'm looking forward to sleeping there and drinking my morning tea in the lounge chair with a truly unique view of the Elbe. When the sun shines, a very special magic develops in the room. My tip: Studio No. 4 ;)

AG: My absolute favorite is the Club Room. For me, it's a special space that, with its mix of bar, living room and community space, could become a hotspot in Blankenese. That's what we hope, anyway.


A collage of the Club Room in the stilwerk Strandhotel Blankenese

The clubroom with the Verpan sofa as an absolute key piece © stilwerk

There is already another hotel in the city, the stilwerk Hotel Heimhude. It is also an Art Nouveau villa, also close to the water. What are the most striking differences for you?

AG: Heimhude is our grande dame in sneakers: The surroundings are very urban, despite being close to the Alster. Our guests come there for a short city or business trip: design & culture, design & work, so to speak. Blankenese is completely different: the beach hotel is a beach getaway in the city. Just because of the surroundings: beach, water. There you are immediately surrounded by a calm that takes you out and relaxes you. Even people from Hamburg can go on holiday here.

The idea behind stilwerk hotels is also to combine retail and the hotel industry – meaning: guests can buy everything they see in terms of design?

AG: Something like that. In fact, that was our basic idea when we entered the hospitality industry: we want to make design a real experience in our hotels. In Blankenese, we're going one step further than in Heimhude: our hosts will also be available for initial advice and will then be happy to put you in touch with our retailers or the brand directly. The curated studios therefore offer not only accommodation, but also an opportunity to immerse yourself in a creative world and be truly inspired.


Finally, back to Blankenese: Do you have three words that define the Strandhotel Blankenese for you?

AG: mysterious lady in white…that’s four now, but it counts, right? (laughs)

KB: Three are tough: I think I need a few more: cool ornaments with timeless, modern designs meet a good portion of edge. Add to that the magic of the place...


Great. Thank you for the exciting insights and your time.


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