Sol Kerzner dies at 84
Cape Town - Sol Kerzner, the founder of the Southern Sun Hotel Group and Sun International, has died.
He was 84 years old.
Kerzner died on Saturday night surrounded by family members at the family home, Leeukoppie Estate in Cape Town. He had been suffering from cancer.
The son of Russian immigrants, Kerzner was born in Johannesburg in 1935. Trained in accounting, he entered the hospitality industry in 1962 when purchased the Astra, a small inn located in Durban.
His breakthrough project was the construction of the Beverley Hills in Umhlanga Rocks - the first five-star hotel in South Africa. Partnering with South African Breweries to establish Southern Sun Hotels, he operated 30 luxury hotels by 1983.
In 1975, Kerzner started with the creation of Sun City. A construction project that lasted ten years, the location was made up of four hotels, a man-made lake, two golf courses and a 6 000-seat arena and entertainment centre. The venue played host to various celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and Queen.
In 1994, Kerzner was asked by President Nelson Mandela to arrange the VIP function for his presidential inauguration.
Kerzner would later found the One&Only Resorts, which operates luxury properties in countries the Bahamas, Mexico, the Maldives, Mauritius, Dubai, and South Africa. In 2009, he opened the One&Only hotel at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
In 2010, he was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, with the award of the insignia Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG).
In 2014, he exited Kerzner International and retired as chairman of the company.
Ian Douglas, friend and employee of Kerzner, said in the wake of his death: “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. 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.”
Kerzner is survived by his children Andrea, Beverley, Brandon and Chantal and ten grandchildren. His eldest son, Howard ‘Butch’ Kerzner died in 2006.
He will be buried at a small, private funeral attended by only his immediate family.