Complete 100 hotel rooms in 100 days. That was the remit GR8 Nederland gave general contractor Bulsink. The rooms were completed at the end of last year and GR8 Hotel Breda has been open to guests since January this year. CEO (and Van der Valk family member) Martien Heinrichs talks about his hotel concept, collaboration with completion partner Bulsink and the 100-day deadline.

“When the new-build shell was ready, we were still in the middle of the last coronavirus lockdown”, Martien says. “Unfortunately, we had no choice but to tread water for a while because no-one knew how long it would be before the hotel industry was free of restrictions again. And very few people were thinking about booking hotel rooms. This situation changed in mid 2022 and we had just one ambition from that time on: to complete the hotel as quickly as possible.”

“That’s where the motto ‘100 rooms in 100 days’ came in. We set our sights on having everything done by mid December 2022, so we could go full steam ahead in January 2023. Boom! No sooner said than done. We welcomed our first guests to the hotel in January 2023 and could even have opened at the end of December 2022 if we’d wanted to.”

Hotel concept: a four-star feel for a three-star price

Martien explains that the last-minute conversion of a number of rooms on the ground floor was the most important reason for delaying the official opening for a few weeks. “At the last minute, we decided to provide the breakfast service ourselves for the time being. We usually leave catering to La Place, a company we have a good working relationship with. But we’re still ironing out the specifics of this arrangement with the municipality at the moment.”

Our collaboration with La Place has its roots in GR8 Nederland’s philosophy: “We don’t sell leisure but a great night’s sleep.” We tell our guests that we want to be the best alternative to home. An awesome bed without the price tag. We want to show that an excellent night’s sleep is possible for less than €100 a night a four-star feel for a three-star price. Guests can head to La Place for breakfast. Where they eat in the evening? We leave that to them.”

About the collaboration with Bulsink: ‘A breath of fresh air’

Martien is positive about his collaboration with Bulsink: “Bulsink came through for us despite the whole market having ground to a halt due to the shortage of materials and people. Bulsink kept its promises right from the start and showed leadership and initiative throughout the project.”

“As everyone knows, you can always expect the unexpected to happen in construction projects. Bulsink’s creativity, flexibility and decisiveness when situations like this happen are a breath of fresh air. You can always rely on it to come up with solutions to make sure deadlines are met without compromising on quality.”

Smart solutions in repeat construction

“Everything Bulsink does shows that it knows the hospitality industry well and understands our needs. It knows what it takes to create a comfortable, luxury feel for guests. And also how to speed up the process with the smart solutions made possible by repeat construction.”

“We had two designated project managers. We could always rely on one of them being on site for us to speak to for the whole 100 days. They were constantly on top of the planning and licensing process throughout as well. In our industry, we’re expected to meet strict fire safety requirements. If you don’t keep this front of mind during construction, it can put a spanner in the works later. Bulsink sets out to meet all the various requirements right from the start and tries to exceed them wherever it can too.”

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