Currently celebrating its 4th anniversary, Hamburg’s popular lifestyle and design hotel, Tortue, had a rockier start than most thanks to the Pandemic. Still, the property faced the challenges with an open mind and, as a result, is now one of the city’s most popular venues for locals and tourists alike. How did they do that? And what makes Tortue so different? Keep reading to get the answers.
A new concept in Hamburg
If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. These words fit perfectly well with Tortue – one of the trendy “newcomers” on Hamburg’s hospitality scene. The word ‘hotel’ only describes a fraction of the property, cause it truly is more than the accommodation it provides.
Back in 2018, the world looked bright and resourceful. Fast forward a couple of years and a certain Pandemic completely turned the world of travel and hospitality as we knew it, upside down. But the founders of Tortue were thinking very differently about the future when they first got together 8 years ago and decided to “open a hotel together”. After gathering inspiration all over the world, however, mainly in Paris, the doors to their common project, Tortue, became a realization in 2018.
The four managing partners, two of which are the famous chef, Carsten von der Heide (a well-known name on Hamburg’s hospitality scene) and hotelier Marc Ciunis, were deeply inspired by the legendary Hotel Costes in Paris and wanted to re-create a similar yet different concept in Hamburg.
Presenting delicate interior design including velvet furniture, dimmed lights and lots of greens and coffee table books, they succeeded. And Tortue was only further strengthened by Joyce Wang (Asian interior designer), decorating the restaurant, Jin Gui. But I’ll get back to that in a moment.
Not a hotel but a lifestyle
“There’s an international feel here, but always with a French touch”, says Tortue’s Director of Marketing & PR, Anne Sophie Spingler, as I sat down with her for a chat during my stay. She refers to the hotel’s slogan, “Ceci n’est pas un hotel” (inspired by the Belgian painter, Magritte), which instantly had me thinking about the future of hotels. This place isn’t just a regular hotel; it’s a lifestyle experience keeping its guests both entertained and inspired.
So, what really sets Tortue apart from other hotels in the area? Firstly, it’s a concept, which is embraced by locals as well. This is quite unique as most hotels don’t usually attract locals. Thanks to its owners, though, Tortue has managed to gain a strong foothold in Hamburg’s local scene – but always with an eye fixated on the rest of the world. “As a guest, you don’t have to leave the hotel at all!“, says Anne Sophie and explains; “there are several places to dine, drink and relax. It’s very comfortable for our guests”.
Apart from its 128 rooms (that make the hotel just slightly too big for the “boutique” category), there are two restaurants on site; a French brasserie and Jin Gui – an Asian fusion restaurant beautifully decorated by interior designer, Joyce Wang. Furthermore, guests can find a cocktail bar, Bar Noir, and a small French café next door, Petit Tortue, serving pastries, croissants, coffee and ice cream all throughout the day. Last but not least, Chez l’ami (another of the hotel’s restaurants) was selected as Hamburg’s best French restaurant this year. A true haven for gastronomy lovers from all corners of the world.
A hotel of tomorrow
Elegant design and great service seem to be on top of the list here, but there’s something else about Tortue that makes it even more interesting. At least if you ask me. Namely, its take on the future, the creative scene and playfulness in general. The hospitality industry is well-known for being slightly old-school and slow-paced, so it’s incredibly refreshing to witness new initiatives and bold decisions. Like Tortue’s in-house podcast recording studio and co-working space. You read that right.
Not only are the employees invited to co-manage and participate in the hotel’s own podcast, ‘Apropos Tortue’, everyone else can rent the studio for a day if they wish, or even pop by for some co-working in the elegant co-working space right next to the studio. I took advantage of that several times during my stay and must admit that it was very comfortable not having to leave the premises to work.
Tapping into “the future of hospitality”, as I like to call it, Tortue naturally has its very own line of gastronomical products including homemade jams, sauces, candles and bottled cocktails – for you to prolong the Tortue experience. And if that’s not enough, guests are invited to participate in the hotel’s events ranging from caviar tastings and sushi courses to cruise days and pumpkin carving sessions. Simply ask the staff or take a look at the website.
Tortue is the obvious place to stay if you’re looking for comfortable luxury in the heart of Hamburg. I personally cannot wait to return.
For more info, go to www.tortue.de.
Q&A With Anne Sophie Spingler
Director of Marketing & PR at Tortue.
Q: What do you think sets Tortue apart from other hotels in Hamburg?
A: Tortue isn’t just a hotel – it’s truly a concept and an experience. You don’t need to leave the hotel at all when staying here as there are several places to dine, drinks and relax.
The podcast studio and co-working space makes Tortue quite unique. With that, we definitely embrace creative business and the future. Our own podcast, ‘Apropos Tortue’ focuses on the life and the people of the hotel, e.g., through interviews with locals, staff members, friends of the owners etc. Our employees are managing it and they’re all very supportive of the initiative.
Q: How do you use storytelling in your marketing and communication?
A: It’s all about the people. Of course, we have our different pillars; design, gastronomy, innovation, architecture etc., but the people should always be in the center. For example, we interviewed our local ice cream supplier; we love local products and try our best to implement local life in our daily operations. For us, it’s important that the guest journey already begins online, so naturally, our website taps into storytelling by not only giving the basic facts, but also show authentic photos of the employees, tell little stories, showcase beautiful design etc.
Every Tuesday, we have a Meet & Match event where future employees can stop by and talk to Isabel Raschke (Head of HR) about potential job openings etc. with no appointment. This attitude, the openness and holistic approach to HR and communication, is very significant for Tortue.
Last, but not least, our restaurants are also full of stories. For instance, they’re very popular amongst locals, which is something we’re proud of. We try to tell our stories based on the local life as well.
Q: Last but not least, when is the best time to visit you in Hamburg?
A: Every season offers something unique, but I’d have to say summer. You can sit outside in our courtyard and enjoy dinner and drinks till late in the evening – in true Tortue spirit 🙂