The visionary and his brewery

When newcomers to the industry open up a hotel, they often strike out in exciting new directions. Like David Deilmann, who organised his Factory design hotel with a strict division of the individual departments, each of which is managed by its own specialists. His success has proven him right: His hotel has long been the centre of a hip trend campus.

text: Stefanie Bisping  //  photography: Factory Hotel

Aguest once wrote on a review website: "Great hotel, but I went around the corner to have dinner at a really good Spanish restaurant," recounts David Deilmann, owner and general manager of the Factory Hotel in city of Münster, which has a population of 300,000. Deilmann still laughs at the memory. Because the guest had not noticed that this great restaurant was a gastronomy outlet belonging to the hotel. That means: The experiment was a success.

When industry newcomer David Deilmann developed his idea for a hotel concept with the five pillars of sleeping, eating, meeting, going out and dancing, he knew above all what he did NOT want: a hotel that offers all of those but does not do any of them 100 percent successfully. "The idea that the whole thing could have the same effect as a pizza service that also delivers kebabs, burgers and steaks on the side was abhorrent to me." So he developed the concept of the Factory Hotel, which opened at the end of 2008, right from the outset in such a way that the five corporate divisions – summarised under the catchy headings of "Sleep, Eat, Meet, Drink, Dance" – also function independently of one another and that each is run by specialists.

Deilmann himself does not have any background in the industry. Born in Münster, he studied Communications in Berlin. After he graduated, he returned to his native city in 2005. "I actually only wanted to store my belongings at home," Deilmann, 38, recounts. But it turned out differently.

While he was applying for jobs, he helped his father, Andreas Deilmann, an architect and project developer. He had just taken over the campus of the former Germania brewery. Once one of the largest employers in Münster, the brewery, which had closed in 1984, had already stood empty since 2001. Previously, it had housed a leisure pool and a disco with concert stage which had been legendary among the city's student population. The heritage-conscious citizens of Münster were following what was going to happen to the protected buildings now with watchful interest.

Vision: a lifestyle district behind historic walls

David Deilmann saw the potential of the property and decided to take over the marketing for the former brewery. His vision: a lifestyle district where the building's history would stay alive. He got down to work with a sure instinct: "It was clear to me that you could not just erect a few office containers for potential tenants here." Instead, he wanted to create a location in which he could receive potential clients in a suitable setting. "So we opened up the first restaurant on the grounds in May 2006: the Dininghof, a restaurant with a small jazz bar in the old coach house."

And because he was completely in his element doing this, Deilmann opened up the Café Fyal the following year in the city centre. It was planned as a pop-up restaurant for the international "Skulptur Projekte" exhibition which is held every ten years in Münster. However, the concept of a trendy bar comprising art and music on the one hand and creative dishes and drinks on the other hand was so well received that it stayed open after the exhibition was over. And by then David Deilmann had also long since come to the conclusion that he wanted to keep going – in this place and in this sector. But now as a tenant in his father's property. His plan: He would create a design hotel for the lifestyle district that would be developed, in whose restaurants hotel guests would feel just as much at home as the Münster residents themselves – a melting pot for students and locals, tourists and business travellers.

To tempt the locals away from the attractions of Münster's city centre, Deilmann would have to create incentives. That is why the EAT, La Tapia and Mole restaurants and the Tide bar do not only have different cuisines and interiors, they also have separate access from the outside. The idea is to save guests who are not staying at the hotel the walk through the lobby and prevent any daunting feelings before they ever arise. The variety in the restaurants takes care of the rest. The two-storey La Tapia, which is decorated in the style of a Spanish finca, offers Spanish dishes. Mole, which only joined the others last December, is designed as a laid-back pub with a galley. The menu focuses on fish and seafood. And in the case of the Mole, too, the maxim applies: no half measures. Deilmann had two sea containers delivered from Hamburg's port and fitted into his seafarers' pub to give it an authentic feeling.

new impetus in an old brewery
Fast lane:
new impetus in an old brewery
from celebrating to sleeping
Five pillars:
from celebrating to sleeping
lobby or museum?
Art in the building:
lobby or museum?
lobby or museum?
Art in the building:
lobby or museum?
dining with hotel guests and locals
Local colour:
dining with hotel guests and locals

Industrial aesthetics and minimalist design

His plan worked. "Sixty percent of our guests at the La Tapia are locals," Deilmann explains, not without some pride. "The EAT, where the hotel guests have breakfast, is most frequently regarded as a hotel restaurant. The share of external guests who dine there is only about 30 percent."

For the hotel itself, he focused on strong visual effects: Right from the start, Deilmann had drawn up the hotel concept as a Design Hotel™. A collection of almost 300 owner-managed hotels worldwide are marketed under this brand name. "I knew that it wasn't a sure-fire success, that a coherent concept was required. That is why we established contact with Design Hotels™ already at the planning stage, and constantly held meetings." The factory-like architecture of the brewery buildings did not merely give the hotel its name, it also showed it the aesthetic direction. Deilmann: "I am interested in the conflicting forces that arise when the traditional meets the modern, and the relationship of the old brewery architecture to design."

The bricks and steel girders of the more than one hundred-year-old building were exposed. The historical structure of the building forms a stark contrast to the raw facing concrete of the newly built elements. Deilmann invested in art for the interior. Sculptor Tobias Rehberger created the main art work for the lobby. The other rooms are also characterised by the works of contemporary artists, some of them newcomers.

History has been banished from rooms and suites. They are characterised by a minimalist, modern design: Dispensing with all bric-a-brac, and instead using clear lines, a lot of daylight and economical splashes of colour in fresh flowers and bean bags in primary colours. Yet the interior are nonetheless designed to create a feeling of wellbeing through the use of high-quality textiles from the white-to-ecru colour palette and state-of-the-art technology.

Mission accomplished

And the dance? From 2009, a small club was also part of the Factory Hotel's portfolio. Deilmann closed it in 2013. Today, jazz music is played once a month in the Tide bar. That fits better, he says. Nowadays, the Dance business division stands for the 40 to 45 weddings which are celebrated every year in the Factory Hotel.

Because the Germania campus has become a trendy, attractive location. Today, the brewery wells are used to feed the idyllic lake onto which guests look out from the terrace of the EAT restaurant. restaurants, shops, apartments and, last but not least, a gym with swimming pool and spa area, which hotel guests can use free of charge, have all located in the Factory Hotel precinct. Today, the deserted brewery is brimming with life again.

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