Obituary: Pierre de Savary (1944-2022)
Peter de Savary, universally known as PdeS, died suddenly on Sunday, October 30, after a remarkable career that spanned six decades and four continents.
PdeS first rose to prominence in the 1980s as an avid yachtsman leading Britain’s challenge for the America’s Cup in 1983 and as a visionary entrepreneur who at one time possessed the highest points south and north of the UK; Land’s End and John O’Groats.
A cigar lover, he was a true filibuster entrepreneur who succeeded in an eclectic range of businesses and industries.
Starting from scratch when he left school at 16, his entrepreneurial spirit, creative vision and the wonderful friendships he made throughout his career have contributed to his many successes. He forged friendship-based partnerships around the world, working with local partners from the start of his career, starting in the 1960s when he set up an import/export business in Nigeria and later in the Middle East in the 1970s where he collaborated on projects ranging from oil contracts with the national oil company to the establishment of a royal camel milking parlor for the King of Saudi Arabia.
His resulting business interests were equally diverse, ranging from his development of St James World Clubs and the Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle, to shipyards and brownfield regeneration in the US and UK. His vision has brought to life more than 60 hotels, resorts and hospitality projects, including 7 championship golf courses and 3 world-class marinas.
He will also be remembered as a passionate philanthropist, particularly focused on initiatives in favor of animals and underprivileged children. He was particularly committed to his work as a patron and board member of the British Teenage Cancer Trust.
In recent years, he has spent his time developing a portfolio of award-winning boutique hotels with his wife Lana, who will remain chairman, providing continuity of leadership and direction with the existing management team.
Their philosophy has been to create unique hotels that offer a warm and friendly experience with excellent service and delicious cuisine. With his typically quirky flair, he pioneered the reinvention of quintessentially British spaces into luxury places to stay, allowing his memory to live on in features such as his beach huts at The Cary Arms, the potting rooms at the Eastbury Hotel and the Shepherds’ Huts at The Hiding Place in Dittisham.
He was a man of tremendous vision, boundless energy, enthusiasm and attention to detail, and he inspired extraordinary loyalty in all who worked with him. He was happiest smoking a big Cuban cigar, on a vintage sailboat with his trusty Chihuahua by his side, and despite all his many accomplishments and successes, he always maintained that the most important thing in life was family.
He leaves behind his wife Lana and his daughters Lisa, Nicola, Tara, Amber and Savannah.
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