Skip to main content

Sol Kerzner -Bankrupt After the Promised "Pot of Gold."

Natasha Pelati has published three books of poetry and writes on real-life experiences with the help of psychology.

Sol Kerzner

Sol Kerzner

Sol Kerzner with Nelson Mandela

Sol Kerzner with Nelson Mandela

Solomon's Gold

Solomon Kerzner was born in August 1935 to Jewish - Russian immigrants who set up a shop in Bez Valley, Johannesburg. He was the youngest of four children and his family started a hotel chain. Sol graduated as a chartered accountant and took over the family business, went on to form the most successful hotel group in South Africa and is now the founder, CEO and Chairman of Kerzner International.

His career spans over 45 years in the resort industry and Sol founded both of South Africa's largest hotel groups and has played a vital role in the development of the tourism industry in South Africa, Mauritius, Maldives, Dubai and the Bahama's.

He is a visionary with an eye for detail and imagination that has made him a worldwide phenomenon and turned everything he has touched into gold!

Sun City

Sun City

Beverly Hills Hotel Umhlanga

Beverly Hills Hotel Umhlanga

Atlantis, Dubai

Atlantis, Dubai

Mohegan Sun

Mohegan Sun

Maureen, Sol and two sons

Maureen, Sol and two sons


His first hotel was purchased in Durban, South Africa in 1962. It became successful and he then built South Africa's first 5 star graded hotel in Umhlanga, South Africa. (A small holiday village on the East Coast of Natal.) The Beverly Hills was opened in December 1964.

Following the opening of the Beverly Hills, he then went on to build a 450 room Elangeni Hotel which overlooked the Durban beachfront.

In 1969 he went into partnership with South African breweries and established a chain of Southern Sun hotels. By 1983 Southern Sun operated 30 luxury hotels with over 7000 rooms.

Le Saint Geran in the Indian Ocean Island of Mauritius was his next hotel opened in 1975.

His most ambitious project was developed in Africa in 1979 - Sun City.

Over a period of ten years Sol built four hotels, two man made lakes, two Gary Player golf courses, an entertainment centre with a 6000 seat multi - purpose arena in which he brought many superstars; Frank Sinatra, Liza Minelli and Shirley Bassey, Queen, Elton John and Rod Steward were among them.

During 1985 Sun City was the topic of anti - apartheid discussions and Sol Kerzner's dream was to create a place where the sun didn't stop shining and people from the Rainbow Nation could be led to their promised "Pot of Gold." He created jobs and brought people from all over South Africa together in a place where there were no laws.

In 1994 Nelson Mandela asked Kerzner to arrange the vip function for the presidential inauguration where many of the worlds leaders and the head of state would attend.

1996 led him to open the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut in the U.S.A. and in 2000 opened the second phase which has 1200 rooms through a joint venture with the Mohegan Tribe of Conecticut. They relinquished their management in 2002 and Kerzner will still receive a 5% dividend until 2014. This property is one of the largest gaming and entertainment sights in the U.S.A.

Scroll to Continue

Due to his successful Sun City, Kerzner expanded his business into international gambling and resorts.

In 1994 Kerzner created Atlantis in the Bahama's. It had 1150 rooms and was bankrupt until Kerzner took it over and bought Paradise Island, transforming it into a 2300 room resort with the largest marine habitat in the world and the Carribeans' biggest casino.

2002 was the opening of the One and Only's which currently operates in the Bahama's, Mexico, Mauritius, South Africa, the Maldives and Dubai.

2007 was the expansion of the Atlantis, Paradise Island with new hotels and 21 retail outlets.

In 2008, he took Atlantis global at the Palms in Dubai a water themed resort on the Palm Jumeirah.

Queen ElizabethII invested Kerzner with the insignia of Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George. (KCMG) for outstanding and exemplary contribution of business in the Bahamas.



Anneline Kriel

Anneline Kriel

Sol and Michael Jackson

Sol and Michael Jackson

Sol and son Butch

Sol and son Butch

Personal Life - The Sun King

Sol Kerzner has been married four times with five children and six grandchildren.

Maureen Adler was his first wife and they had three children. They got divorced.

Second wife Sylvia Bestbier with whom he had two more children committed suicide in 1978.

His third wife Anneline Kriel (Miss World 1974) jetsetted around the world with Sol and they lived in the same home of his second wife (friends said that he never fully recovered from that loss) and they divorced after five years.

He was engaged to Christina Estrada and they were together four seven years but never married and Sol dumped her for her best friend Heather who is wife number four today.

Sol Kerzner had a heart - attack in the 1980s and people have said that he has a bad temper and was a womaniser.

His son Butch died in October 2006 whilst looking at a development from a helicopter.

Sol Kerzner Far from Bankrupt

As it stands today, Sol Kerzner was in debt when he and his late son decided to buy the minority and delist their company off the New York stock exchange in 2005 at a cost of 3.6bn. However Brookfield bought Atlantis and two of the One and Only's from Kerzner and he will still receive dividends from Connecticut until the end of 2014. He is back to developing and designing properties and will be building a casino in competition to the Mohegan Sun.

Sol Kerzner is not bankrupt and is very far from it!

Kerzner's $1.5 Billion Project

Sol Kerzner and Kerzner International Holdings Ltd, reached an agreement with Chinese group Fosun International Ltd, to build a $1.5 billion Atlantis resort on Hainan Island, in the South China sea.

The property in the city of Sanya will include 1300 hotel rooms, 18 bars and restaurants, waterpark and a marine life.

The resort will be complete in 2016 and the Kerzner group will be focusing on managing hotels without putting their name to the deeds as franchising hotels has become more popular.

Fosun International has over $28 billion in assets and is currently the largest, privately owned Chinese conglomerate.

Sol Kerzner and Gary Player at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, Sun City, 2014

Sol Kerzner and Gary Player at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, Sun City, 2014

Sol Kerzner and Gary Player at Sun City

The Nedbank Golf Challenge held at Sun City is an annual event that brings great golfers and celebrities together for a festive occasion.

The 2014 Nedbank Challenge brought a surprise to the event with the appearance of Sol Kerzner, who spend time with Gary Player, watching to the tournament.

The Nedbank Golf Challenge was established in 1981 by both Gary Player and Sol who called it the "Million Dollar Golf Challenge."

As the tournament progressed throughout the years, it has become one of the most visited events in Africa and the 2014 one was even more spectacular, with both the founders Gary Player and the legendary Sol Kerzner, present at the prize giving.

The Founders of the Million Dollar Golf

Sol Kerzner and Gary Player at the Gary Player Country Club enjoying a breakfast together before tee off time

Sol Kerzner and Gary Player at the Gary Player Country Club enjoying a breakfast together before tee off time

Atlantis, Hainan Island


Sol Kerzner Passed Away

On the 21 March 2020, the "Sun King" Sol Kerzner passed away after a battle with cancer.

He was 84 years old and was surrounded by family in the family home at Leeukoppie Estate, Cape Town.

Sol is survived by his children Andrea, Beverley, Brandon and Chantal as well as his ten grandchildren.

Kerzner will be missed as his vision and creative genius in building famous resorts has not been matched by anyone.

He was and always will be remembered for his amazing work and his legacy will continue on, reminding the hospitality industry to reach for bigger goals.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Natasha Pelati


Natasha Pelati (author) from South Africa on July 29, 2016:

Sol's net worth is $400 million.

He made a success out of being a business man and as for personal issues, everyone has them. I am not sure about Maureen in the pool but this article is about the business man and not his personal life.

If I had to delve into the personal lives of every tycoon I am certain that I would find something in every one of them.

tony on July 27, 2016:

Forget about Sol's net worth. Really, is that all people have come to? Disgusting! What happened to Maureen in the swimming pool and who attacked the IBM corporate HO in Johannesburg as a probable link? Ask Anneline about the 'parties' in Bryanston. Pigs will be pigs and this planet has manged to work its way into the sewer. I once read a novel about a seedy character who all considered a billionaire icon until years later his body was discovered, dressed in a shabby raincoat, wearing worn out socks and no shoes, lying in a muddy ditch somewhere in the south of France.

Brian Watson,Glasgow on June 19, 2016:

I lived near one of his homes near sandton clinic and always wondered what was behind the wall,it was in 1984 and was young and went to Bryanston primary and then the high school,was always looking at the sol sign outside and wondered if he was home.He was inspirational to me.

Boy done well,went to sun city once,it was amazing

stayed in johannesburg north next to juskei park

where is steven masher

ANON on March 15, 2016:

I don't understand something hey. How come this guy is not on Forbes richest list, what's Sol Kerners real net worth?

The Grim Reaper on November 01, 2015:

Yeah he is "amazing" so much so for a serial wife beater. His 2nd wife topped herself, 2nd wife Anneline Kerzner (nee Kriel former miss South Africa and miss World ) walked around Sandton City mostly wearing dark glasses after being beaten up by this creep. A most disgusting thing where women are concerned and probably elsewhere. Hell is where he is headed.

Natasha Pelati (author) from South Africa on January 18, 2015:

Thanks for your feedback but this is the area for comments on Sol Kerzner and the website for hotels is

Michael on January 13, 2015:

Nice but LackingMy wife and I visited this hotel for a long wekened. We stayed in a Superior Pool Villa. Sanya is a great wekened destination. The weather was great, the air and beaches are clean and the transfer through the airport was quick and easy with only a couple of international flights a day. As for the hotel the pool villas were very private and the room itself was nicely laid out with a nice bedroom and bathroom with a large double tub looking into the pool and an indoor and outdoor shower. There is a separate building which housed a sitting/TV room which was not that appealing to sit in. The food was also quite good, with the option to visit other hotels nearby for a wider selection of food. The hotel itself is situated across the road from other major hotels and the beach. They have a section of the beach but you need to take a golf cart to get there as it is a fairly long walk. The one major drawback I have about the villa was there was no place to sit outside and enjoy the sun. While the pool is private there are no chairs or loungers or even an area to place chairs outside and enjoy the sun. There is a VERY small mattress outside but it is completely covered hy a roof and could only sit one person. If you want to go to a resort destination and NOT enjoy the sun or the outdoors other than to swim in the pool then the villa would be great. If, however, like me, you want to be able to sit outside and read a book or something this is not the place for you. Even the main pool for the hotel had only a small sitting area with only 12 loungers. Not enough for a hotel this size. The other challenge if you do not speak Mandarin is that the English skills in this hotel is very poor relative to the other international hotels in the area. * Liked — Nice room * Disliked — No place to sit outside

Jorge on January 13, 2015:

nice rreostStayed 3 days at the Pullman rreost. as an anniversary present. stayed in the myanmar villa there are 2 other types of villa the olny different i could see was the shape of the roofs. nice bedrrom well laid out king size bed tv and enough clothing space for a short stay. separate pool 1.3 metres water depth all round. separate room area for sitting in over looking the pool with tv all air-con. buggy's take you to and from the main reception and eating areas if you want to, but close enough to walk. breakfast was plentyful and good variety of asian and western dishes taken in rive guache which is then becomes another eatery for lunch and diiner. le chenios was the chinese restaurant close to rive guache and juipur was an indian/ thai restaurant on the same level as reception. there is a long pool area with direct access to those on the botton floor of the apartment block. a small pool area was at the north of the complex with a few loungers {too few for this size of hotel} and the azur bar. friendly staff always willing to help but many did not know what you were saying and if you had a smattering of mandarin you could just get by. manager of the rive guache is european so could help when things got difficult. also the assistant manger of the hotel speaks excellent english and can help when on duty. the hotel is set back on road from the beach, so you need to go through the marriot complex to get to the beach or a buggy from the complex. we walked but could not find any sign for the pullman private beach area, although we did come across 9 other private areas. i would go back to the sanya rreost area but would choose one of the other hotels that have a beach fron to them. beach was very clean white sand with very small coral pieces. lots of water sports available, including snorkle and deeper diving. * Liked — villa with pool * Disliked — nothing

Natasha Pelati (author) from South Africa on April 21, 2014:

His first wife was Maureen Adler with whom he had 3 children, second wife Sylvia Bestbier with whom he had 2 children , 3rd wife Anneline Kriel and then Heather. His sister's name is Joyce Wohlman.

And he was married four times not 3.

Gill on April 20, 2014:

Your research sucks. Sol's second wife was Anneline and third wife was Heather. Sylvia was his sister not his wife. He was married 3 times not 4

Natasha Pelati (author) from South Africa on April 18, 2013:

Thanks for reading it! I just recently heard a rumour that he is bankrupt and needed to see for myself

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on April 18, 2013:

This made me recall Sol Kerzner and his exploits with interest. He was so often written about in the newspapers in South Africa, especially talk of his women, wives and his investments. Definitely an interesting character. Thanks for sharing.

Related Articles