About Mr and Mrs Chan Chak-fu
Mr Chan Chak-fu (1918-2012), the eldest son of Mr Chan Kwan-tung and Mrs Chan Cheng Kwei-heung, was a pioneer hotelier in Hong Kong. After graduating from Lingnan University in 1942 with a degree in civil engineering, he transitioned his family business from textiles into hotels and real estate. In 1953, he married Ms Esther Wong Chi-lan (1925-2015). They had three children together, Lawrence, Charles, and Joseph.
A founding member of The Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong, Mr Chan was passionate about the hotel business, building a large-scale global hotel network over six decades. In the 1950s, he founded the 30-room Capital Hotel on Nathan Road. In the 1960s, he built the Ambassador Hotel, then one of Hong Kong's most premier hotels, which housed such global dignitaries as former President of the United States Richard Nixon. In the 1970s, Mr Chan opened the 832-room Park Lane Hotel in Causeway Bay, which still stands proud today. In the 1980s, he built the second largest hotel in San Francisco with over 1,000 rooms, winning accolades from Senator Dianne Feinstein for contributing to the economy of the Greater Bay Area, including the prestigious Key to the City of San Francisco Award. His purchase of London's Churchill Hotel in the late 1980s was then the largest single asset deal in Europe. From there, he expanded his business globally, with hotels and commercial and residential properties in New York, Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, Sydney, Indonesia and beyond.
A homegrown businessman, Mr Chan was committed to nurturing local talent and giving back to society through philanthropy. In the 1980s, he donated HK$4 million to launch a hospitality vocational training programme supervised by the then Hong Kong Polytechnic. Apart from serving as a Director of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, he also donated millions to support education and infrastructure in his hometown of Taishan, Guangdong Province.
A classical music lover and an avid sportsman, in his leisure time Mr Chan enjoyed sailing, water-skiing, speed boating, bowling, and hunting. As a schoolboy, he was a star runner and a competitive triathlete. With such an athletic background, it was no wonder he became a founding member of the Hong Kong Country Club.
Married for over five decades and much loved by their children and grandchildren, Mr and Mrs Chan set a fine example for the next generation by demonstrating the value of hard work, perseverance, and commitment to traditional family values.