New Four Seasons Opens in Toronto as Part of Global Brand Expansion
By Theresa Norton Masek
August 20, 2012 10:44 PM
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts on Oct. 5 will open a new 259-room flagship hotel in Toronto, Canada, where the company was founded more than 50 years ago. The opening is a significant milestone in a growth strategy that includes expansion in every corner of the world.
"The new Four Seasons Hotel Toronto is a showcase for the next generation of Four Seasons experiences, helping to exemplify where we're headed in the future," said Katie Taylor, president and CEO. "It gives us all a sense of pride to display the very best of Four Seasons, right here in our hometown."
Four Seasons now operators hotels on five continents in 36 countries, the result of a development strategy with focus on the destinations its guests want and need to travel. In 2011, Four Seasons signed 14 letters of intent, more than any other year in the company's history. Each new hotel that results from this process brings to life the best of the local culture, aesthetic and experiences, making each Four Seasons stay distinct and memorable.
"Our growth strategy is driven by opening the right hotel, in the right destination, which also drives the right economics for the hotel owner," said Scott Woroch, Four Seasons’ executive vice president-development. "We've never taken a cookie-cutter approach as we strive towards opening our 100th hotel and beyond in the next 10 years."
Four Seasons said China is one of the largest areas of focus for the company going forward, representing more than 20 percent of projected openings for the next four years. A new property in Guangzhou opened in July 2012, and additional hotels are slated to open in Beijing and Shanghai Pudong in the coming weeks, as well as a hotel in Shenzhen in the near future.
Four Seasons first entered Asia with the acquisition of Regent Hotels in 1992. After refining the Asian portfolio and rebranding Regent hotels to Four Seasons, the company focused on opening branded hotels in major city centers and exotic resort locations throughout the region.
Four Seasons this fall will also enter Sub-Saharan Africa, with the opening of the first of three properties -- Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti Tanzania. Located within Tanzania's Serengeti National Park, the UNESCO World Heritage Site covers 5,700 square miles. The landscape features the largest concentration of plains animals in Africa, and is acclaimed for the best game drives and abundant year-round wildlife. Other new properties are planned in Ngorongoro Conservation Area and on the island of Zanzibar.
The Middle East is another region where Four Seasons has grown significantly since the first hotel opened in Cairo in 2000. Today, it represents over 10 percent of the company's portfolio. Future properties include Four Seasons Hotel Baku, opening in September 2012, and Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, opening by the end of 2014.
In Europe, Four Seasons development has focused on historical renovations, painstakingly restoring old hotels or repurposing landmark buildings such as those in: Budapest, Paris, Milan, Florence, Geneva and Prague. Four Seasons will open in St. Petersburg in a 19th century royal palace in the next year. Other properties in the development pipeline include Moscow and Rome.
North America is where Four Seasons first got its foothold, leading to worldwide expansion. Nearly every major city in the U.S. now has a Four Seasons Hotel, with the most recent opening of Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in Santa Fe, N.M. The Americas continues to be a focus for the future with new properties planned in Toronto, Orlando, Brazil, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Four Seasons has grown from a single motor hotel in Toronto, to the leading luxury hotel company in the world with 88 hotels in 36 destinations. The company is built on a unified culture based on the Golden Rule – to treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.
"A fundamental element of our success has been our ability to find new members of the Four Seasons who share our core values in every corner of the world," said Taylor. "From Toronto, to Beijing, to Buenos Aires to St. Petersburg, our people create highly customized experiences for our guests and homeowners that have built tremendous loyalty in our brand and demand for what we offer in more and more places around the world."