The Red Carnation Hotels story is a love story which started over fifty years ago.
At the heart of this love story is our Founder and President, Bea Tollman - a woman and leader greatly respected and much adored by all those who have the pleasure of knowing her as a guest, as a colleague, as part of the Red Carnation Hotel family.
A beautiful young South African woman named Bea caught the eye of a distinguished hotelier named Stanley, who was known for wearing a small red carnation in his lapel.
As newly-weds of modest beginnings, they began opening a number of hotels in South Africa. Inspired by the couple's shared enthusiasm for providing world class hospitality, and underpinned by their sophisticated sense of style, love of fine cuisine and passion for creating inspiring travel experiences, these hotels proved truly ground breaking - they set new standards for outstanding excellence, impeccable taste and unsurpassed service.
In 1975, their journey took them, and their four young children, to Great Britain. It is there that the next chapter of their story unfolded.
The couple purchased The Chesterfield Hotel in prestigious Mayfair. From here, driven by Bea's lifelong love affair with the world of hospitality, and celebrating her husband's signature flower, Red Carnation Hotels came to life.
Located directly overlooking Kensington Palace and Gardens, The Milestone Hotel (the London flagship property of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection) was purchased and meticulously renovated to flawless five star standards and is regularly awarded some of the most prestigious industry accolades.
Stanley and Bea Tollman purchase The Oyster Box Hotel, Durban, South Africa - the place where they first met. The previous owner, Wayne Reed, particularly wanted The Oyster Box to pass on to a family who would continue the hospitality, traditions and values for which the hotel was synonymous.
In 2009 Bea Tollman's life story was captured in a wonderful collection of her 'all time favourite recipes' - a very special cookbook entitled "Bea Tollman - A Life in Food". It passionately demonstrates Bea's life-long love affair with the very best cuisine.
Beatrice Tollman, awarded the prestigious accolade of Hotelier of the Year at the European Hospitality Awards 2012, is a reflection of the dedication, passion and ongoing efforts that are applauded by guests and industry alike.
In May 2013, the magnificent Ashford Castle was bought by The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, and began a major refurbishment to bring the castle back to its former glory.
The Red Carnation Hotel Collection currently stands at seventeen luxurious properties located in the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Switzerland and the USA.