Hans Enderle, founder and past chairperson of the City Lodge Group, died on November 9 at the age of 77, as a result of complications after surgery.
Swiss-born Enderle’s career in hotels started at age 15 with his training to be a chef, but he soon turned to hotel management at the Hotel School in Lausanne, Switzerland. He took up the post of receptionist at the Langham Hotel in Johannesburg in 1959, earning a princely R100 per month.
Enderle returned to SA in 1970 for the launch of the Holiday Inn chain, rising to chairman of the group in 1983. In 1985, when Rennies sold Holiday Inn to Southern Sun, Hans bought a property with the Mines Pension Fund and launched the City Lodge Hotel Group in 1985, introducing the concept of select services hotels to South Africa. With the opening of City Lodge Randburg, guests instantly took to the concept of a hotel that lived by the principle of TLC (tip top, loving, clean), and the brand, which has become a household name in SA, was launched.
The Town Lodge and Road Lodge brands were next, and a listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange was followed by the acquisition of the four-star Courtyard Hotels.
Enderle stepped down as ceo of the Group in 1994, retiring and relocating to Somerset West in the Cape.
City Lodge Hotel Group ceo, Andrew Widegger, says Enderle’s passion for the hospitality industry and his ability to revolutionise it with new accommodation concepts in an ever-changing marketplace was extraordinary.
Clifford Ross, former CEO of the Group, says Enderle was a humble man who touched the lives of many. “Hans was a pioneer who disrupted and shaped the industry in South Africa. He employed me in 1987 and was my mentor. He led with humility, kindness, passion and great entrepreneurial spirit. We walked a long road together. He inspired a certain culture in City Lodge Group, led by family values and it lives on to this day.”
Enderle is survived by his wife Barbara, his children Stephen and Julie and three grandchildren.