Olga Polizzi’s list of achievements spans more than three decades and her projects have become some of the best in the world. Growing up as the eldest of six children in the famous Forte family, hospitality has forever been a huge part of her life. Her father was Lord Forte, perhaps Britain’s best hotelier and caterer of the post-war era and the founder of the vastly successful empire that ultimately became Forte Group. Despite the group’s hostile takeover by Granada in 1996, the battle that ensued didn’t dampen Olga’s passion for her trade.
In 1996 she became design director and deputy chairman of Rocco Forte Hotels, partnering up with her brother Sir Rocco in a bid to carve their own industry legacy. Working side by side with her sibling inevitably has its challenges – “I always have to fight my corner, but at the end of the day he is the boss!” – but together they have created a portfolio of 10 luxury properties in prime tourism pockets in Europe that exude elegance, class and style.
In 2015, she won the title of Independent Hotelier of the Year at the Independent Hotel Show, an accolade she was awarded for her two own boutique hotels on the south west coast.
Hotel Endsleigh in Devon and Hotel Tresanton in Cornwall – “those little ones are especially close to my heart” – have undoubtedly proven that they live up to the legacy of their owner.
Tresanton, opened in summer 1998, led the way for Cornwall’s upmarket boutique hotel resurgence and dozens of others have sprung up since. Hosting just 30 bedrooms, every inch of the property has been given Polizzi’s Midas touch and she still has as much love for the property as she did when she opened almost 20 years ago.
Hotel Endsleigh followed in August 2005 and is the smaller sister of the two with just 16 bedrooms, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in class; Polizzi says that 2015 was the hotel’s best year yet.
Olga still very much takes an active role in both boutique hotel businesses, alongside her ongoing role with Rocco Forte Hotels, and thoroughly deserves her place in our Industry Titans category.