Forte Village Resort was founded by Charles Forte in 1970 and fell into the hands of Italian investors after Forte’s death in 2007. The resort is now directed by Lorenzo Giannuzzi.
Italian-born British entrepreneur, Charles Carmine Forte, born on 26th November, 1908, was already managing a family food business at 21. Five years later in 1934, he opened a small milk bar in central London. It didn’t take long before he was able to grow his business to include a number of other restaurants. He bagged various lucrative catering contracts including multiple government contracts, all the catering at the Festival of Britain in 1951, and airline catering at Heathrow Airport.
Lord Forte bought his first hotel, London’s Waldorf, in 1958, and four years later, his company was listed on the market. He opened the only motorway service in Britain at the time, acknowledging that highway travellers needed to be taken care of.
In 1968, Forte’s company made a huge acquisition of international hotels when it took over the Plaza Athenee, the George V, and the Tremoille. Exhibiting his passion for the tourism sector, Lord Forte became the founding member of the London Tourist Board.
In 1970, Forte Holdings and Trust Houses Group merged into Trust House which became a vast international enterprise that included highway service centres, restaurants, airport caterers, breweries, wine merchants, and a string of accommodations ranging from a modest motel chain to luxury hotels. Forte remained the CEO from 1971 to 1982 when he became chairman and his son, Rocco, became CEO. In 1993, full control of the company was passed to Rocco.
By 1995, Forte Group had 97,000 rooms in 940 hotels and over 600 restaurants to its name. In 1996, Trust House Forte was acquired by the British media giant Granada for £3.9 billion, leaving the family with about £350 million in cash.
Forte died in his sleep in his London home on 28th February, 2007, aged 98. He is buried in West Hampstead Cemetery. Lord Forte was knighted in 1970 and was awarded life peerage in 1982. He is a Knight of the Grand Cross of the Italian Republic and was handed a special Papal Medal by Pope Pious XII.
After Forte’s death in 2007, Forte Village Resort was acquired by Italian investors. Soon after, the company expanded and opened Eleganzia Hotels & Resorts, a luxury hotel. This was to be the first of other luxury brands to be based on the mastery of the holiday village. The company has since been sold and resold a few times. However, the core values have remained the same as the previous owners were not just buying a resort but a full operating management company.
The resort is now managed by Lorenzo Giannuzzi, who is the CEO and General Manager. The resort has continued to thrive under its current management, having bagged numerous world travel awards over the years.
Giannuzzi compares Forte Village to Coca-Cola, saying, “like Coca-Cola, nobody has the magic ingredient.”