Shaper: Sir Rocco Forte

Sir Rocco Forte is the Chairman and Co-Founder of luxury hotel brand, Rocco Forte Hotels.

With his grandfather and father in the hospitality business, Rocco’s approach to customers was shaped at an early age – treat guest differently because they are individuals. From spending school holidays working across his father’s company, the Forte Hotel and Restaurant business – later Trust House Forte, Rocco joined the Forte Group in 1969, succeeding his father as Chairman in 1992.

Following a takeover by leisure and media company Granada in 1996 that took away their right to use the Forte name commercially, Rocco and his sister, Olga Polizzi (Deputy Chairman and Director of Design at Rocco Forte Hotels), set about building a new business, RF Hotels, targeting the high-end hotel market. In 1997, the pair bought back The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh from Granada and 10 years later, the Forte rights were returned and the business was renamed Rocco Forte Hotels.


“The thing I am most proud of is the culture that we’ve created in the company.”

“There is a lot of hard work involved and a huge attention to detail in delivering the guest experience during their stay at a hotel.”

“Various departments have to work effectively for the guest experience to be a perfect one.”

“I am quite happy to debate things.”

“If you own a business, it becomes your life.”

“Family is the bedrock of society.”

“You have to have a sense of determination and ability to want to overcome difficulties when they are presented.”

“I don’t think anybody should come into this industry if they don’t love it.”

“Unless you the passion and belief that you want to deliver, it is very difficult to do the job properly.”

“I visit each of my hotels at least twice a year to satisfy myself that what is being done is correct and within the standards and philosophy of the company.”