Revitalization in Recklinghausen’s Old Town – the ‘Aspire Palais’
This marks the provisional endpoint of a development that began in early 2020. At that time, LUNA Immobilienbesitz GmbH acquired the hotel from Grep Drei Sàrl, a Luxembourg-based fund. The plan was clear: renovation was to be completed by July 2020, followed by a reopening. However, then came the COVID-19 pandemic – and everything changed.
For over three years, nothing happened at the property, and its future was uncertain. Occasionally, rumors circulated about new plans for the imposing building, but nothing concrete was known until now. Andreas Erben, who jointly manages LUNA Immobilienbesitz GmbH with Heiko Grote, states, “We are renovating the property over the next five to six months and will reopen it as ‘Aspire Palais.’ Accordingly, Aspire Hotel GmbH will operate the property.
In fact, the former City Hotel (formerly known as the Barbarossa-Hotel) will become the third property in the relatively small Aspire chain. Andreas Erben explains the strategy, saying, “The Aspire Group is set to expand to around ten hotels.” His significant experience in the hospitality business is evident as he mentions a portfolio of 60 to 65 hotels, saying, “And there were more at one point.”
Andreas Erben deliberately chose the term “renovate” in connection with the future “Aspire Palais.” He explains, “We visited Recklinghausen and found the location near the shopping center and the large square appealing. We decided to create a classic boutique hotel here. We knew that we needed to modernize, but then it turned out that it wouldn’t be enough.” Thus, a full-scale renovation will take place: “We’ll address everything: heating, electrical, and all bathrooms. I found an electrical switchboard that some museums would be pleased to have.”
Fortunately, the building’s structural integrity was good, and the room layouts were suitable. Therefore, there will be around 60 rooms. One unique feature will be a “rooftop bar.”
The upper floor will have a unique offering: “There will likely be a fitness room for guests and a ‘rooftop bar’ for everyone. We will offer drinks, but also light meals and brunch options,” Erben explains. “This doesn’t exist in Recklinghausen yet, and we want to consciously become part of the city’s community.” Additionally, there will be a conference room for around 40 people.
“We are very satisfied with the tenants in the building, the jeweler, the hairdresser, and the donut shop; they are welcome to stay,” Andreas Erben continues. The future of the basement, where you could once enjoy steaks at Barbara-Keller or Lebanese specialties at Maroush, is still undecided. “That was a real surprise; it’s as big as a gym. We can envision various possibilities: a martial arts school or something in the health sector, for example.” Or even a club? “We are open to anything.”
Andreas Erben is not concerned about the immediate competition from the nearby Holiday Inn Express (in the Markt-Quartier): “Every hotelier contributes to the city’s vitality. From a location marketing perspective, I welcome it.” And in general, “The old town has its own charm.”