South African hotelier and ‘visionary’ Sol Kerzner dies aged 84

South African business magnate Sol Kerzner, founder of One&Only Resorts and Southern Sun Hotels, has died from cancer aged 84.

Kerzner was widely credited for redefining the scope and scale of destination resorts, as well as driving the growth of the hotel sector in South Africa.

His career in the industry began with the acquisition of the Astra Hotel in Durban in 1962, before going on to build South Africa’s first five-star hotel, the Beverly Hills hotel.

Kerzner went on to establish at least 80 hotel and casino properties in more than 12 countries over a career spanning six decades.

His crowning glory was the development of Sun City in 1979, a 10-year project in South Africa which encompassed four hotels, a man-made lake, two golf courses and an entertainment centre with a 6,000-seat indoor arena.

“Sol was someone who possessed a rare combination of creative genius, uncanny financial acuity and an astonishing energy, which he poured into every business he touched,” said Ian Douglas, a friend and employee at Kerzner’s various companies for 20 years.

“Nothing he built was ever boring and he never chased the money. He only chased success. He was always trailblazing, always in pursuit of bigger, better, new, different, more exacting and exciting projects around the globe.”