The Rezidor Hotel Group celebrate 50th anniversary

27 May 2010
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The company’s first hotel, the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen opened in 1960

The Rezidor Hotel Group proudly celebrate the 50th anniversary: On July 1, 1960 the company’s first hotel opened its doors – the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen – and marked the birth of Rezidor. Today, the group features 5 distinctive brands and more than 400 hotels in operation and under development with over 86,300 rooms in 62 countries across Europe, Middle East and Africa, and is one of the fastest growing hotel companies worldwide. “Rezidor has developed from a small Scandinavian group and “new kid on the block” to a renowned international player. We look back on a successful history and forward towards an exciting future – towards a further profitable growth mainly in young and emerging markets”, comments Kurt Ritter, President & CEO of Rezidor.

The world’s first designer hotel
The SAS Royal Hotel Copenhagen (today: Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Copenhagen, 260 rooms) was the world’s first designer hotel: The legendary Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971) created the look of the hotel which SAS had commissioned. Following the inauguration of a new route between the USA and Scandinavia, the airline aimed to build a complex conveniently located next to Tivoli Gardens and Copenhagen Central Station that would represent the very best of Scandinavian design, and include a luxury hotel, a travel agency and a passenger terminal. Behind the slim, elegant façade, Arne Jacobsen created an exemplar of at that time futuristic Danish design: Some of his most famous pieces of furniture were designed especially for the SAS Royal Hotel – his Egg Chairs and Swan Chairs which mark the signature style of the building have become true collector’s items around the globe. Room 606 of the hotel is still left just the way it was when Arne Jacobsen designed it, and one of the most recognizable and photographed hotels rooms in the world.

But the hotel is not only a design icon – it is also a family affair: His first and most famous General Manager was the Swiss hotelier Alberto Kappenberger who lived with his wife and children in a suite on the 20th floor for more than 20 years. His son Roy Al Kappenberger, who grew up in the hotel and started out as a piccolo when he was four years old, is managing the property today – knowing heart and soul of “his” hotel. Tribute to his father pays the Italian gourmet restaurant on the 20th floor, named Alberto K, and featuring original Jacobsen designs as well as the original cutlery from the opening of the hotel.

One of the world’s fastest growing hotel companies
The SAS Royal Hotel Copenhagen was the key to success for The Rezidor Hotel Group – in the early days known as SAS Catering & Hotels and later as SAS International Hotels (SIH). Focused on growth from the beginning, the group opened their first hotel outside Scandinavia in 1980 in Kuwait. In 1994, SIH signed a Master Franchise Agreement with Carlson Hospitality Worldwide and created the world’s first dual branded hotel chain: Radisson SAS. 1999 saw the company’s first hotel in Africa, and in 2000 the group reached the milestone of 100 hotels in operation and under development.

In 2002, Rezidor SAS Hospitality signed a further agreement with Carlson and went multi-brand – being Carlson’s franchisee for Radisson SAS, Country Inn, Park Inn and Regent in Europe, Middle East and Africa. The group’s 5th brand was created in 2005 when Rezidor signed a worldwide licence agreement with the iconic Italian fashion house Missoni for Hotel Missoni.

When SAS sold their hotel business in 2006, Rezidor became a listed company on the Stockholm Stock Exchange and got a new name: The Rezidor Hotel Group. Carlson is currently Rezidor’s biggest shareholder (50.1%). Growth is still Rezidor’s engine: In September 2007, the group reached 300 hotels in operation and under development, and in 2010 the company hit 400 properties in operation and under development. The most important markets for future business development are the emerging markets Russia/CIS and Africa where Rezidor belongs to the leading international hotel operators and manages an impressive portfolio of almost 60 hotels with over 14,400 rooms (Russia/CIS) and almost 30 hotels with over 6,100 rooms (Africa).

The longest serving CEO in the hospitality industry
The man behind Rezidor’s success story is Kurt Ritter who stands on top of the company since 1989 – he is the longest serving President & CEO in the hospitality industry. Kurt Ritter, who was born in Switzerland in 1947, spent his childhood in his parents’ hotel, and graduated from the prestigious “Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne”. His career with Rezidor started in 1976 as General Manager of the SAS Luleå Hotel in Sweden, and he took over leading positions in Kuwait and Singapore before being appointed President & CEO.

Kurt Ritter is a visionary and true gentleman. A true believer in Rezidor’s vision and mission “Yes I Can!” he is a genuine leader of people, and admired throughout the industry for his commitment in hospitality, his straightforward approach, and his charismatic and dynamic personality. He received two Honorary Doctorates and several awards such as “Corporate Hotelier of the World”, “International Hotel Investment Forum Lifetime Achievement Award” and “MKG Lifetime Achievement Award”.

Celebrate with Rezidor and the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Copenhagen!
Our 50th anniversary offer include:

Royal Room Jubilee Package

  • Package includes a stay in a Royal Club Room with panoramic view of Copenhagen
  • “606” Book – this alluring book features the works of Arne Jacobsen and the creation process of the SAS Royal Hotel – (Written by Michael Sheridan)
  • Hotel Royal DVD
  • Bottle Champagne in the room
  • Late Check Out
  • Lovely Breakfast Buffet in Alberto K Restaurant

DKK 3107 per room / Valid until December 30, 2010 / Subject to availability


Alberto K Jubilee Menu
Enjoy a unique 5 course menu with champagne and wine
A young new team has taken the helm at Alberto K bringing a new level of simplicity and lightness to the menu. Lead under Head Chef Søren Selin and Restaurant Manager & Sommelier Werner Nymo, Alberto K offers an expertly tailored menu that follows the seasons and innovatively fuses Italian influences with Danish ingredients. Alberto K has consistently been rated as one of Denmark's best restaurant and recently won high critical praise from the New York Times
DKK 1600 per person / Valid until December 30, 2010 / Subject to availability

Bar Royal – Jubilee Cocktail
A celebration in itself – featuring passion fruit, lemon, mint, vodka & champagne
DKK 100

For further information and reservations go to:



“ROOM 606” Exhibition at Copenhagen Airport – June 1 to August 31, 2010
In celebration of the 50th anniversary the SAS Business Lounge hosts a recreation of the famous room 606 of the Radisson Blu Hotel Copenhagen. The exhibition in partnership with Fritz Hansen also includes Arne Jacobsen’s Swan chair and Drop chair.



For further information, please contact:
Christiane Reiter, Director Corporate Communication
+32 2 702 9331,

Renu Snehi, Director Corporate Communication
+32 2 702 9241,