Living as a Service —
Henning Weiss

Co-Founder Henning Weiss explains why the freedom to do as you please in comfort is the true luxuries of our time.

Growing up in a bed and breakfast shaped Henning Weiss’ life. So it comes as no surprise that he centred his career on understanding and creating the best conditions for comfortable living. As Chief Product Officer at 25hour Hotels, Henning has developed the concept for each hotel that makes up this unconventional chain since its inception. Today, he has turned his attention to later life and co-founded THE EMBASSIES. Here he explains that the option to choose between privacy and community might be the most important amenity hospitality can offer.

I grew up in a multigenerational house, a bed and breakfast my grandparents founded after the war. The whole family lived in it: my grandparents in the attic, right under the roof; my parents with me and my older brother just below. It was the opposite of private, but it taught me the value of privacy as well as community. I learned how to relate to and enjoy people from all over the world. Even after I moved out, got married and had kids, that’s how my grandparents lived. And then it all changed, when my grandmother moved into a retirement home about four years ago. Visiting her in a place so completely alien to what I had known growing up made me realise I needed to do something. I couldn’t see myself or anyone else I knew living like this in the future.

A sense of self-worth and agency make for a happy life. And that manifests through community and meaningful relationships as well as solitude and time to reflect. At THE EMBASSIES we want to nurture vibrancy and diversity, while aspiring to give our guests a level of privacy that a regular hotel or a retirement home could never achieve.

People want to feel taken care of, not watched over. That thinking has defined our philosophy and laid the foundation for the design of each residence. Arriving at a hotel with your bags to be greeted with drinks and live music before being shown to your rooms is a fantastic experience. But it’s not one we want to cultivate at THE EMBASSIES.

Instead, we want to create clearly defined places – some communal, some private – so that a smart and discerning audience of all ages can choose either to spend time together or relax on their own. At the same time, the local community will also be an important part of our residences. Because in supporting our guests, we want to support the wider place. As such, the ground floor might host a corner store, an ice cream stand or a small bookshop. Whatever you’re in the mood for, we want to be able to offer it to you. At the end of the day, THE EMBASSIES should be your private home with a little something extra.

We want to take this idea of hospitality and transpose it on a way of life instead of just a vacation. The freedom to do as you like in comfort – that’s true luxury. We strongly believe people deserve to have all their needs taken care of and we try to do just that. Of course, we offer the basic services, like housekeeping, spas and restaurants, but on top of that, we also provide a wide range of additional services that encapsulate everything from physical health to emotional and psychological wellbeing. And most importantly, you make of these services what you want. We know there is a thin line between hospitality and caregiving that we don’t want to cross.

It’s important for us to listen to what our guests want as opposed to what we believe they need. We don’t want to be intrusive – not to the community within our walls, nor to the community around us. Conversations with our guests and residents inform what partners we should work with, where our embassies are located, what balance of tools and services and spaces and experiences and people will add up to the highest standard of living. Because we want to grow with our people and our cities in order to stay vital and relevant. We’re not a closed-off, static bubble. We’re an ever-evolving centre of exchange.