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"Tante Alma" in Bonn: New hotel for students opens in Poppelsdorf

"Tante Alma" in Bonn : New hotel for students opens in Poppelsdorf

After delays due to the pandemic, the new hotel “Tante Alma” opened this week in Poppelsdorf. The concept for the hotel is unconventional; the target group includes students who are staying long-term.

Following Cologne, Bonn will now also get a “Tante Alma” (“Aunt Alma”) hotel. After long delays due to the pandemic, the second “Tante Alma” hotel will open in Poppelsdorf on Wallfahrtsweg on Monday. It replaces the hotel “My Poppelsdorf”, which closed at the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020. The new owners took possession of the hotel on January 15 of this year, and had expected to open their new hotel in March of 2021 already.

Everything was in place for this to happen, with nearly all of the predecessor's employees hired for the hew hotel. But an opening in March would not have been worthwhile so the owners used the extra time to make some changes. "The hotel has now been completely redesigned. Postponing was exactly the right decision, and now we are ready," says Renate Greiser, operations manager.

Alma is meant to be a substitute for a real aunt

The name Tante Alma alludes to a fictitious aunt who makes guests feel at home. "For example, many students first move in with their aunt for a while when they come to a new city," says Marc Schlieper from the management team, explaining the idea. So this aunt could also be the hotel if you don't have any family members in the city.

The hotel's furnishings are "somewhat cluttered and sometimes kitschy". There are music rooms with record players, a living room with a plush sofa, and a game room. The routine is also unconventional: in the morning, there is digital early-morning sport via smart TV or streamed to the guests' own devices, at 4 p.m. there is a coffee klatch, on Wednesday evenings there is a communal cooking session with wine, and on Sunday evenings there is a communal viewing of the German TV show “Tatort”. These events are currently possible in hotels even during the pandemic, as only the usual 1.50 meter distance has to be kept in the common rooms. "We have also ordered air filters," Schlieper emphasizes. According to operations manager Greiser, people can also sign up for time slots for common areas like the kitchen, "so that not too many guests are in these rooms at the same time.”

Despite the pandemic, the company is rather optimistic about the future: "We do have a plan B in the event of another closure, which would not surprise us. But I have high hopes that there will be no more total lockdown," says Schlieper.

“Tante Alma” in Bonn: In the future there will be parties in the living room

The hotel's target group includes students, who receive a 15 percent discount for longer stays. The location is suitable for this target group, since the university is nearby and the district is "lively and hip," says Greiser. In the future, parties will also be offered in the living room above the rooftops of Poppelsdorf. The main source of income, however, tends to be business and city travelers on short-term stays.

More branches of the hotel line are to open this year in the cities of Mannheim, Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin; all university cities. Still, new hotel openings are rather unusual during these times with the pandemic. The deputy managing director of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association, Mathias Johnen, expects "at best, replacements for already existing hotels and accommodations. We do not see new ventures of any significant size.”

(Orig. text: Marco Rauch / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)