James Sherwood, the founder and chairman of luxury hotel group Orient-Express Hotels, was awarded the International Hotel Investment Forum's lifetime achievement award in Berlin this week.
Sherwood said that winning the award was a great honour, particularly as he wasn't a professional hotelier.
"I have never been to hotel school and have been taught everything I need to know about hotels from my general managers.
"I don't want to be represented as the driving force behind Orient-Express, but perhaps as the inspiration."
Sherwood, whose mainstream business was shipping, started in hotels in 1976 when he purchased his first hotel, the Cipriani in Venice, for $31m.
Since then he has grown the group to 49 hotels in 29 countries. The main criterion for an Orient-Express hotel is a unique location and building, where the hotel has a monopoly in the five-star luxury market.
"We always look for special and unique hotels as this gives us market advantage," he said.
by James Garner
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