THE ACCIDENTAL HOTELIER
Architect Moritz Lau-Engehausen never intended to operate a hotel. But after designing and building CERÊS, on one of Germany’s most beautiful seaside resorts, he stuck around to breathe life into his unique vision.
From the seaside rooms at CERÊS, the views over the Baltic Sea reach far into the distance, to a horizon drawing a fuzzy line between endless sky and eternal sea. The sight lines and proportions of the hotel—a 50-room property located on Germany’s most visited and most storied island of Rügen—are just as liberating. CERÊS’s ...
“I want to liberate people from the superfluous. I want people to have time for themselves and their thoughts.”
... proprietor is, after all, not from the tourism industry at all, but an architect. An architect who didn’t necessarily plan on becoming a hotelier. Moritz Lau-Engehausen created a property that dramatically breaks with the white wedding-cake visual tradition of Binz, the centuries-old seaside resort town on Rügen. It also breaks with Rügen’s mostly traditional hospitality. At CERÊS—named for a mysterious dwarf planet in our solar system—it’s about really arriving, in the deepest sense of the word, in a perhaps slightly unfamiliar yet soothing place. The pristine forests, untouched 550km coastline and towering white chalk cliffs find the perfect counterpoint within the walls of CERÊS. “I want to liberate people from the superfluous. I want people to have time for themselves and their thoughts,” says Lau-Engehausen, explaining his sophisticated design elements. During the seven-year planning and construction process, Lau-Engehausen—who claims he’s a disciple of Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Germany’s celebrated classicist architect—realized that in order to fully develop the hotel’s spirit, he would need to not only be the builder of the vision, but its executor as well. “I’ve always done things from the guest’s viewpoint,” he says. “There has to be a core authenticity, which means that someone stands behind what the hotel is.” The five years since the hotel opened have been a period of refining the original architectural and spatial vision with a physical and, you could say, spiritual reality. The next five might just see CERÊS expanding into its own unique small brand—a mountain project is in its very earliest conceptual phases.