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"Adlon guests will not experience any restrictions"

Karina Ansos has been in charge of the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin since mid-October.

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"Adlon guests will not experience any restrictions"

Karina Ansos has been in charge of the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin since mid-October. This is the first time in the 115-year history of the luxury hotel at the Brandenburg Gate that a woman has occupied the director's chair. Your assumption of office falls in economically turbulent times. We wanted to know from Karina Ansos how she intends to steer the "Adlon" safely through the crisis.

WORLD: In 1922 Louis Adlon took over the hotel from his father. Now, 100 years later, you were appointed the first woman to head the house. A turning point in the “Adlon” story?

Karina Ansos: Being the hotel manager of the "Adlon" is not so much a turning point for the "Adlon" as it is for me, or rather, the culmination of my career to date. There were many women before me who influenced the fortunes of the hotel, above all Hedda Adlon, Louis Adlon's second wife.

WORLD: What impresses you about Hedda Adlon?

Ansos: When she took over the house with her husband Louis in 1922, hyperinflation began in the Weimar Republic. Getting through these difficult economic times required courage, optimism and new ideas. Hedda Adlon had all of that. Looking back, the 1920s were actually a very successful time for the "Adlon". As is well known, every crisis also harbors opportunities.

WORLD: What chances do you see for the “Adlon” in the 2020s – are we now in times of crisis again?

Ansos: Fortunately, we seem to have mastered the corona pandemic. Should the incidences actually rise again, the hotel is well prepared in terms of hygiene and safety. And as far as inflation and energy costs are concerned – these challenges have in no way dampened the global desire to travel.

WORLD: 307 rooms, 78 suites, five restaurants and bars, ballrooms, fitness center and spa - the energy costs for operating the hotel are certainly enormous. How do you deal with that?

Ansos: By optimizing our energy, water and CO₂ management, making it more efficient and sustainable. In this context, it is also important to me to raise the awareness of all our employees about the topic of energy and its value and costs. Everyone needs to know how much energy various machines and actions in the hotel cost us.

WORLD: Some hotels now charge energy flat rates from their guests. Are you also planning price adjustments?

Ansos: Price adjustments do not only take place in this situation. However, what we have done in view of the rising energy costs: reduce the temperatures in unused event rooms.

WORLD: Do your guests understand these austerity measures?

Ansos: What austerity measures? Our guests will not experience any restrictions. We don't skimp on service either, on the contrary. Our restaurants are all open, we have extended the opening hours of our legendary Lobby Lounge and we are in the process of changing the concept in our restaurant "Quarré". There will be no standstill with me.

WORLD: Standstill - good keyword: Should there be hourly power cuts in winter, as announced by the Berlin Senate, would the lights go out in the "Adlon" too?

Ansos: No, we have an emergency power generator that keeps it running for many hours. We practice such exceptional scenarios at regular intervals and are well prepared and quickly informed due to our special situation.

WORLD: By special location do you mean the neighboring US and French embassies?

Ansos: Yes, and of course the Brandenburg Gate, which you can see from our windows. The central location of the "Adlon" is a blessing from a tourist point of view and also for security reasons.

WORLD: But sometimes there is also a curse, for example when the hotel is completely sealed off because of high-ranking guests.

Ansos: I don't see it as a curse at all. The high density of VIPs from politics, business and showbiz adorns the "Adlon". And as a rule, no guest feels handicapped; anyone who books our house also knows what precautions are taken during a state visit. In the first few weeks of my work, I experienced several times how guests and passers-by react when the police cordon off our hotel - everyone stops and waits anxiously to see what happens at the "Adlon". I then see louder mobile phones in video mode.

WORLD: In the "Adlon" there is a butler who is at his guests' service around the clock from arrival to departure. Isn't this service a bit outdated?

Ansos: Not at all, this service is in great demand, especially among our foreign clientele. They like to communicate their wishes via the butler. He acts as a kind of link to the in-house employees and external service providers. Due to the proximity to the guest, he is also able to find out about wishes in advance and to surprise the guest with all kinds of gestures.

WELT: In a WELT survey of hotel directors on the subject of luxury, all respondents emphasized that hotels today are primarily about soft factors such as affection, warmth, care, giving guests time. Would you like to add anything else?

Ansos: Yes, sustainability also plays a significant role in the luxury segment.

WORLD: Luxury is defined as excessive effort for enjoyment and pleasure, how can that be sustainable?

Ansos: I think this definition of luxury is no longer up-to-date. Today, modern luxury is defined less by excessive effort or prestige than by authenticity and attentiveness. In addition to sensory experiences, values ​​and responsibility are in the foreground, especially with a view to environmental protection and climate change. Issues that the "Adlon" is also addressing, in that we try with all technical possibilities to reduce environmental pollution and conserve resources.

Karina Ansos is French by birth. The 50-year-old has been working for the Kempinski hotel group for 23 years. She has worked as a hotel manager in Hamburg, Weimar, Frankfurt and the Chinese cities of Suzhou and Shanghai.

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