Seen by many as a pioneer in gaming and hospitality, hotel impresario, Sol Kerzner, will be remembered for his larger than life personality and his ground-breaking development of Sun City in one of the then neighbouring homelands, Bophuthatswana.

 

Today, Kerzner’s legacy lives on and Sun City is a unique family resort in the North West province of South Africa.

”In a career that spanned six decades, Sol Kerzner not only created three of the world's most successful hotel companies, but the accountant-turned-hotelier also reinvented luxury travel through an unprecedented collection of five- and six-star resorts in idyllic locations across the globe,” reads the start of a lengthy tribute to the “hospitality impresario” on the Sun International website.

Described as a “charismatic risk taker”, a “rule-breaking pioneer”, and “a trailblazer”, Kerzner had a career in the hospitality industry that started in 1962 when he left the accounting profession and bought the Astra, a small inn in Durban.

In 1969, just seven years after opening his first hotel and dinner club in downtown Durban, he formed a partnership with South African Breweries to create the Southern Sun group of hotels and casinos.

Furthermore, prior to Sun City's highly anticipated opening on December 7, 1979, Kerzner had already established a name through a suite of upmarket Durban hotels – including the launch of South Africa's first five-star hotel, the Beverly Hills, and the 450-room Elangeni & Maharani, just down the coast.

He later founded Sun International and Kerzner International. Today the hospitality magnate is renowned for redefining the scale of destination resorts across the globe.

Kerzner died early yesterday evening (March 22) at the age of 84, surrounded by his family at the family home in Leeukoppie Estate in Cape Town.