Frank Marrenbach: Luxury always has something to do with focus

The Managing Director of the Oetker Hotel Collection up close.

18 February 2021

"Luxury always has something to do with focus"

In the beginning, the enthusiasm for service and people was there. After graduating from high school, the young Frank Marrenbach already toyed with the idea of a career in banking. But the special atmosphere in a hotel soon turned him in favour of the hotel business: "I liked the entrance hall of the hotel better than the cashier's desk of the bank". At that time, hotelier was still a somewhat exotic career choice, not everyone could understand it. Today, the Rhinelander has become a model hotelier - and that the hotel industry has changed is partly thanks to him.

Family businesses are a constant in Frank Marrenbach's life - at the beginning of his career, at Steigenberger, at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, at The Berkley Hotel in London and now for over 20 years in the Oetker family: "I like the family continuity and strength of a family business." In 1997, he started as resident manager at Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden. In 2000, he took over the position of Managing Director. Since 2008, he has also been responsible for the entire Oetker Hotel Collection, which currently includes ten outstanding hotels in Europe and America, as well as unique properties around the world for exclusive rental. With the beginning of 2020, Marrenbach has relinquished his role as host at the Brenners; the family father is now fully dedicated to the further development of the Oetker Collection.

Chief Executive Officer, Oetker Collection

He travels a lot; in addition to a desk in Baden-Baden, the self-confessed lover of France also has one in Paris. "We are lucky to have hotels in other people's favourite places" - Le Bristol Paris on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc at the tip of Cap d'Antibes and the Palácio Tangará São Paulo in Burle-Marx Park, to name just three addresses. One has to find the niche and live individuality, this is how one can survive today next to the big luxury hotel chains. What kind of luxury is still in demand today? Frank Marrenbach talks about craftsmanship, the English craftmanship, it has to be excellent, but the focus on what you do best is also important: "Focus means profile." A hotel must have an origin and be able to tell a story, that's what makes it unique. "There is simply only one Brenners." That makes sense. Marrenbach speaks modestly, he sees himself as a service provider, the guest comes first. "The people are what inspire me."

He knows that times have changed, even in the luxury hotel industry - as director, he has also led Brenners into a new era. With the Fritz & Felix restaurant, he has managed to appeal to a new generation. It has to be more relaxed today. Stays have become shorter, guests are more international and culturally diverse. Even the staff can no longer be pigeonholed into strict hierarchies. What hasn't changed, Marrenbach explains, is the quality and importance of human interaction. "Deformalization just doesn't mean less quality." He has succeeded.

Picture credits: Nina-Maria Oetker; Frank Marrenbach

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