Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I heart Mövenpick

Found a new brand to love: Mövenpick. It’s a Swiss company that operates hotels, restaurants and sells crazy-good ice cream through retail outlets.

I’d only seen their hotels at the Geneva airport and on the lake, midway between Geneva and Lausanne, and both seemed a little dumpy. The name itself seemed a little lame, too. As in “when you’re on the MOVE, you may as well PICK us.” And the Mövenpick restaurant I’ve seen in downtown Geneva reminded me of a Sizzler or a Denny’s from the early 80’s.

But last weekend I was put up at the Mövenpick in Frankfurt and fell in love with the place.

I’ve stayed at some very nice hotels (usually on production, with the client paying for them), and this Mövenpick is right up there with the W.

The food was excellent, too. The breakfast buffet was almost gourmet (compared to what I’ve had at Marriotts and Hiltons), the food in the restaurant and even room service was as good as Morton’s. And the famous Mövenpick ice cream I had for dessert probably dethrones Häagen-Daz. (Although I’m up for a rematch.)

What’s even more interesting to me is that way this brand seemingly defies the whole Fox and the Hedgehog theory of business, which basically says find one thing and do it right. Between the hotels, the restaurants and the ice cream, Mövenpick’s got a whole hedgehog army. Maybe it's not too different than IKEA selling good furniture and serving awesome meatballs. But this is just a bit more of a hidden gem.

There are Mövenpick hotels and resorts throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. America’s missing out on this brand. Then again, I’m glad this brand isn’t spreading itself too thin right now.

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