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Lord Forte, the prestigious hotelier and father to Rocco Forte, has died at the age of 98. His illustrious career began back in 1934 with the opening of the Meadow Milk Bar on London's Upper Regent Street.
After the war Charles Forte expanded into the catering business with properties throughout London, including the Caf” Royal and Criterion. He was awarded the chance to provide catering services at Heathrow Airport in 1955, and opened his first full motorway service station in 1959.
That same year he began acquiring hotel properties, beginning with London”s Waldorf. By the end of the 1960s, Forte Holdings employed almost 16,000 people.
In 1970 the company merged with Trust Houses Group to become Trust House Forte, with Forte as CEO. He went on to become group chairman of the company in 1984, with his son Rocco taking over as CEO. He retired in 1992, three years before Granada placed a hostile bid for the company, which was sold for ”3.8bn ($7.5bn).
During the latter years of his career and his life Lord Forte amassed numerous awards and titles, including his knighthood in 1970 for his services to the catering industry and contribution to charitable and cultural events. In 1984 Sir Charles was inducted into the International Travel Hall of Fame by the American Society of Travel Agents.
He became Lord Forte in 1982 when he was awarded a life peerage as Baron Forte of Ripley in the County of Surrey, and was inducted into the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor in 1997.