Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Four Seasons Hotels Limited, trading as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, is an international luxury hotel and resort company[3] headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[4] Four Seasons currently operates 124 hotels and resorts worldwide.[5] Since 2007, Bill Gates (through Cascade Investment) and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal (through Kingdom Holding Company) have been majority owners of the company.[6] In January 2022, Cascade Investment will own 71.25% of the stake and Kingdom Holding Company will have 23.75%.[7]

Four Seasons Hotels Limited
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
TypePrivate
IndustryHospitality
Founded21 March 1961; 61 years ago (1961-03-21)
FounderIsadore Sharp
Headquarters,
Canada
Number of locations
124 properties in 47 countries
Key people
Bill Gates
Isadore Sharp (chairman)
John Davison (CEO)
RevenueIncrease US$4.3 billion (2015)[1]
OwnerCascade Investment
Kingdom Holding Company
Triples Holding
Number of employees
45,000 (2018)[2]
Websitewww.fourseasons.com

HistoryEdit

Canadian businessman Isadore Sharp founded Four Seasons in 1960. While a young architect working for his father, Sharp designed a motel for a family friend; its success motivated him to try creating his own hotel. He bought a large parcel of land in a run-down area of Toronto and planned a stopover for business travelers; the Four Seasons Motor Hotel opened in 1961 with initial investors, Murray Koffler, Fred Eisen, and Eddie Creed.[8]

Four Seasons built more hotels, including the 1963 Inn on the Park, a $4 million two-story resort hotel in suburban Toronto that housed Canada's first discothèque.[9][10]

Upscale luxury became part of the brand when the company expanded to London. When a developer approached Four Seasons about building a hotel in London, Sharp planned it to compete with the city's old-world, elite hotels, such as Claridge's and The Connaught.[4] The Inn on the Park hotel in London opened in 1970.[5]

The lead consultant was the architecture firm Aedas.[11]

In 1974, cost overruns at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver nearly led the company into bankruptcy. As a result, the company began shifting to its current, management-only business model, eliminating costs associated with buying land and buildings. The company went public in 1986.[5] In the 1990s, Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton began direct competition, with Ritz-Carlton emphasizing a uniform look while Four Seasons emphasized local architecture and styles with uniform service; in the end Four Seasons gained market share.[5]

Built in 1986,[12][13] Four Seasons Hotel Austin is a nine-story hotel on 2.3 acres of land on the Lady Bird Lake's north shore.[14] In 1997, Four Seasons Hotel Austin became the first hotel to have "a high-speed wireless Internet network" after Wayport, Inc. set it up there for testing wireless Internet networks.[15] The hotel hosted Queen Elizabeth II in 1991 when she visited Texas.[16] It was acquired by Anbang Insurance Group from the Blackstone Group for $359.7 million in 2016.[14]

Economic downturns in the early and mid-2000s affected the company. When the September 11 attacks caused the collapse of the travel industry, Four Seasons refused to cut room prices in order to preserve the perceived value of the brand, which caused tension with property owners who were losing money.[5] The company recovered, and in 2007 it agreed to a buyout by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia for $3.8 billion.[17] The pair own 95 percent of the company, in equal shares, and Sharp owns the rest.[5]

Challenges returned again during the financial crisis of 2007–2010. The company made the first corporate layoffs in its history, cutting 10% of its Toronto workforce.[5] In April 2010, after a year-long dispute with Broadreach Capital Partners and Maritz, Wolff & Co., owners of the Aviara resort near San Diego, an arbitration panel ruled that, while both parties contributed to the demise of the business relationship, Four Seasons had not violated its management agreement. The arbitrators ordered Broadreach to pay Four Seasons to terminate the contract."[18] The resort is no longer a Four Seasons.

Four Seasons has continued to add more hotels and resorts to its portfolio, notably in China. It opened a new hotel in Hangzhou in 2010 and Guangzhou, Beijing, and a second property in Shanghai in 2012. In India, it has one hotel in Mumbai.[19] In 2013, it opened its first hotel in Russia in the Lobanov-Rostovsky Palace in St. Petersburg, and later opened a second hotel in Moscow. In Indonesia, it has one hotel in Jakarta and another two in Bali.

 
Four Seasons Place together with a 6-storey atrium mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In October 2012, Four Seasons opened a new 259 room Toronto hotel in Yorkville, designed by internationally known design firm Yabu Pushelberg. The hotel includes an upscale restaurant led by celebrity chef Daniel Boulud. It was hailed by The Globe and Mail as "the renewal of an iconic Canadian brand in its hometown".[20] The penthouse was bought by entrepreneur Robert Österlund (founder of Xacti, LLC and Inbox.com) for a Canadian record price of over $28 million.[21]

In 2009, founder Sharp wrote a memoir titled Four Seasons: The Story of Business Philosophy. It contained a historical chronicle of the hotels since its inception.[22]

In September 2021, Cascade announced it will increase its existing 47.5% stake to 71.25% by purchasing, for $2.21 billion in cash, half of the existing 47.5% stake owned by the Saudi Kingdom Holding Company (KHC).[23]

Business modelEdit

 
Four Seasons Hotel in Amman

Four Seasons does not own any of its properties;[24] it operates them on behalf of real estate owners and developers. For example, its New York Downtown hotel/residence is owned by Silverstein Properties, and its Las Vegas hotel is part of the Mandalay Bay complex. The contracts between Four Seasons and property owners typically permit the company to participate in the design of the property and run it with nearly total control over every aspect of the operation.[5]

Four Seasons generally earns three percent of the gross income and about five percent of profits from the properties it operates, and the property owners are required to additionally contribute money for chain-wide sales, marketing and reservations systems. Four Seasons hotels have larger staffs than competing chains, and the company maintains separate reserve accounts for each hotel to cover upkeep costs. Profit margins are relatively low, but the brand attracts developers through the hotels' reputation as solid assets for loan collateral or resale.[5] Four Seasons also produces a complimentary magazine for guests that is supported by advertising revenue. Four Seasons has a fractional ownership division, Four Seasons Residence Clubs.

Residential rentalsEdit

 
Interior of the Four Seasons Hotel and Resort in Macau
 
Four Seasons Hotel in Florence, in the historic Palazzo della Gherardesca

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts began offering vacation rentals in June 2014. Titled Residential Rentals, the properties are available in: North America (Costa Rica, Houston, Jackson Hole, Nevis, Punta Mita, San Diego, Whistler, Vail). Africa (Marrakech, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sharm El Sheikh), Europe (Cap-Ferrat) and Asia (Jimbaran Bay, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui).

Residential Rentals provide the same services as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in a residential setting. Customers are mainly multi-generational vacationers and small group travellers.[25]

The first stand alone Four Seasons Private Residences opened in London at 20 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair in July 2019. It will be the third Four Seasons venue in London.[26]

LocationsEdit

North AmericaEdit

Four Seasons has a total of 48 hotels in North America.

# Hotel Location Opening Year Hotel Name Ref(s)
Minneapolis, Minnesota 2022 Four Seasons Hotel and Residences [27]
West End, Anguilla 2016 Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla [28]
Atlanta, Georgia 1992 Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta
Austin, Texas 2010 Four Seasons Hotel Austin
Nassau, Bahamas 2017 The Ocean Club [29]
Baltimore, Maryland 2011 Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore [30]
Boston, Massachusetts 1985 Four Seasons Hotel Boston
Boston, Massachusetts 2019 Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street [31]
Chicago, Illinois 1989 Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
Dallas, Texas 1986 Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas
Denver, Colorado 2010 Four Seasons Hotel Denver
Hualālai, Hawaii 1996 Four Seasons Resort Hualālai
Lanai, Hawaii 1991 Four Seasons Resort Lanai
Lanai, Hawaii 2019 Sensei Lanai [32]
Maui, Hawaii 1990 Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
Ko Olina, Hawaii 2016 Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina [33]
Houston, Texas 1982 Four Seasons Hotel Houston
Jackson Hole, Wyoming 2003 Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole
Las Vegas, Nevada 1999 Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas
Los Angeles, California 1987 Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills, California 1928 Beverly Wilshire
Westlake Village, California 2006 Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village
Baja California Sur, Mexico 2019 Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas [34]
Mexico City, Mexico 1994 Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City
Miami, Florida 2003 Four Seasons Hotel Miami
Surfside, Florida 2017 Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club [35]
Montreal, Quebec 2019 Four Seasons Hotel Montreal [36]
Calistoga, California 2021 Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley [37]
Nevis, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1991 Four Seasons Resort Nevis
New Orleans, Louisiana 2021 Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans [38]
New York, New York 1993 Four Seasons Hotel New York
New York, New York 2016 Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown [39]
Orlando, Florida 2014 Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort [40]
Palm Beach, Florida 1994 Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
East Palo Alto, California 2006 Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 2019 Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center [41]
Punta Mita, Mexico 1999 Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita
Carlsbad, California 1998 Four Seasons Residence Club San Diego, Aviara
San Francisco, California 2001 Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco
San Francisco, California 2020 Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero [42]
Santa Barbara, California 1927 Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore
Santa Fe, New Mexico 2012 Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado
Scottsdale, Arizona 1999 Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
Seattle, Washington 2008 Four Seasons Hotel Seattle
St. Louis, Missouri 2008 Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis
Toronto, Ontario 2012 Four Seasons Hotel Toronto [43]
Vail, Colorado 2010 Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail [44]
Washington, DC 1979 Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC
Whistler, British Columbia 2004 Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler

Central and South AmericaEdit

Four Seasons has a total of 4 hotels in Central and South America.[45]

# Hotel Location Opening Year Hotel Name Ref(s)
1 Buenos Aires, Argentina
1992
Hotel Buenos Aires [46]
2 Papagayo Peninsula, Costa Rica
2004
Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo [47]
3 Bogota, Colombia
2015
Hotel Casa Medina Bogota [48]
4 Bogotá, Colombia
2016
Hotel Bogota [49]

EuropeEdit

Four Seasons has a total of 20 hotels in Europe.[50]

  Also offers private luxury residences.[51]
# Hotel Location Opening Year Hotel Name Ref(s)
1 London, United Kingdom
1970
Hotel London at Park Lane
2 Milan, Italy
1993
Hotel Milano
3 Istanbul, Turkey
1996
Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet
4 Lisbon, Portugal
1998
Hotel Ritz
5 Paris, France
1999
Hotel George V
6 Prague, Czech Republic
2001
Hotel Prague
7 Budapest, Hungary
2004
Hotel Gresham Palace
8 Hampshire, United Kingdom
2005
Hotel Hampshire
9 Geneva, Switzerland Hotel des Bergues
10 Florence, Italy
2008
Hotel Firenze
11 Istanbul, Turkey Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus
12 Baku, Azerbaijan
2012
Hotel Baku
13 Saint Petersburg, Russia
2013
Hotel Lion Palace
14 Moscow, Russia
2014
Hotel Moscow
15 French Riviera
2015
Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat
16 London, United Kingdom
2017
Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square
17 Megève, France Hotel Megève
18 Athens, Greece
2019
Astir Palace Hotel
19 Megève, France Les Chalets du Mont d'Arbois
20 Madrid, Spain
2020
Four Seasons Hotel Madrid
21 Taormina, Italy
2021
San Domenico Palace, Taormina, a Four Seasons Hotel

Middle East and AfricaEdit

Four Seasons has a total of 22 hotels in the Middle East and Africa.[50]

  Also offers private luxury residences.[51]
# Hotel Location Opening Year Hotel Name Ref(s)
1 Cairo, Egypt
2000
Hotel Cairo at the First Residence
2 Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
2002
Resort Sharm El Sheikh
3 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2003
Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre
4 Amman, Jordan Hotel Amman
5 Cairo, Egypt
2004
Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
6 Doha, Qatar
2005
Hotel Doha
7 Alexandria, Egypt
2007
Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano
8 Mauritius
2008
Resort Mauritius at Anahita
9 Mahé, Seychelles
2009
Resort Seychelles
10 Beirut, Lebanon
2010
Hotel Beirut
11 Marrakech, Morocco
2011
Resort Marrakech
12 Arusha, Tanzania
2012
Safari Lodge Serengeti
13 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
2014
Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach
14 Johannesburg, South Africa Hotel the Westcliff Johannesburg
15 Manama, Bahrain
2015
Hotel Bahrain Bay
16 Casablanca, Morocco Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca
17 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
2016
Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre
18 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Hotel Abu Dhabi at Maryah Island
19 Kuwait City, Kuwait
2017
Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya
20 Tunis, Tunisia Hotel Tunis
21 Desroches Island, Seychelles
2018
Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island

Asia and PacificEdit

Four Seasons has a total of 25 hotels in Asia and the Pacific region.[93]

  Also offers private luxury residences.[51]
# Hotel Location Opening Year Hotel Name Ref(s)
1 Sydney, Australia
1982
Hotel at Sydney
2 Singapore
1994
Hotel Singapore
3 Chiang Mai, Thailand
1995
Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai
4 Kaafu Atoll, Maldives
1998
Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa
5 Marunouchi, Tokyo, Japan
2002
Four Seasons Tokyo
6 Otemachi, Tokyo, Japan
7 Hong Kong
2005
Four Seasons Hotel and Place Hong Kong
8 Langkawi, Malaysia Hotel and Resort Langkawi
9 Mumbai, India
2006
Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai
10 Landaa Giraavaru, Maldives Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
11 Macau
2008
Four Seasons Hotel Macao at Cotai Strip
12 Bora Bora, French Polynesia Islands Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
13 Hangzhou, China
2010
Hotel Hangzhou at West lake
14 Beijing, China
2012
Four Seasons Hotel Beijing
15 Guangzhou, China Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou
16 Shenzhen, China
2013
Hotel Shenzhen
17 Seoul, South Korea
2015
Four Seasons Hotel Seoul
18 Jakarta, Indonesia
2016
Hotel at Capital Place
19 Tianjin, China
2016
Four Seasons Tower
20 Hoi An, Vietnam Four Seasons Resort Hoi An, The Nam Hai
21 Kyoto, Japan
2017
Hotel and Resort Kyoto
22 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2018
Hotel and Shoppes at Four Seasons Place KL
23 Bangalore, India
2019
Hotel Bengaluru at Embassy One
24 Bangkok, Thailand
2020
Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River

Future propertiesEdit

# Hotel Location Opening Year Hotel Name Ref(s)
1 Fort Lauderdale, USA
2022
Four Seasons Hotel And Residences Fort Lauderdale

Critical receptionEdit

Travel + Leisure magazine and Zagat Survey rank the hotel chain's properties among the top luxury hotels worldwide.[119][120] Readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine have voted Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, Thailand as among the top ten hotels in the world for three consecutive years.[121] The company has been named one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" by Fortune every year since the survey's inception in 1998, ranking No. 47 in 2015,[122] and is lauded for having one of the lowest employee turnover rates in the hospitality industry.[122][123]

In recent years, restaurants at Four Seasons hotels and resorts have been recognized by Zagat and Michelin. The latter has awarded a total of 29 stars to 20 of the company's restaurants, including Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong (three restaurants), Paris (three restaurants), Beijing (two restaurants) and Florence.[124]

The company has been recognized by Forbes Travel Guide with many of its properties earning a Forbes Five Star rating. In 2021, 61 properties received the five-star rating, making it the most five-star ratings earned by any hotel brand since its inception.

PhilanthropyEdit

The company and its hotels and resorts have been involved in a number of philanthropic programs, with a focus on supporting sustainability, building communities, and advancing cancer research. Four Seasons was one of the founders of the Terry Fox Run in 1981,[125] which has since grown into the world's largest single day cancer fundraiser, with events around the world every September. To date, the Terry Fox Run has raised more than CAD 750 million.[126]

In 2001, Four Seasons Resort Maldives started collaborating with the local environmental organization Seamarc/Marine savers, which has set up a program of reimplantation of coral in damaged areas.[127] Thousands of guest-sponsored "coral frames" have been transplanted in Kuda Hurra and Landaa Giraavaru resorts' reefs, and are under survey by marine scientists; they constitute a refuge for thousands of tropical species, and help to preserve and recover fragile ecosystems.

On June 19, 2002, the Canadian Opera Company announced Four Seasons Hotels as the naming donor for the COC's new Opera House, also home to the National Ballet of Canada, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, located in Toronto, Ontario.[128]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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Cascade Investment affiliate to acquire controlling stake in Four Seasons for $2.21B

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