The HOTEL ODERBERGER BERLIN is a listed, family-owned boutique hotel. The historic hotel was formerly the city baths and was designed in 1898 – it had been closed since 1986. In February 2016, the Hotel Oderberger Berlin opened as part of the GLS Campus after extensive refurbishment.
You’ve been running the Hotel Oderberger since 2016. What can your guests expect when they come to your hotel?
Our guests can expect a special place that doesn’t feel like a traditional hotel. The combination of public pool and hotel brings different people together. Our team stands for authentic service and we are just as colorful as the diversity of Berlin. The comfort level is high: Stadtbad & sauna (except on days when events are taking place), our regional and seasonal breakfast buffet, individually designed rooms and our bar with regional spirits, our own creations and classics ensure that nothing is left to be desired. And if you do, simply step out of the door into our bustling neighborhood and let yourself drift.
What distinguishes you from other hotels?
Here, the public swimming pool meets event location meets boutique hotel, Berliners meet visitors – and that’s exactly how we want it to be. We are a special place for a visit to Berlin and just as much a part of the public infrastructure in the neighborhood. The Stadtbad has a long history and generations of people have learned to swim here. We are proud that the building continues to be a part of public life in private hands and is an example of how tourism creates added value for the neighborhood and its residents.
You are all women in management positions. Does that have an influence on the dynamics in everyday working life?
First of all: we are working on our male quota and have 75% women in management positions. This is a good thing, because we believe that diversity in the team leads to better products, better decisions and therefore a better economic result overall. And that in turn means independence, creative freedom and security. But yes, the management is female: Barbara Jaeschke as founder of the GLS Language Center and owner of the Stadtbad and her two daughters, Dr. Verena Jaeschke – Hotel Director and Dr. Reemda Jaeschke – Director Finance & Controlling. We are a family business in the 2nd generation and stand for sustainable management in an economic, social and ecological sense.
Are there any companies that you cooperate with? How important is cooperation with other businesses for you and your industry?
We believe in cooperation, both with our partners and suppliers as well as with other individually managed hotels. We are simply stronger through exchange and cooperation. For example, we founded a roundtable for boutique hotels, which has resulted in real friendships.
Have you found that guest demand has changed over the years in terms of the gastronomic offering?
We are definitely noticing that guests appreciate and demand a sustainable approach. Especially after Corona, nobody wants the usual uniformity and hotel chains where every room in every city, regardless of the country, is designed in a similar way. The same applies to gastronomy: authenticity is in demand. That’s why we believe that people who stand for special and sustainable products and concepts out of conviction will also be successful with them.
„Young people need places where they can learn, grow and make mistakes in order to become great specialists and shapers of our industry.“
We have often discussed the topic of training and you are actively committed to being an attractive training location. Why is this particularly important to you and what exactly do you do? What do you do differently?
Training – both traditional vocational training and dual study programs – is very important to us. Young people need places where they can learn, grow and sometimes make mistakes in order to become great specialists and shapers of our industry. Hospitality is simply great and we want to get people excited about it. We pay particular attention to two points: Corporate culture and conditions. We pay above the standard pay scale from the first year of training and there are numerous additional benefits (excursions, book money, further training, learning apps). Why is that? No trainee in Berlin can afford a shared room and food on 800 euros. And we are competing with other sectors here, working in the catering or hotel industry must also be financially attractive. And as far as the culture is concerned, we take it for granted that you and the duty roster are planned two weeks in advance. In addition, it is clear that there are enough qualified staff available to provide guidance and that trainees are not expected to work entire shifts on their own from month 3 onwards. We offer regular training sessions, excursions to manufacturing companies, practical exercises and feedback meetings. There are also regular team events just for people in training at our company, such as the trainee and student breakfast.
During the lockdown, you gave employees the opportunity to work in other establishments such as Noname, Restaurant otto or Nobelhart & Schmutzig. How did this come about and what was the result?
Our hotel was closed for a long time during both lockdowns and we only had housekeeping jobs to offer our trainees – at some point, that was just too boring. And since we were paying the trainees’ salaries in full anyway, we thought we’d rather support other businesses and give something back to our trainees at the same time. That’s why we placed them on internships in these restaurants, where they gained an insight into other kitchens and were able to develop their skills during the lockdowns.
If we take a look into the future, what does your hotel look like? Are there any ideas or projects that you would like to implement in the future?
Currently, the most important project is the conversion of our energy supply. We are certified sustainable with Green Sign Level 4 and have already implemented a lot in the area of sustainability (avoiding food and plastic waste, green electricity and LED lighting, saving water, purchasing as sustainably as possible, etc.). We are now in the process of reducing our energy consumption as much as possible and – once we have achieved our best possible consumption – supplementing the supply with renewable energies. This applies to the entire GLS campus, which includes the Hotel Oderberger. Our goal is to have achieved this by the end of 2025.