Hotel and Resort Press Releases

60 Years Later, Red Carnation Hotels’ Touching Love Story Still Resonates

                                                                                                                           Bea and Stanley Tollman


This year we celebrate 100 years of hospitality, as one of the 42 family-owned and run TTC travel brands. The Red Carnation Hotels’ story is a love story which started over sixty years ago.


Red Carnation Hotels’ story began on the 5th July 1952 when Stanley Tollman invited Founder & President Beatrice to join him for dinner in the most talked about hotel in Durban, The Oyster Box.


Located on the Umhlanga Rocks and originally opened as a cottage called the Oyster Lodge in 1863, The Oyster Box first opened as a hotel in 1952 and Stanley organized for the best table in the restaurant – number 5, which is still there to this day.


Today, Red Carnation Hotels proudly stands at 20 exceptional properties around the world, each unique and special. The Oyster Box remains at the heart of this love story and we are so proud that it is part of the hotel collection today and is recognized as the number one and most loved and cherished hotel in South Africa.


The Red Carnation Hotel Collection is lovingly named after the signature flower Mrs. Tollman’s husband always wears, and this symbol of hospitality is also worn by every member of the team and represents the passion and care that each and every member of the team has for their guests.


Below is a timeline of how the Red Carnation Hotel Collections flourished:

  • 1950: A beautiful 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.


  • 1954: As newlyweds they opened a number of hotels in South Africa. Inspired by their shared enthusiasm for providing world-class hospitality, these hotels set new standards for outstanding excellence and unsurpassed service.


  • 1975: By this time, the Tollman’s journey took them and their family to Great Britain- where the next story of their chapter unfolded.


  • 1984: The couple purchased The Chesterfield Hotel in Mayfair. 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.



  • 1998: Hotel 41 was born, occupying the top floor of The Rubens at the Palace, and now a residents’ only property rated number 1 in London.


  • 2015: The Red Carnation Hotel Collection grows to 17 luxurious properties in the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Switzerland and the USA.


  • 2009: Bea Tollman’s life story was captured in the wonderful collection of her favorite recipes with the publications of her cookbook, “A Life in Food.”


  • 2012:Bea Tollman was awarded Hotelier of the Year at the European Awards 2012.


  • 2016:Bea Tollman was named the “Leading Hotels of the World Leading Legend.”


  • 2017: The Red carnation Hotel Collection voted number two of Top Hotel Brands in Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Awards.”


  • 2018: Bea Tollman inducted into “The British Travel and Hospitality Hall of Fame.”


  • 2020: Xigera safari lodge will join the collection in the heart of Botswana’s Okavango Delta. 100 Princes Street will also open as the hotel’s first property in Scotland.