As a young architect working with his father, Isadore Sharp, he created a motel for family travelers. The motel was such a success that Sharp purchased a lot in a run-down area of Toronto, Canada, and created a motel for business travelers, and in 1960, the Four Seasons Motor Hotel was in business.
Sharp began building more hotels in Canada, eventually moving on to London, where the company earned its reputation for being an upscale, luxury hotel. In 1997, the Four Seasons Hotel Austin was the first hotel to offer wireless internet services. Queen Elizabeth II stayed at the Fours Seasons Hotel Austin in 1991 when she was in the US.
Four Seasons does not own any of its properties; it operates them on behalf of real estate owners and developers. The contracts between Four Seasons and property owners typically permit the company to participate in the design of the property and run it with nearly total control over every aspect of the operation.
The company generally earns three percent of the gross income and about five percent of the profits from the properties it operates, and the property owners are required to additionally contribute money for chain-wide sales, marketing and reservations systems.
In 2016, the Four Seasons remodeled and rebranded an old property in the Vietnamese city of Hoi An. This city has since become a popular destination for upscale travelers and other hotel brands are rushing to build hotels in this ancient city.
In November 2019, the company announced it would expand it’s hotel chain to include Baja California, Mexico, with a new resort in Cabo San Lucas. The resort is expected to open in 2022.
The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has a corporate office in the US in Irving, Texas.