INTERVIEW WITH GABRIELE THYSSEN, OWNER OF THE AMMERSEE HOTEL
When did you take over the Ammersee Hotel?
That was in January 1996. At that time the name of the hotel was still “Hotel Alba am See”. I always saw myself as a leader in a hotel. I was particularly fascinated by the exposed location directly on the shore promenade of the Ammersee.
A few years ago, you completely renovated the entrance area of the Ammersee Hotel and transformed it into a stylish lobby, business lounge and Tom Dixon wine bar. How did it come about?
Originally, we only wanted to carry out smaller renovation measures and, among other things, also renovate the roof. However, it quickly became apparent that this was not enough. On the first floor, one could not appreciate the beautiful lakeside location and the gorgeous view of the lake because the walls of the meeting rooms at the time blocked the view. We then worked with the internationally renowned Munich architect German Haimerl and opened up the rooms. Thus, we have transformed our lobby into a jewel where our guests like to stay and enjoy the view of the lake, relax with a good book or treat themselves to a fine wine in our wine lounge.
Do you have a particularly fond detail in the hotel?
(laughs mysteriously and leads us into the spa area)
A special treat for me is the “Door to the Ammersee” in our relaxation room. My good friend the Carinthian artist Hubert Prochaska has transformed this cool steel door into a real work of art. It feels like you’re looking out over the Ammersee directly from your resting couch.
Do people often meet you at the hotel?
I like to be here very much and often. I enjoy meeting guests and locals and
It does me good to see that guests feel comfortable with us and enjoy their stay.
extensively. The exchange with the employees is also important to me.
A few months ago there was a change of leadership at Ammersee Hotel and Nadja Leiskau took over as director. What was particularly important to you?
I very much wanted to work with a female manager again. Ms. Leiskau and I were on the same wavelength right from our first meeting in the spring of 2021. We keep discovering many things in common. It was an absolute gut decision to hire her in this position. We complement each other perfectly and work together in a very goal-oriented manner. We are both real power women. I knew she would continue to run the hotel successfully and have the right instincts. My “baby” is in good hands with her.
IN CONVERSATION WITH NADJA LEISKAU, DIRECTOR OF THE AMMERSEE HOTEL IN HERRSCHING
How long have you been working at the Ammersee Hotel as a director?
Since November 2021, exactly half a year now.
What makes a good hotel for you?
That you are welcomed with open arms and that you feel embraced. Not everything has to be perfect, but it should be honest and authentic – that’s important to me.
Have you always been in the industry?
No, I first started training as a paralegal. That would have fit in nicely from a family point of view, because my father was a policeman and my mother a court employee. However, I very quickly realized that this was not my thing and secretly applied for jobs in hotels back when I was 16. After receiving an invitation to interview in each one and choosing where I would like to start my training, I had to lay my cards on the table. My mother then accompanied me to the job interviews. To this day, she still likes to talk about how embarrassed she was when a recruiter asked me where I saw myself in 10-15 years and my answer was “I’m going to be a hotel manager.”
What do you enjoy most, where do you see challenges?
The personnel situation is a real challenge. Attracting really good employees and then keeping them in the company. I really enjoy accompanying and supporting the employees and helping them to develop.
What does this development look like then?
We work out many things together with the employees in workshops. Topics that concern us are discussed with each other. Employees usually have the best ideas, but need help implementing them. I am then a supporter of these ideas, helping with their realization and also with the processes behind them.
If you had to describe the Ammersee Hotel in three words…what would they be?
Place of power, harmony, development.
How important is a restaurant in a good hotel?
If there is a restaurant, I think it is important that it has its own face. But of course it must also fit the hotel. However, the location of the house is crucial. A hotel in the middle of a metropolis like Munich does not necessarily need a restaurant, as there are many options in the surrounding area. In a remote location, of course, it is a real added value for hotel guests and locals.
What is your favorite dish at Steg32?
Definitely the grilled octopus! I’m always so happy to see that one back on the menu.
What makes the Five Lakes Region so special for you?
The mentality of the people, the strength-giving nature and the deceleration. These can also be wonderful little moments, like enjoying a coffee over in Riederau on the other side of the lake at the kiosk while looking out over the lake and the mountains. I also love the proximity to the metropolis of Munich and the mountains. I’m just grateful to be here. It means happiness for me!
What is the importance of water for you?
The water is energizing for me. Especially the vastness and the feeling of freedom fascinate me. I can breathe freely. Here at the Ammersee, the colors are also very special. The water is sometimes mint, steel blue and sometimes gray. When the lake starts to move on stormy days and you can see the waves, it’s almost like being by the sea. For me, water means movement, development – dynamics.
What is your favorite place in the Fünfseenland when you are not at the Ammersee Hotel?
The “Paradieserl” up in Dießen near the Gut Romenthal. To walk there with the dog is dreamlike, because the nature is so beautiful there.
A perfect day in the Five Lakes Region – what would it look like?
(grins) Workday or day off? The perfect workday starts like this for me: I take a coffee and after the coffee I make a tour through the hotel. I check that everything is in order for the start of the day and greet the guests at breakfast. Then I try to get through the day as structured as possible. That’s not so easy, because the unexpected always happens. Then you have to reorganize again. When I have time off, it’s wonderful to walk the dog, then have breakfast and later go for a ride on the motorcycle.
Where do you see yourself and the hotel in a year?
I see myself here. We are a well-coordinated and functioning team and the employees enjoy working here. We meet at eye level and treat each other with respect. Employees recommend us as the “best place to work”. Only happy employees can create moments of happiness for our guests. I see the Ammersee Hotel as the place on Lake Ammersee where locals as well as international guests enjoy their lake time. I would like to treat with respect what Mrs. Thyssen has built up over the years and live on.