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Hotel Bristol: Bonn's Residence Hotel closes its doors

Hotel Bristol : Bonn's Residence Hotel closes its doors

The Residence Hotel on Kaiserstraße is closing its doors for good. The Centro-Hotels-Group, which used to run the hotel as well as the Hotel Bristol, which also closed down, justifies the closure with economic problems caused by Corona.

With the Residence Hotel on Kaiserstraße, the Hamburg-based Centro-Hotels-Group is now also closing its second hotel in Bonn in the middle of the year, following the closure of the Bristol Hotel on Prinz-Albert-Straße. In a press release, it cited the current economic situation and the lack of funds for urgently needed investments in the hotel as the reason.

"After a year of closure due to the pandemic and the associated difficult commitment to the continued existence of the hotel and the preservation of jobs, the decision was made amicably by both the tenant and the landlord. The current economic situation in combination with the lack of funds for necessary investments in order to continue to meet the demands of the guests in the future, tipped the scales in favour of this decision," shares Homeira Amiri from the management. "Unfortunately, the current situation has forced us to make a decision due to the pandemic and political decisions."

The tourism industry in general is facing enormous challenges due to the pandemic, the press release continues. Many businesses in the hotel and catering industry would realise losses that could not be compensated. Unlike in other sectors of the economy, the lost turnover in tourism could not be compensated or made up for. The status quo at the moment is that not even the announced November and December aid will be paid out. Amiri stated: "The announcement of the Federal Minister of Finance that the state would not leave the companies in the lurch has not yet come true for us."

Staff at the Residence Hotel confirmed to the GA that they have all since received their notices. The hotel, which has already ceased operations for a year because of Corona, is scheduled to close for good on 30 June. About 20 employees are affected, said Rainer Schillings, spokesman for the Centro Hotels Group. At the Bristol, as reported, about 35 employees, including many long-time staff, have also been given notice. The hotel, which opened in 1972 on the edge of Südstadt and where many prominent guests such as the former GDR head of state Erich Honecker had stayed, is to be demolished and housing built in its place. The Residence Hotel, like the Bristol, was originally run by the Günneweg family business in Düsseldorf. In 2017, the leases for both hotels were transferred to the Centro Hotels Group.

The Bristol and the Residence Hotel were mainly hotels used by business travellers and for conferences. Some employees claim to have heard that the Residence Hotel, which opened in 1989 and has a hairdresser's shop on the ground floor independent of hotel operations, could possibly be converted into a senior citizens' residence. No further details were available on Monday.

The Kaisergarten, which belongs to the Residence Hotel and is located directly next to the Kaiserbrunnen, was a popular summer destination for many Bonn residents. Before the Residence Hotel was built - according to the plans of the Bonn architect Ralph Schweitzer - there was a so-called wooden storefront with a snack bar, pizzeria and beer garden. According to GA reports from that time, part of the row of shops had to make way for an underground turning area for the city railway and tramway in the 1970s. The remaining shops then disappeared with the construction of the new hotel, which was ceremoniously opened on 1 May 1989 with more than 600 guests from politics, business and society. In the course of the reopening, the monument to Emperor Wilhelm I, which had lain discarded in a building yard for 40 years, was also erected in the Kaisergarten next door after restoration. On the opening day, as the GA reported at the time, prominent guests of honour lodged at the Residence, because the Union of European Capitals was holding its 29th General Assembly with its twelve mayors in Bonn, the capital of Germany at the time. Among them: The then Lord Mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac, who became President of France in 1995.

Original text: Lisa Inhoffen. Translation: Mareike Graepel