Future 50
A New Generation of Leaders Has Arrived

For expanding a storied hospitality brand—even amidst a pandemic and economic uncertainty

Charles Forte isn’t about to let a pandemic get in the way of growing his family’s portfolio of luxe hotels. "We are just having to be a bit more creative in the way we approach projects," he told The Luxury Editor

That glass-half-full outlook belies the brutal beating that Rocco Forte Hotels and the rest of the hospitality industry took since COVID hit. But the son of brand founder Rocco Forte has become a master of the pandemic pivot as he identifies new hotel opportunities and ferrets out capital investors to execute on projects of interest. He responded to consumers’ shifting demands by doubling down on smaller properties with more spacious rooms. He pushed for revamped lease and management arrangements. And he has thrown his enthusiastic support behind Irene Forte Spas, a concept developed by his sister Irene that’s rolling out across four properties. (His sister Lydia also works in the family business as group director of food and beverage, and his aunt handles all of the interior design projects for new properties.)

Next up? Forte considers picking a project site in Venice to be a top priority because it would allow travelers to hit Italy’s four major cities—Rome, Milan, Florence and Venice—while staying in Rocco Forte hotels. But speed isn’t a win if it’s burdened by compromise. 

"We are a family owned business, so we can take things at the right pace," said Forte, who cut his professional teeth at posts ranging from front desk manager to prep chef. "There is more drive and passion when it’s your own business and your name is above the door."