Hospitality Entrepreneurs, Mickey Rosen and Alex Urseanu Talk About the Development of Gekko Group
Alex and Mickey are two of the most successful young entrepreneurs in Frankfurt’s urban lifestyle scene. The Gekko Group has been expanding its activities in Germany since October of 2016, and as a direct consequence of this expansion, the second Roomers site was opened in Baden-Baden in collaboration with the Italian designer Piero Lissoni, based in Milan.
In January of 2018, Micky and Alex were presented with the “Hoteliers of the Year” award by AHGZ and the DFV media company; an award considered equivalent to the Oscars in the hospitality industry. Establishing “Gekko Group” in 2003, their company today is one of the biggest local players in the hotel, food and nightlife sector. Converting empty, long-abandoned office spaces into sophisticated hotels, cocktail bars, speakeasies, and restaurants — all with Alex and Mickey’s personal touch.
Q. What is the story in how Rosen and Urseanu met, and how did Roomers come about from this remarkable relationship?
A.We both grew up in Frankfurt and knew each other from our youth. But it wasn’t until after our apprenticeships that our paths crossed again. We quickly realized that we have a similar lifestyle and a similar way of thinking. Making people happy is what drives us both.
When we planned the first Roomers in Frankfurt, we wanted to develop more than just a hotel concept or something like that. We wanted to create a hotel that redefined luxury, uniqueness and individuality and set new standards in terms of comfort, service and quality. Not only in the rooms and suites, but also in the innovative spa landscape and, above all, in the gastronomy concepts in the in-house restaurant and bar, which set their very own standards. For us, gastronomy is always the heart and soul of the hotel. This is where people meet who celebrate the lightness of being anew every day.
Q. What do you both typically tell people when they ask you what you do?
A.We don’t have a classic job title that we identify with. We are restaurateurs, hosts, developers, and entrepreneurs out of passion. What drives us is to make people happy, to enable personal encounters, interaction, and enjoyment. And that always brings us to new ideas.
Q. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A.We have the same background, both of us come from the hospitality industry. It was always clear to us that we wanted to pursue this passion. But neither of us had a real plan A.
Q. Besides the UNESCO just recently announcing Baden-Baden as World Cultural Heritage, what makes the city special to you and why did you choose this city as the place for your hotel?
A.The city is thirsting for a project like Roomers. The city has a vibe that you cannot explain. It is the small village and at the same time the big city that offers everything you don’t want to miss. This vibe is what makes it special, and it is certainly more than the famous thermal bath, the casino, or the museums. And with Roomers, the offer has expanded.
Q. With Moriki restaurant, you brought a modern interpretation of Japanese cuisine to Baden-Baden. How did this idea come about in providing this dining concept and what makes it so unique?
A.We were keen to build on the success story we have with Moriki in Frankfurt, so we decided to bring this great restaurant experience to Baden-Baden with our friend and partner, The Dug Ngo. The dishes symbolize a blending of East Asian aromas with fresh, regional ingredients.
Q. Tell us about a secret from Roomers Baden-Baden that most people wouldn’t know?
A.Baden-Baden is filled with hidden gems. Just come by and let yourself be amazed and inspired.
Q. Is there anything we can look forward to when it comes to widening your business portfolio in Baden-Baden and the Gekko Group?
A.The second Roomers in Frankfurt will open in early 2023. Roomers Park View will be a style icon in a class of its own, with Piero Lissoni setting new standards in interior design. A new restaurant concept and Roomers Bar will, of course, also become a vibrant part of the hotel. We also want to continue to grow with the brand Gekko House. We are always open to new projects. But we don’t want to expand by hook or by crook; the property must fit the concept. Stay tuned for further ideas.
Q. If you could never work again and leave it all, what would you be doing?
A.We don’t think it will ever get to that point. Making people happy is not a job for us, it’s our passion. We are in the fortunate position of being able to do what we love and what really makes us feel good. We still have many, many ideas floating around in our heads that we would like to realise.