Breaking Journey Information obituary: Sol Kerzner | Focus

Legendary hotelier Sol Kerzner has handed away at dwelling in Cape City following a battle with most cancers.

He was 84-years-of-age.

Over the course of a storied profession, he developed among the greatest hospitality institutions ever seen, reaching success in his native South Africa after which around the globe.

Right here Breaking Journey Information takes a glance again at his vibrant life.

The youngest of 4 youngsters, Solomon Kerzner was born in Doornfontein, Johannesburg to Lithuanian-born Jewish immigrants.

His dad and mom ran a retailer promoting fruit and greens.

A diminutive youngster, Kerzner was reportedly bullied at college and took up boxing as a type of defence.

In certainly one of his many successes, he would later turn out to be a welterweight champion, well-known for his sharp left hook.

After he matriculated from Damelin Faculty, he needed to work on vehicles, however his father, Morris, inspired him to go to school.

He graduated with honours in accounting from the College of Witwatersrand, and certified as a chartered accountant whereas working at an accounting follow.

Right here he made a small fortune, earlier than turning his eye to hospitality.

His breakthrough venture was the development of the Beverley Hills in Umhlanga Rocks – the primary five-star lodge in South Africa.

This was joined by the Elangeni & Maharani, simply down the coast.

In 1969, simply seven years after opening his first lodge and dinner membership in downtown Durban, he fashioned a partnership with South African Breweries to create the Southern Solar group – the corporate that may make him a legend.

Kerzner’s dedication to advertise luxurious journey was evident within the many five-star properties he developed throughout his tenure with Southern Solar.

As a result of inflexible apartheid gaming legal guidelines, he was compelled to look to different African international locations and in 1972 he constructed Botswana’s five-star Chobe Recreation Lodge – the place Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton spontaneously tied the knot on what was speculated to be a two-day go to to the bush retreat.

Within the mid-1970s, when overseas funding in South Africa had reached an all-time low, Kerzner broke into the Mauritian market, opening the five-star Le Saint Géran Resort in 1975.

All the time one step forward of the sport, Kerzner’s transfer proved to be profitable and gave Southern Solar the monetary increase it wanted for his “breakout improvement”.

Again in South Africa, negotiations with the tribal council of Bophuthatswana would flip in his favour and, as soon as the gaming licence was in place, Solar Metropolis improvement started.

In 1979, there was an enormous buzz round Kerzner’s “pleasure paradise within the Pilanesberg” and on its opening weekend, 15,000 individuals crammed by Solar Metropolis’s gates to pattern South Africa’s richest resort.

It was an enormous endeavor for a hotelier in these days, however the gamble paid off, catapulting Kerzner into the limelight and reinforcing his aspirations to inject some glamour into the South African lodge trade.

Solar Metropolis was not solely an architectural feat, however the resort additionally symbolised Kerzner’s obsession to push the boundaries and indulge his visitors’ wildest fantasies.

For a “numbers man”, he had an unbelievable creativeness and Solar Metropolis confirmed him simply how far he might push the bounds.

Though lengthy hours and a jet-setting life-style triggered a near-fatal coronary heart assault in 1980, Kerzner was again at work two weeks later to start plans on the three-star Aloe Ridge lodge, in addition to on a brand new casino-resort on South Africa’s majestic Wild Coast.

Plans have been additionally finalised to construct a 6 000-seater leisure area with the imaginative and prescient of bringing the world’s greatest superstars to the Solar Metropolis stage.

Regardless of boycotts by the worldwide group, Solar Metropolis’s star energy pulled the crowds with its line-up of headline-making acts – Dolly Parton, Eric Clapton, Sting, Queen, Elton John, Liberace, Michael Jackson, Shirley Bassey, The Seaside Boys, Linda Ronstadt and Liza Minnelli, to call a number of.

However this additionally triggered Solar Metropolis to turn out to be an notorious byword for apartheid internationally.

So as to add to the expertise, he bolstered Solar Metropolis’s resort enchantment with the addition of an 18-hole golf course, designed by long-time pal and {golfing} legend Gary Participant, two extra inns (the Cascades and the Cabanas), a man-made lake for watersports, and Africa’s first mono-rail, the Skytrain, which nonetheless operates at the moment.

The hotelier’s fastidious consideration to element spilled into each a part of Solar Metropolis’s ten-year improvement and, at a time when playing and topless revue reveals have been banned in South Africa, Solar Metropolis’s “glamorous sheen” captured the creativeness of entertainment-hungry South Africans.

As recorded within the scintillating business, Solar Metropolis encapsulated the hedonistic spirit of the 1980s.

If Solar Metropolis was all about decadence and escapism, Kerzner made certain he crammed the resort with the perfect experiences and occasions that cash might purchase.

Though Solar Metropolis was developed as a part of the Southern Solar group in 1979, it was the most important asset within the portfolio of casinos and inns that Kerzner would retain earlier than leaving the corporate to launch Solar Worldwide in 1983.

In 1984, after efficiently itemizing Solar Worldwide on the Johannesburg Inventory Change, he raised the capital to fund Solar Metropolis’s first five-star lodge – the R50-million Cascades.

That 12 months, Solar Worldwide opened Lesotho Solar within the Basotho Kingdom (now Lesotho) and, as gaming licences turned obtainable within the surrounding homelands, the growth continued with the opening of Morula Solar, Fish River Solar and Naledi Solar in 1989.

Namibia’s Kalahari Sands Resort and On line casino adopted in 1990, and Carousel On line casino was added to the portfolio in 1991.

By the tip of the last decade Solar Metropolis had cemented itself as a world-class vacation vacation spot and with matters heading in the right direction, Kerzner turned his consideration to his subsequent venture: a 338-room luxurious lodge constructed round 25-hectares of unique jungle and designed to encourage the thriller of a misplaced civilisation.

As certainly one of Kerzner’s biggest architectural accomplishments, the Palace of the Misplaced Metropolis oozed African opulence, with its lavish interiors, domestically crafted furnishings and painted by hand foyer ceiling that was designed to resemble Rome’s Sistine Chapel.

Kerzner by no means took his eye off the ball operationally and on larger properties like Solar Metropolis, he labored tirelessly to redefine service requirements within the lodge trade.

From the concierge to the croupier, he demanded excellence from the individuals he employed and made certain they supported his imaginative and prescient to maintain the visitors guessing.

“The problem is to get individuals to decide to the concept of blowing the shopper away by giving them an expertise forward of what they count on,” he famously mentioned.

Though Kerzner branched out of the South African market within the late 1980s, it was solely after the opening of the Misplaced Metropolis that he seized his subsequent alternative: to salvage a bankrupt improvement within the Bahamas.

After the acquisition of Paradise Island Resort for US$125 million in 1994, Kerzner launched an enormous redevelopment programme, demolishing many of the property to make method for 2 inns, a 60-hectare themed waterpark and a on line casino.

Following the opening of the Royal Towers in 1998, Kerzner rebranded Paradise Island – and launched his new suite of luxurious resorts – Atlantis.

Many acquisitions ensued and in 1996, following the launch of Atlantis within the Bahamas, Kerzner opened the vastly profitable Mohegan Solar On line casino in Connecticut, USA, by a joint partnership with the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut.

A 1,200-room lodge was added to the on line casino complicated 4 years later.

By now, the lodge magnate had turn out to be famend for redefining the size of vacation spot resorts and, following the success of his efforts abroad, in 2002, Kerzner launched his second luxurious resort assortment, One&Solely Resorts.

As he expanded the attain of the One&Solely and Atlantis manufacturers to main vacationer locations, Kerzner sought the recommendation of his eldest son, Howard (affectionately referred to as Butch), who took over as chief government of the corporate in 2003.

Butch’s urge for food for threat matched his father’s and developments in Singapore, London and Dubai have been being finalised below his tenure as management of Kerzner Worldwide Holdings.

Tragically, in October 2006, Kerzner’s presumptive inheritor was killed in a helicopter accident within the Dominican Republic.

This was a devastating blow for the elder hotelier as “the corporate would by no means turn out to be a household enterprise”.

In 2008, as a part of an enormous US$1.5-billion joint-venture with the Dubai-based Istithmar World, Kerzner honoured his son’s legacy with the opening of Atlantis, the Palm – a 1,539-room lodge comprising a seven-hectare waterpark on Dubai’s prestigious Palm Jumeirah Island.

To open his Dubai showstopper, Kerzner spent US$20 million – the biggest quantity ever spent on a lodge launch – for a night that included performances by buddies Stevie Surprise, Michael Jackson and Natalie Cole, in addition to a fireworks show by the corporate that lit up the 2008 Beijing Summer time Olympics.

In 2009, Kerzner made his South African comeback with the opening of the six-star One&Solely lodge at Cape City’s V&A Waterfront.

The lodge price US$128 million to construct and opened six months forward of schedule to cater for the inflow of vacationers attending the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

To cap it off, that 12 months, Kerzner obtained information that he had been included on Queen Elizabeth’s honours listing and was awarded the Insignia of knight commander of essentially the most distinguished order of St Michael and St George for his contribution to enterprise and the group of the Bahamas.

Throughout Kerzner’s 18-year tenure because the chairman of Kerzner Worldwide Holdings, the corporate loved large development of the One&Solely and Atlantis manufacturers in unique areas, from the Maldives and Mexico to Montenegro and Mauritius.

Though Kerzner stepped down for the second time as chairman of the corporate in 2012, he emerged from semi-retirement a 12 months later, partnering with a privately owned Asian firm to convey Atlantis to the South China Sea.

The US$1.eight billion resort is taken into account Kerzner’s final contribution to the trade earlier than he took the choice to retire in London.

He stepped down for good in 2014 after the Funding Company of Dubai took a sizeable stake in Kerzner Worldwide.

Following his loss of life, a spokesman for Kerzner Worldwide mentioned: “Sol was a visionary pioneer, inventing the idea of leisure vacation spot resorts, first with Solar Metropolis in South Africa after which with the enduring Atlantis resorts around the globe.

“As well as, he originated bespoke luxurious resorts, with the introduction of One&Solely, a philosophy of distinctive, genuine, ultra-luxury experiences with real service from the guts.

“He not solely constructed resorts, he constructed locations, all the time discovering the perfect location for his imaginative and prescient and celebrating every nation wherein we function.”

They added: “Sol was additionally an unbelievable chief.

“He related with each crew member and challenged us to turn out to be innovators and entrepreneurs.

“His boundless power and fervour impressed 1000’s of colleagues across the globe.

“Whereas he retired as chairman of Kerzner Worldwide in 2014, we’re proud to honour his immense legacy.”

Kerzner was married 4 occasions.

He had three youngsters – Butch (Howard), Andrea, and Beverly – along with his first spouse, Maureen.

Two youngsters – Brandon and Chantal – have been born from his marriage along with his second spouse, Shirley.

In 1980, he married Miss World 1974, Anneline Kriel.

They divorced in 1985.

He bought engaged to mannequin Christina Estrada within the late 1990s, however ended up marrying her pal Heather Murphy as a substitute, in 2000.

They divorced in 2011.

Kerzner is survived by his youngsters Andrea, Beverley, Brandon and Chantal and ten grandchildren.

He shall be buried at a small, non-public funeral attended by solely his instant household.




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