Wherever Dutch nationals seem to find themselves around the world, Ulco Gartner seems to be there supporting them. From Jakarta to New York City, we sat down to learn more about Ulco’s recent assignment in San Francisco, aided by a comfy Blueground home.
As Operations Manager for the Embassies and Consulate Generals of the Netherlands, Ulco has taken his public service career “on the road” so to speak over the past four years, living out of four suitcases and now onto his sixth assignment. It’s been a long road that this Dutch expat takes with finesse — suits and tie during the week and adventuring in jeans over the weekend — not to forget a stylishly furnished pad to boot. Blueground caught up with Ulco Gartner from his current work assignment in Venezuela to learn more about one of our valued business traveler guests, and how a furnished apartment made his long-term stay all the better.
After an assignment of 3 months in Indonesia, Ulco had only just returned back to the Netherlands when he got the call from headquarters to pack up and move to San Francisco for an operations assignment there. Having been posted around Asia and to NYC earlier, Ulco shared that he was no stranger to the wide range of corporate apartment faults – from missing lightbulbs to cramped spaces. Though such wouldn’t be the case with Blueground!
It was when a teammate helping with his relocation sent over 10 options to Ulco and a business colleague relocating with him that Ulco and his colleague first spotted the standout quality of Blueground’s San Francisco apartments. They were taken aback by the ease and seamlessness of the Blueground booking site when searching for move-in ready apartments in San Francisco. Most of all, Ulco was dazzled by the professional photography and full apartment specs of everything he came across on the site. But ultimately what stood out to him with the selection of Blueground options was the amenity of a private, in-unit washer and dryer — a specific requirement of his during the current health pandemic — effectively striking hotels and other corporate apartment providers off his list that offered a shared laundry facility. With a departure flight close on the horizon, Ulco booked into one of our Bespoke Collection apartments at 33 Tehama in San Francisco. As he waited to check in with anticipation, he was excited by the prospect of an apartment outfitted with handpicked décor from Blueground’s local design team.
It’s important to note that Ulco was arriving to his stay at a challenging time in the US. Not only was the world grappling with heightened cases of COVID-19, but the US was in the midst of protests surrounding the death of George Floyd and the awakening of the Black Lives Matter movement. As a result, cities like San Francisco had many businesses, eateries, and local attractions all boarded up and shut down. For Ulco as a corporate traveler during this time, this meant a greater need for safety and a fully-equipped living experience that would likely find him at home more than he bargained for given the limitations & closures around him. Fortunately, having booked into a central location meant that he was able to walk to the office just a few blocks away, foregoing any additional concerns about the viral transmission that may arise from being forced to rely on public transport or rideshares on his commute.
Right from the airport, Ulco arrived at the apartment and was greeted by the same sleek and clean Rincon Hill home that he had fallen in love with when studying images of it from its listing on the Blueground website. According to Ulco, and as many of us can attest to: “This is rare that the apartment matches the images!” In fact, he admits, it was even bigger in person — with a storage room to tuck away suitcases out of sight (a real luxury for the long-haul traveler on assignment).
When asked about what he’ll remember about his stay in SF with Blueground, he recalls his building’s welcoming concierge and the premium apartment furnishings (from the plush mattress to complete cooking utensils to an above-the-mark coffee machine) — just a few of the premium at-home amenities offered as part of the Blueground experience. He was also fully at ease knowing that his building followed all cleanliness and sanitation protocols including readily available disinfectant in common areas and regular common area cleanings. This was naturally a big concern for him when needing to relocate during a pandemic. Fortunately, he was beyond impressed with Blueground’s partnership with the “right kinds of buildings” that took safety to the next level. In fact, he recalls the corridors & elevators were clean and always being serviced, while masks were required by all to enter the building. It’s these little touches that have a big impact on business travelers stressed, yet required, to travel during these unprecedented times.
Despite it being a tough time for the nation and locally in SF, he managed to find moments of levity on walks around the neighborhood and to nearby Salesforce Park. As an avid photographer, Ulco keeps his travels and musing documented on two Instagram accounts — @ugartner as his photo diary, and a “photo a day” on @1per24 on which he’s visually-chronicled his work and personal travels all around the world. Ulco highlighted to us that Blueground offered precisely the comfort and safety that an employee of the Consulate needs. Blueground guests enjoy the simplicity of renewing by the month. In Ulco’s case, that meant having a fixed home for what started as a smaller stay and ended up being a happy customer who re-extended his time in the Bay Area to 5 months! With the stresses of his relocation and getting situated already dealt with, Ulco threw in a bucket list trip eastward to Memphis for a week of socially-distanced vacation to indulge in all things Elvis and American history!
With evolving lockdown orders and limited access, Blueground guests are continuing to find new value in having a turnkey accommodation that looks after their needs safely when new to a city. We pride ourselves on continually adapting our homes to show up for our discerning business travelers, work-from-anywhere corporate travelers, and long-term residents alike.
Though he doesn’t know yet where work will be taking him next after Venezuela, Ulco’s told us that he’d definitely welcome the opportunity to stay with Blueground again in one of our 13 cities worldwide. In fact, as some of his assignments can be longer-term and run for multiple months or even years, he found comfort in knowing that Blueground is a great option for long-term living, as well — taking the hassle and cost out of moving, shipping, or buying furniture when nesting in an apartment. In the meantime, we, for one, will be keeping an eye on our Instagram feeds for where this Dutch diplomat heads next, and look forward to the chance to host you again, Ulco!