Kempinski Hotels S.A. is a hotel group. The group now has its head office in Geneva but was founded in Berlin in 1897 as the Hotelbetriebs-Aktiengesellschaft. Kempinski Hotels currently operates 76 five-star hotels and residences in 31 countries. Starting in Germany, over the years Kempinski has extended its hotel portfolio to other parts of Europe and to the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.[1]

Kempinski Hotels S.A.
IndustryHospitality, Tourism
Founded1897 in Berlin, Germany
HeadquartersGeneva, Switzerland; Kempinski AG Munich, Germany
ProductsHotels, restaurants, residences
Number of employees


Kempinski Hotels is Europe's oldest luxury hotel group[citation needed]. The history of this traditional company began in 1897 with the foundation of the "Hotelbetriebs-Aktiengesellschaft" in Berlin. A parallel development was that of M. Kempinski & Co, founded by Berthold Kempinski, which was acquired by the "Hotelbetriebs-Aktiengesellschaft" in 1953.

Berthold Kempinski was born on 10 October 1843 in Posen (then a German province, and now Poland). The Kempinski family was already successfully active in the wine trade from 1862. In 1872 it extended its company to Berlin, where Berthold Kempinski opened a wine-merchant's business under his name in the Friedrichstraße. In 1889 he opened a restaurant, the biggest in Berlin, in the Leipziger Straße.

Since Berthold Kempinski and his wife Helena had no son, they invited their son-in-law Richard Unger (1866–1947) to join the business. Berthold Kempinski finally transferred the firm to his son-in-law on condition that he kept the name Kempinski. Berthold Kempinski died on March 14, 1910.

Alongside his wine and restaurant activities, Richard Unger constructed an immense property business up to the start of World War I. After a short period of stagnation during the War, he sold products of his own manufacture under the brand name Kempinski. The business in Berlin flourished, so that in 1918 an impressive Kempinski hotel dependency was established at 27 Kurfürstendamm, where the Kempinski Hotel Bristol now stands. Ten years later, M. Kempinski & Co. took over the "Haus Vaterland" on the Potsdamer Platz, where the firm exploited a concept that was unique in Berlin for a long time and is still known as "event gastronomy" ("Erlebnisgastronomie").

To escape the events of World War II, Richard Unger and his family emigrated to the United States and the firm M. Kempinski & Co became part of Aschinger AG.

The Restaurant at 27 Kurfürstendamm was destroyed by fire shortly before the end of the War, and the other properties fell victim to bombing raids. After the end of the conflict, Richard Unger's son and Berthold Kempinski's grandson, Dr Friedrich Unger, returned to Germany. In 1951 construction started on a hotel on the site of the ruined restaurant at 27 Kurfürstendamm, and it opened a year later under the name Hotel Kempinski. For 20 years the modern, progressive five-star hotel enjoyed the undisputed status of the sole luxury hotel in Berlin.[citation needed]

In 1953 Dr Friedrich Unger sold his shares and the name Kempinski to the "Hotelbetriebs-Aktiengesellschaft", which already ran hotels such as the Baltic, the Bristol and the Kaiserhof. The name Bristol was adopted and is still used at the Kempinski Hotel at 27 Kurfürstendamm. In subsequent years, the "Hotelbetriebs-Aktiengesellschaft" took over the management of several famous hotels. In 1957 it acquired the luxurious Hotel Atlantic in Hamburg.

In 1970 the General Assembly of the "Hotelbetriebs-Aktiengesellschaft" voted to change its name to "Kempinski Hotelbetriebs-Aktiengesellschaft". In the same year a long-lasting partnership was established with Lufthansa in the form of a 50-percent participation in the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Munich, in which Lufthansa already had a holding. In 1977 the hotel company received its present name as "Kempinski Aktiengesellschaft (AG)". At the same time, the Kempinski Hotel Frankfurt Gravenbruch was added to the group's portfolio as its fourth German hotel.

In 1985, Lufthansa acquired shares in Kempinski AG and thereby enabled the hotel company to operate Kempinski hotels abroad too. A year later, Kempinski AG, Lufthansa and the finance company Rolaco S.A. founded Kempinski Hotels S.A., with its head office in Geneva. In 1993 Kempinski AG acquired all the shares in Kempinski S.A.

The Bangkok-based Dusit Sindhorn Company Ltd took over Kempinski in November 1994, when it acquired a 52% stake.[2][3] The 50:50 joint venture between Dusit Thani Group, and the Siam Commercial Bank eventually accumulated an 83% stake in the group, and Dusit Thani exited from the joint venture in 1998, when it sold out to its partner.[4]

Effective 16 February 2017, the two existing shareholders of Kempinski AG formalized previous plans for an equity transfer between them. The majority shares of Kempinski AG shall be held by the existing Bahraini shareholder while the shareholder from Thailand will now own a minority.

Kempinski hotels worldwideEdit

Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius, one of the most luxurious hotels in the Lithuania's capital Vilnius

Kempinski Hotels' portfolio currently comprises 75 hotels and residences worldwide, including the Emirates Palace[5] in Abu Dhabi, Hotel Indonesia Kempinski in Jakarta, the The Apurva Kempinski Bali in Bali, the Çiragan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul, the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana in Cuba, and the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus, Budapest.

With the exception of the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski in Munich, which belongs to the group, and three hotels with leasing contracts, Kempinski Hotels is currently targeted mainly at the management of luxury hotels and residences.

Global Hotel AllianceEdit

Kempinski is a founding member of the Global Hotel Alliance ("GHA") which was founded in 2004.[6] Members of the DISCOVERY[7]

Social responsibilityEdit

As an internationally active company, Kempinski has introduced its own corporate social responsibility programme.[8] In this respect the company is primarily committed in the areas of health and safety. In addition, individual Kempinski Hotels support social projects in specific locations to improve public welfare and justice locally.


As one of the founding members of BE Health Association, Kempinski believes that business can make a positive impact in limiting the spread of infectious diseases and making health contagious for those who need it most. BE has the support of the WHO, The Global Fund, and many other well-known partners.[9]


  1. ^[1], additional text.
  2. ^ "Kempinski Hotels – 100 years of a grand tradition", hurriyetdailynews. 1 June 1997.
  3. ^ "Lufthansa Sale Of Hotels Due". The New York Times, 29 November 1994.
  4. ^ Spritzer, Dinah A. (12 March 1998). "Dusit Thani Sells Its Share of Kempinski". Travel Weekly.
  5. ^ "Luxury 5 Star Hotel in Abu Dhabi | Emirates Palace". Retrieved 2016-09-20.
  6. ^ "Hotel rewards – Best hotel loyalty programme – Global Hotel Alliance". Retrieved 2016-09-20. GHA brings together 32 brands with more than 500 hotels spread across 76 countries in its portfolio.
  7. ^ "Home / About Discovery – GHA". Retrieved 2016-09-20.programme receive recognition and rewards across more than 500 hotels, resorts, palaces and spas in all of the GHA hotels. Local experiences, the core of the DISCOVERY programme, are unique, authentic experiences, which are curated by each hotel to give a taste of local traditions and culture.
  8. ^ "Kempinski Hotel – Corporate Social Responsibility".
  9. ^ "BE Health | About BE Health". Retrieved 2016-09-20.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit