100 World Class South Africans: Sol Kerzner

2013-06-20 12:00

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The visionary

In 2010 the Queen knighted Sol Kerzner for his contribution to the community and business in the Bahamas.

He resurrected the island nation’s failing megaresort, Atlantis Paradise Island, and also opened his One&Only The Ocean Club there.

But Kerzner’s contribution stretches beyond Caribbean beaches.

This is the Sun King, the billionaire hotelier from Troyeville who brought us Sun City and the Lost City; whose Atlantis The Palm resort anchors the $52-billion manmade archipelago (visible from space) in Dubai; who also has luxury hotels and casinos in Mauritius, Mexico, the Maldives, Morocco and,soon, China.

This is the man who had a palm tree moved two feet because it spoilt the symmetry of a view.

Mandela said he is ‘by far the greatest entrepreneur in this country’s tourist business’.

Although he has stepped down as CEO of Kerzner International (he is still chairman), he remains a pugnacious perfectionist, charismatic charmer and part magician, known for bouncing back.

Closely connected to Hollywood high-fliers, his parties are legendary and his personal life remains fodder for gossip columns.

At 77, Kerzner’s still got it: ‘We’ve set the standard. Now we must outdo ourselves – over and over again.’

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