Chairman & CEO of Kerzner International
|Sol Kerzner is chairman and CEO of Kerzner International, a leading developer and operator of premier destination resorts, casino and luxury hotels in Mauritius, Dubai, the Maldives, Mexico and the Bahamas.
Kerzner, a South Africa native, graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and quickly joined an accounting firm, soon becoming a junior partner.
In 1960, Kerzner purchased The Palace Hotel in Durban, South Africa, and later acquired The Beverly Hills Hotel, which became the first five-star hotel in South Africa. After building the 450-room Elangeni, he established Southern Sun Hotels, which became South Africa's leading hotel and resort company. In 1975, Kerzner opened his first international hotel, Le Saint Geran, in the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.
While in South Africa, Kerzner developed Sun City, the most ambitious resort development in Africa. This project, which was located in rural South Africa, included the development of four hotels, a man-made lake, two golf courses, an entertainment center with an indoor 6,000-seat arena, over 1 million hand-planted trees, a casino, two golf courses, and a series of water rides and attractions. At the time of Kerzner's induction into the Hall of Honor, Sun City attracted more than 3 million visitors annually.
After the country's game reserve, Sun City is the second most visited destination for international tourists.
In 1994, Kerzner made his first major acquisition outside South Africa—Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas, a 1,150-room resort and casino that had fallen into bankruptcy. Kerzner launched a major re-development and expansion program, turning the property into a 2,300-room resort and casino that also includes the world's largest man-made marine habitat, the largest casino entertainment center and other attractions, making it the one of the most successful resorts in the world. On Paradise Island, the company also operates a 106-room luxury hotel resort, the Ocean Club. This exclusive luxury hotel resort was expanded in 2000 to include new rooms and suites, a private residential community and an 18-hole golf course.
In October 1996, Kerzner opened the Mohegan Sun gaming resort in Connecticut, occupying 240 acres on the Thames River. This was as a result of negotiating a unique agreement with the Mohegan Indian Nation. Later, the property was expanded through a $1 billion investment and is now one of the two largest gaming and entertainment resorts in the United States.
Kerzner International went on to expand its luxury hotel portfolio, developing properties in Mauritius, Dubai, the Maldives and Mexico.
Kerzner was the first non-American to be inducted into the U.S. Gaming Hall of Fame. He also was recognized with a lifetime achievement by the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa, South Africa's major tourism agency.