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Through the vision of founder, Swiss-born Hans Enderle, and the financial backing of the Mine Pension Funds, the opening of City Lodge Randburg (now called City Lodge Hotel Bryanston) on 1 August 1985, became the catalyst for what today is South Africa's leading selected services hotel chain.

From the start, emphasis was placed on quality accommodation, homely ambience and friendly service - and these are still hallmarks of the group today. After pioneering the quality, selected services hotel concept in South Africa, the group was incorporated in July 1986 and has since substantially grown and diversified its product offering to meet different travellers' needs.

In 1990, the second-tier Town Lodge concept was started and has proved highly popular. On 18 November 1992, the group successfully listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Then in 1995, the group acquired a 50% interest in the companies associated with the upmarket Courtyard Suite Hotel chain and also opened its first Road Lodge, a concept aimed mainly at budget conscious travellers. In 2015, the outstanding 50% in the Courtyard Joint Venture was acquired from HPF Properties Pty Ltd.

On the occasion of the group's 10th anniversary on 1 August 1995, the City Lodge 10th Anniversary Employees Share Trust was launched which enabled all employees to become shareholders.

In 2013, the group acquired a 50% interest in two hotels in Nairobi, Kenya, and it has since taken full ownership of the Fairview Hotel and Town Lodge, Upper Hill, Nairobi. Town Lodge Gaborone in Botswana became the first new hotel developed by the group outside of South Africa.

With 5 Courtyard Hotels (381 suites), 17 City Lodge Hotels (3 001 rooms), 12 Town Lodges (1 503 rooms) 22 Road Lodges (2 059 rooms), and the Fairview Hotel (120 rooms), the City Lodge Hotel Group has 7 064 rooms and suites and ranks amongst the 250 largest hotel chains in the world.

Commitment to service excellence from a highly motivated and dedicated staff is a common thread throughout the group's hotels which have developed a loyal clientèle of both business and leisure travellers over more than three decades.