The awards evening celebrated Europe’s exceptional hotels and hoteliers of the year, with Red Carnation founder Beatrice Tollman awarded Hotelier of the Year and the Dorchester Collection’s 45 Park Lane winning the accolade for Best Hotel Suite.
Ritter, who recently announced his retirementat the end of the year, has been in his current position at Rezidor since 1989 and will continue to serve as a strategic advisor to Carlson. Wolfgang M Neumann will replace Ritter as president and chief executive of the business.
VIDEO: Kurt Ritter's life in hospitality
“I am very honoured to receive this Lifetime Achievement Award – and yet very humble,” said Ritter upon collecting his award. “Without my family and my team, my success would not have been possible.
“I would like to thank my family and all Rezidorians; they have made me the man and leader I am.”
The judges of the award said: “Kurt Ritter was literally born into the industry, at his parents’ hotel in Interlaken, joined his present employers as general manager in 1976 and finally steps down at the end of this year.
“The remarkable rise of Rezidor is inseparable from his own and it is difficult to think of anyone in the business today who has dedicated more of his or her life to the hospitality industry.”
Under Ritter’s leadership, Rezidor became one of the world’s fastest growing hotel companies and a member of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. The brand’s current portfolio features more than 430 hotels with 95,000 rooms in 70 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Meanwhile, Tollman from Red Carnation Hotels was recognised for ‘her continuous unparalleled levels of service, excellence and luxury across all of the collection's five and four star properties in Europe’.
"I'm humbled and honoured to have been recognised for doing something that I truly love, each and every day," Tollman said. "I thank the judges, the fantastic teams at all of my hotels and of course my wonderful family, many of whom are involved in the business too.”
45 Park Lane, which opened under The Dorchester Collection just over a year ago,was said to have ‘few equals’ when it came to its hotel suites, with Thierry W Despont designing a suite ‘boasting the finest in personalised service and hi-tech wizardry’.
The Overall Winner for 2012 went to Hotel Le Bristol in Paris. Last year, the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London scooped the coveted Hotel of the Year awardand the Refurbishment of the Year award, with five other London hotels topping other categories.