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A Brand is Born

By: Ken Baron

Appeared in September/October 2007 LINKS

Could anyone dare claim that Ritz-Carlton isn’t, well, ritzy enough? Horst Schulze can—and does. After working for the luxury hotel chain for more than 20 years, including a stint as president, Schulze recently left to build a better mousetrap. And what a time to be an über-luxury-craving mouse.

To hear Schulze, 68, speak of his new brand, Capella Hotels and Resorts, is to understand that there is more to extravagance than high thread counts, beautiful rooms and stellar amenities. “For us, it’s all about the experience,” says the German-born Schulze, who lives in Atlanta. “Large hotels tend to cater to groups, which can push the individual aside. At Capella, where there are never more than 100 or so rooms, we can do everything for the guest because the number of staff will far exceed the number of guests.”

Butlers or concierges are passé at Capella, where guests can avail themselves of a personal assistant, who, as the name indicates, makes all the arrangements instead of just pointing you in the right direction.

Schulze’s first property is Capella Castlemartyr in County Cork, Ireland. The hotel, which opened in August, features an Irish storyteller recounting tales from the region, Irish whisky tastings, visits to local distilleries, and golf on property or at nearby Old Head. “There are even Irish setters to walk with you,” says Schulze. “That is what you would expect at a real Irish manor house.”

Six more hotels are scheduled to open over the next two years from Singapore to Germany. (The first U.S. property will open next winter in Telluride, Colorado.) Schulze’s long-range goal is especially intriguing for golfers. “I want people to be able to make international golf tours, through Europe, Asia, and Mexico, staying only in Capella hotels,” he says. “And at each place one should find a unique experience, be it specifically Irish, Mexican or what have you, and not a corporate similarity from resort to resort.”

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