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Cesar Ritz

Cesar Ritz (23 February 1850 – 24 October 1918) was a Swiss hotelier and founder of several hotels, most famously the Hotel Ritz, in Paris and The Ritz Hotel in London. His nickname was "king of hoteliers, and hotelier to kings," and it is from his name and that of his hotels that the term ritzy derives.

Born in Niederwald, Switzerland, to a farming family, he began his career at Le Splendide, a hotel in Paris and was maître d'hôtel at Chez Voisin.

In 1878, he became the manager of the Grand Hôtel National in Lucerne and held the same position, in parallel, at the Grand Hôtel in Monaco until 1888.

Ritz’s strength was his ability to understand the needs and desires of wealthy customers and this led to him pioneering the foundations of what we would come to know as luxury hospitality.

In 1888, he opened a restaurant with Auguste Escoffier (thought of by many as the father of modern French cooking) in Baden-Baden, and the two were then invited to London by Richard D'Oyly Carte to become the first manager and chef of the Savoy Hotel.

Ritz is quoted as saying that he put together "a little army of hotel men for the conquest of London".

Under Ritz, The Savoy went from strength to strength and royalty, extremely rich clientele and the powerful could be seen frequenting the hotel and its supper rooms.

In 1898, he opened the celebrated Hôtel Ritz in the Place Vendôme, Paris, France. He went on to open The Ritz Hotel in London, United Kingdom in 1906, which became one of the most popular meeting places for the rich and famous.

The partnership lasted until Ritz had to retire in 1907 due to deteriorating health. Ritz died in Küssnacht, near Lucerne, Switzerland at the age of 68.

Many of the touches that Ritz introduced to his hotels are still standard practice in today’s modern luxury hotels. That is why he has secured his place in the Top 10 Legendary Hoteliers.

Conrad Hilton

Conrad Nicholson Hilton (December 25, 1887 – January 3, 1979) was an American businessman and investor. He is well known for being the founder of the Hilton Hotels chain. Hilton was born in San Antonio, New Mexico. His father, Augustus Halvorsen "Gus" Hilton, was an immigrant from Norway, and his devout Catholic mother, Mary Genevieve (née Laufersweiler), was an American of German descent. Hilton grew up with seven siblings: Felice A. Hilton, Eva C. Hilton, Carl H. Hilton, Julian Hilton, Rosemary J. Hilton, August H. Hilton, and Helen A. Hilton, Baron Hilton.

Hilton served Goss military (New Mexico Military Institute), and St. Michael's College (now the College of Santa Fe), and the New Mexico School of Mines (now New Mexico Tech). He was a member of the international fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon. In his early twenties, Hilton was a Republican representative in the first New Mexico Legislature, when the state was newly formed. He served two years in the U.S. Army during World War I. While he was in the army, his father was killed in a car accident.

The most enduring influence to shape Hilton's philanthropic philosophy beyond that of his parents was the Roman Catholic Church and his sisters. He credited his mother with guiding him to prayer and the church whenever he was troubled or dismayed — from a boyhood loss of a beloved pony to severe financial losses during the Great Depression. His mother continually reminded him that prayer was the best investment he would ever make.

Hilton developed his entrepreneurial flair while working as a young boy in his father’s general store in New Mexico.

He purchased his very first hotel in 1919, a 40-room property called Mobley Hotel in Texas.

The purchase of the property was a matter of chance, as originally Hitlon planned to invest his money in a bank, but the plan fell through.

Luckily it paid off, as the hotel business boomed and he expanded his portfolio across the state.

His first high rise hotel was the Dallas Hilton which he opened in 1925 before...
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