Radisson Blu, formerly Radisson SAS, is an upper upscale brand for Radisson Hotels primarily outside the United States, including those in Europe, Africa, and Asia. These are operated by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.
Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) was previously a major shareholder in Rezidor Hotel Group and licensed its brand for Radisson SAS hotels. Following the withdrawal of SAS from the partnership in 2009, the name changed from Radisson SAS to Radisson Blu. The new brand is currently being introduced gradually across the portfolio. In 2012, Carlson Hotels and Rezidor Hotel Group combined to form Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.
Radisson Blu operates 265 hotels, with 42 projects in development.
Radisson SAS was created in 1994 when SAS International Hotels (SIH) joined forces with the Radisson brand for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in a joint branding initiative.
In 2000, Radisson SAS opened its hundredth hotel.
In 2002, Rezidor introduced the SAS Hospitality brand. Radisson SAS operated more than 150 properties at this time in more than 40 countries throughout EMEA. By late 2006, Rezidor SAS, renamed The Rezidor Hotel Group, IPO's on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.
In 2008, The Rezidor Hotel Group had a total portfolio of over 360 hotels in 55 countries.
When the name was changed in 2009, Gordon McKinnon, Rezidor’s Executive Vice President of Brands, explained that the name Blu was choice from Rezidor’s research to find a new visual differentiator to replace the familiar SAS ‘blue box’.
“The name Blu started life as the project’s working title. But it soon became apparent that it was actually the most natural of choices. It’s simple, it’s short, it’s relevant and we’ve applied it in a way that adds a certain modernity to the identity without taking it too far,” he said.
“Most importantly it also promotes our specific brand heritage by preserving the graphic ‘blue box’ which has become the recognised symbol of the distinctive characteristics of the Radisson brand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Radisson Blu preserves the continuity of our unique brand, while taking it that one essential step forward to more accurately represent its true position and future ambitions.”
Expansion into United States
SAS previously did not exist within the borders of the United States. The first Radisson Blu in the U.S., the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel opened in downtown Chicago in Aqua, a skyscraper, in November 2011. The second Radisson Blu, the Radisson Blu Mall of America opened on March 15th, 2013 in Bloomington, Minnesota and is connected to the Mall of America. After completion of a $17 million renovation, the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel Philadelphia will become the third Radisson Blu late summer 2013, and renamed The Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel Philadelphia. A fourth Radisson Blu will open in Minneapolis, Minnesota in early 2014. Work is to start in November 2013 to expand and remodel the current Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Minneapolis and convert it to a Radisson Blu.
- "Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts to change their name to Radisson Blu". Rezidor. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
- "Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts". Rezidor. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
- "Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts - About us". Rezidor. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
- "Radisson Blu to Open First Hotel in the U.S. in Chicago". Hotel Chatter. Retrieved 2011-06-29.