Utereg m’n stadsie.

There is all sorts of things happening there, it is buzzing on all sides in the heart of the country." Is Utrecht a bustling city, as that line from a Utrecht folk song suggests?

It is certain that a lot is happening within the hotel industry.


"We are entrepreneurs, not hoteliers"

In their own words, Westra and Pieters are not hoteliers. Well, entrepreneurs. So let's start in the distant past with this story. Young Paul Westra and his brother Olaf started their first own business, called Broers, in 1992. In 1994 they started a new concept 'Havanna' and expanded in Utrecht & Tilburg. A few years later, Westra sold Havanna and kept 'Brothers'.

During that period, he met former mortgage adviser Hans Pieters, a man with similar ideas and expertise. Westra: "I had no idea, but was liquid." Pieters: "I wanted to go into real estate." The agreements that led to their B.V. were succinctly summarized on one A4 page.

In short, a man who had studied law and had a business sense of cafes, restaurants and discos found a partner who came from the world of mortgages and financing. Together they dived into the hotel industry. Why?

"Interesting business cases.."

Westra: "At the end of 2011, we were in the middle of the crisis. The only way for us to survive was to scale up. The opportunity arose to buy the Utrecht restaurant De Rechtbank, but a hotel was attached to it (Court Hotel). So we took over right away and said to each other: 'We'll see what we're going to do with it.'

This is how it happened, since the hotels turned out to be an interesting business case (even in times of crisis), Hans Pieters and Paul Westra developed the first concepts in historic and unique traditional Utrecht buildings, Mother Goose (2014), Eye Hotel (2015), Malie Hotel (2017), The Hunfeld (2019). Pieters: "Our keywords are: Utrecht Center, historic, warm, homely and sustainable." In the meantime, the entrepreneurs are also working on the apartment business and are entering into a partnership with Havaa apartments, later Utrecht City Apartments and Hilversum City Apartments. The 'high-end' flex work location MalieGarage has also been completely renovated and has been part of the Utrecht City Concepts collection since 2019. Continue to develop concepts? "Yes, we will remain entrepreneurs."


Bron: Hospitality Management