May 27, 2010
The Rezidor Hotel Group proudly celebrates the 50th anniversary: On July 1, 1960 the company's first hotel opened its doors - the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen - and marked the birth of Rezidor. Today, the group features 5 distinctive brands and more than 400 hotels in operation and under development with over 86,300 rooms in 62 countries across Europe, Middle East and Africa, and is one of the fastest growing hotel companies worldwide. "Rezidor has developed from a small Scandinavian group and "new kid on the block" to a renowned international player. We look back on a successful history and forward towards an exciting future - towards a further profitable growth mainly in young and emerging markets", comments Kurt Ritter, President & CEO of Rezidor.
The world's first designer hotel
The SAS Royal Hotel Copenhagen (today: Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Copenhagen, 260 rooms) was the world's first designer hotel: The legendary Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971) created the look of the hotel which SAS had commissioned. Following the inauguration of a new route between the USA and Scandinavia, the airline aimed to build a complex conveniently located next to Tivoli Gardens and Copenhagen Central Station that would represent the very best of Scandinavian design, and include a luxury hotel, a travel agency and a passenger terminal. Behind the slim, elegant fa%uFFFDade, Arne Jacobsen created an exemplar of at that time futuristic Danish design: Some of his most famous pieces of furniture were designed especially for the SAS Royal Hotel - his Egg Chairs and Swan Chairs which mark the signature style of the building have become true collector's items around the globe. Room 606 of the hotel is still left just the way it was when Arne Jacobsen designed it, and one of the most recognizable and photographed hotels rooms in the world.
But the hotel is not only a design icon - it is also a family affair: His first and most famous General Manager was the Swiss hotelier Alberto Kappenberger who lived with his wife and children in a suite on the 20th floor for more than 20 years. His son Roy Al Kappenberger, who grew up in the hotel and started out as a piccolo when he was four years old, is managing the property today - knowing heart and soul of "his" hotel. Tribute to his father pays the Italian gourmet restaurant on the 20th floor, named Alberto K, and featuring original Jacobsen designs as well as the original cutlery from the opening of the hotel.
One of the world's fastest growing hotel companies
The SAS Royal Hotel Copenhagen was the key to success for The Rezidor Hotel Group - in the early days known as SAS Catering & Hotels and later as SAS International Hotels (SIH). Focused on growth from the beginning, the group opened their first hotel outside Scandinavia in 1980 in Kuwait. In 1994, SIH signed a Master Franchise Agreement with Carlson Hospitality Worldwide and created the world's first dual branded hotel chain: Radisson SAS. 1999 saw the company's first hotel in Africa, and in 2000 the group reached the milestone of 100 hotels in operation and under development.
In 2002, Rezidor SAS Hospitality signed a further agreement with Carlson and went multi-brand - being Carlson's franchisee for Radisson SAS, Country Inn, Park Inn and Regent in Europe, Middle East and Africa. The group's 5th brand was created in 2005 when Rezidor signed a worldwide licence agreement with the iconic Italian fashion house Missoni for Hotel Missoni.
When SAS sold their hotel business in 2006, Rezidor became a listed company on the Stockholm Stock Exchange and got a new name: The Rezidor Hotel Group. Carlson is currently Rezidor's biggest shareholder (50.1%). Growth is still Rezidor's engine: In September 2007, the group reached 300 hotels in operation and under development, and in 2010 the company hit 400 properties in operation and under development. The most important markets for future business development are the emerging markets Russia/CIS and Africa where Rezidor belongs to the leading international hotel operators and manages an impressive portfolio of almost 60 hotels with over 14,400 rooms (Russia/CIS) and almost 30 hotels with over 6,100 rooms (Africa).
The longest serving CEO in the hospitality industry
The man behind Rezidor's success story is Kurt Ritter who stands on top of the company since 1989 - he is the longest serving President & CEO in the hospitality industry. Kurt Ritter, who was born in Switzerland in 1947, spent his childhood in his parents' hotel, and graduated from the prestigious "Ecole Hoteli%uFFFDre de Lausanne". His career with Rezidor started in 1976 as General Manager of the SAS Lule%uFFFD Hotel in Sweden, and he took over leading positions in Kuwait and Singapore before being appointed President & CEO. Kurt Ritter is a visionary and true gentleman. A true believer in Rezidor's vision and mission "Yes I Can!" he is a genuine leader of people, and admired throughout the industry for his commitment in hospitality, his straightforward approach, and his charismatic and dynamic personality. He received two Honorary Doctorates and several awards such as "Corporate Hotelier of the World", "International Hotel Investment Forum Lifetime Achievement Award" and "MKG Lifetime Achievement Award."
Celebrate with Rezidor and the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Copenhagen!
Our 50th anniversary offers include:
Royal Room Jubilee Package