Peter (19750041) and Carla Klosse (19770005) - Covid and survival
About twenty years ago, we made one of the best decisions of our life. We turned our restaurant with a Michelin star, into a five-star hotel. It was not easy. We closed the restaurant, had to fight quite some battles, it took years, but the hotel finally opened in 2007. We made a daring strategic choice. We invested in the future in the belief that an ‘experience hotel’ with a great kitchen would be the best guarantee for long term survival.
Clearly, we never imagined that a pandemic would or even could hit the world as hard as it did. What we did imagine, was the need to escape the worries of everyday life. To get away from it all. To celebrate, to breathe fresh air, to enjoy the tranquility of the royal forest that surrounds us, and great food of course. We did not want to become a standard hotel, but rather aspired to be considered as a refuge for extraordinary experiences.
This choice has proven its worth this last year. In the first lockdown we closed for a couple of weeks, but when we reopened at the end of May we had some very busy months. The full closure of restaurants in December has cost us quite some money. We closed the year at zero, nothing gained, but more importantly, nothing lost. These first months of the year an increasing number of guests discover that dinners are brought to the rooms. A new form of private dining is emerging.
We feel privileged to be able to withstand the COVID-storm like we do. We feel for all our colleagues who suffer. Not all will survive. I hope we all learn from this unprecedented crisis. For one, I hope that the eating and drinking out gets more recognition as an important function in our society. To function well, people need places to go, meet other people, have other experiences. Loneliness is a disease that is not easily diagnosed, but the vaccine is known and not in the hands of the big pharma. We hope that everybody can soon fully enjoy the services of hotels, restaurants, and cafés again. It the natural vaccine that nobody objects to.
Peter (19750041) and Carla Klosse (19770005)
Owners of Hotel & Restaurant De Echoput in Hoog Soeren