Sunday Times Rich List 2018 with an estimated fortune of more than £21b.
He is the first British-born industrialist to take the number one spot on the annual list, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary.
Born and brought up on a Manchester council estate, Ratcliffe, 65, made his money through Ineos, the giant chemical company which today has an annual turnover of about £45b and employs more than 18,500 people across 22 countries.
His involvement in the hospitality sector came about when he bought a 50% share in Parkhill, a three-star hotel neat Lyndhurst, Hampshire, with chef Alex Aitken. Ratcliffe bought out Aitken soon after the hotel opened following its £40m transformation into Lime Wood as a five-red-AA-star, 32-bedroom hotel. By then, industry stalwart Robin Hutson had been brought on board to run the business. Ratcliffe had met Hutson when their children were at school together.
With the financial support of Ratcliffe behind the venture, Lime Wood has become renowned for offering laid-back luxury that has been a hit with critics and customers alike since opening in 2009. Today the Lime Wood Group also includes Le Portetta in Courchevel, France.
In 2011, Hutson launched Home Grown Hotels with the opening of the first of what has gone on to be the five-strong Pig collection of hotels. Ratcliffe owns 50% of Home Grown Hotels, with Hutson holding 26% and the remaining 24% in the hands of three other shareholders. With its strong focus on produce grown in its own kitchen gardens, the Pig is one of the most successful hotel brands to launch in recent years and is now on the verge of expanding to eight properties with openings lined up in Kent, West Sussex and Cornwall.
Ratcliffe's wealth is up from £5.75b in 2017, when he was positioned at number 18 on the list.
The Sunday Times Rich List 2018 is notable in that it is the first year since 2010 that Jamie Oliver has not been included among the UK's 1,000 richest individuals. Oliver has dropped off the list following his widely-reported business difficulties which has included had debts of £71.5m and the Company Voluntary Arrangement of Jamies' Italian and the closure of 12 sites.
The key hospitality investors and operators on The Sunday Times Rich List 2018 include:
1 Jim Ratcliffe, £21.05b, chemicals (hospitality: Lime Wood Group and Home Grown Hotels)
2 Sri and Gopi Hinuja, £20.644b, industry and finance (hospitality: joint-owner of the old War Office in London's Whitehall, which is currently being converted into a Raffles hotel).
4 David and Simon Reuben, £15.096b, property and internet (hospitality: hotel development at 94 Piccadilly, London; Wellington Pub Company; portfolio of boutique hotels in south east of England including Lingfield Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club; and 12.2% interest in Belmond hotels)
6 Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho, £11.1b, inheritance, brewing, banking (hospitality: Heineken)
9 Guy, George and Galen Jr Weston and family, £10.05b, retailing (hospitality: Grand hotel in Brighton and Richmond Hill hotel in Surrey, both managed by Kew Green Hotels)
10 The Duke of Westminster and the Grosvenor family, property (hospitality: Chester Grosvenor hotel, operated by Bespoke Hotels and Beaumont hotel, operated by Corbin & King)
15 Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, £7.4b, property, media, internet retailing (hospitality: the Ritz London)
18 Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber and family, £6.7478b, hotels, food, industry
20 Earl Cadogan and family, £6.7b, property (hospitality: 11 Cadogan Gardens and the Belmond Cadogan hotels
27 Sir Henry Keswick and family, £4.782b, property, retailing and hotels
29 Richard Branson and family, £4.525b, transport, finance, fitness clubs, hotels
32 Joe Lewis, £4.6b, foreign exchange, (hospitality: holds £286m shareholder in Mitchells and Butlers)
33 Ian and Richard Livingstone, £3.8b, property (hospitality: owners of Chewton Glen, Cliveden House (lease from National Trust), Lygon Arms, collection of 10 hotels under global brands and Atlas limited service hotels)
35 Lord Bamford and family, £3.6b, construction equipment (hospitality: owner of the Wild Rabbit, Kingham, Chipping Norton, and nearby Daylesford Organic)
38 Eddie and Sol Zakay, £3.42b, property (hospitality: the brother's Topland Group owns Hallmark Hotels, the Royal Crescent in Bath and eight leased hotels)
90= Poju and Anita Zabludowicz, £1.5b, property and hotels
115= Christina Ong and family, £1.3b, retailing, hotels (hospitality: Como Hotels, including the Metropolitan and Halkin hotels in London)
128 Sir Terry Matthews, £1,075b, computers (hospitality: Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Gwent)
131 Jasminder Singh and family, £1.064b, hotels (Edwardian Hotels London collection of 12 properties)
153 Sir Charles Dunstone, £918m, mobile phones and restaurants (hospitality: owns more than 70 Five Guys hamburger restaurants and Made on Demand, allowing diners to design own pizzas)
167 Peter Harris and family, £800m, hotels and caravan parks (hospitality: Bourne Leisure, which owns Butlins and Warners Leisure)
207 Richard Caring, £650m, restaurants, property (hospitality: owns Caprice Holdings, which operates restaurant portfolio which includes the Ivy, Le Caprice, Sexy Fish and 30% of Soho House & Co)
216= Sir Peter Rigby, £625m, computers, aviation and hotels (hospitality: Eden Hotel Collection)
219 Paddy McNally, £610m, advertising and hospitality
251= Andrew Nisbet and family, £500m, catering equipment
287= Tim and Kit Kemp, £450m, hotels (Firmdale Hotels)
295 Tim Martin, £448m, pubs (JD Wetherspoon)
355= Jeremy Hosking, £355m, finance (hospitality: owner of Gravetye Manor in West Sussex)
366 Surinder Arora and family, £349m, hotels (Arora Hotels)
369 Sir Rocco Forte and Olga Polizzi and family, £345m, hotels (Rocco Forte Hotels)
380= Adam, Samuel and Jonathan Kaye and family, £330m, restaurants (Tasty, which runs the Wildwood pizza chain and Dim T dim sum outlets)
388= Marlon Abela, £320m, inheritance and restaurants (MARC Group)
408m Robert Earl, £302m, restaurants (built Planet Hollywood restaurant chain and Earl of Sandwich eateries)
423= Andrew and Christina Brownsword, £295m, greetings cards and hotels (Andrew Brownsword Hotels includes Gidleigh Park and Bath Priory)
437= Duncan Bannatyne, £280m, hotels and fitness clubs (Bannatyne's)
455= Guy and Julia Hands, £265m, finance and hotels (Hand Picked Hotels)
463= Luke Johnson, £260m, finance (Patisserie Valerie, Elegant Hotels, Laine Pub Company)
476 Hugh Osmond, £254m, hospitality and insurance (Strada and Coppa Club restaurants)
480= Alex Langsam, £250m, hotels (Britannia Hotels and Pontins)
501= Bakir Cola and family, £245m, hotels (including the Westbury in Mayfair)
506= Norman Springford and family, £240m, hotels (Apex Hotels)
646= Koolesh Shah and family, £184m, hotels (London Town Group)
718= Julian Metcalfe, £164m, sandwiches and restaurants (co-founder of Pret A Manger and now heads Itsu chain)
725= Lord Fink, £160m, hedge fund and hotels
772= Nick Jones and Kirsty Young, £150m, hospitality and media (Soho House & Co)
772= John Marston and family, £150m, property, hotels
804= Mohammed Galadari, £147m, property, hotels
836= Aran and Arvan Handa and family, £140m, hotels (Cairn Group of 33 hotels)
859= Sharan Pasricha, £136m, hotels (heads Ennismore, owner of Gleneagles and Hoxton hotels)
Hoteliers lead the way in 2017 Rich List >>