Charles Lotter, the South African general manager of Summer Lodge hotel in Evershot, Dorset, who was described as being "more English than the English", has died suddenly from a suspected heart attack. He was just 54.
Lotter held the role of general manager at the four-red-AA-star, 24-bedroom Summer Lodge, owned and operated by Red Carnation Hotels, since June 2004. He spent a total of 14 and a half years with Red Carnation, having joined the company at the Twelve Apostles hotel in Cape Town in his native South Africa. After studying at the Johannesberg Hotel School, Lotter begun his hotel career in 1984 at the Mount Nelson hotel, also in Cape Town, and went on to undertake a number of high profile hotel openings in South Africa.
Lotter's move to the Twelve Apostles hotel coincided with Red Carnation's acquisition of the hotel, previously known as the De Oudekraal hotel, in 2002.
Jonathan Raggett, managing director of Red Carnation Hotels, said that Lotter did "a fantastic job re-establishing the hotel as one of the very best in Cape Town".
He added: "After two years there, and being more English than the English, Charles expressed a wish to move to the UK and we were delighted to be able to offer him the position of general manager, at the then new addition to the collection, Summer Lodge.
"Charles was the consummate professional, who embodied the meaning of the word ‘hospitality', a true gentleman who was full of charm, charisma, kindness and much, much more. Much loved by his loyal team and his many regular guests, he will be greatly missed by all of us at Red Carnation and our thoughts are with his family."
Writing on Twitter, Lucknam Park chairman Harry Murray said: "Our thoughts and deepest sympathy are with the loyal, dedicated team at Summer Lodge following the untimely passing of Charles Lotter."