Caroline Rose Hunt

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Caroline Rose Hunt
Born(1923-01-08)January 8, 1923
DiedNovember 13, 2018(2018-11-13) (aged 95)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
EducationHockaday School
Alma materMary Baldwin College
University of Texas at Austin
OccupationHotelier, author, philanthropist
Spouse(s)Loyd Bowmer Sands
Buddy Schoellkopf
Parent(s)H. L. Hunt
Lyda Bunker

Caroline Rose Hunt (January 8, 1923 – November 13, 2018) was an American heiress, hotelier and philanthropist who was at one time the wealthiest woman in the United States.[2] She is known for having been the founder of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which she opened in 1979.

Early life[edit]

Caroline Rose Hunt was born on January 8, 1923, the daughter of oilman H. L. Hunt (1889–1974) and Lyda Bunker (1889–1955).[3][4][5][6][7] She had six siblings: Margaret Hunt Hill (1915–2007), H. L. Hunt III (1917–2005), Lyda Bunker Hunt (born and died in 1925), Nelson Bunker Hunt (1926–2014), William Herbert Hunt (born 1929), and Lamar Hunt (1932–2006).[3] While she was growing up, the family lived in the east Texas town of Tyler.[8] Hunt said that as a child, she was unaware of the family's wealth until she found a Life magazine picture of her father, "with a caption that asked, 'Is this the richest man in the world?' "[1]

She was educated at the Hockaday School, an all-girl boarding school in Dallas.[2][9] She then attended Mary Baldwin College,[7] a private women's college in Staunton, Virginia, for two years, until she transferred to the University of Texas at Austin, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English[10] and art history.[1]


Prior to her first marriage, Hunt worked in her father's Dallas office.[7] She later worked as a sales clerk at the Neiman Marcus department store in Dallas.[7] During her first marriage and through much of her second, she focused on her family and charitable work, not holding any job outside the home until she entered the hotel business at age 55.[7][11]

In 1979, she opened The Mansion on Turtle Creek (later known as the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek), a luxury hotel in Dallas' Turtle Creek neighborhood that includes an adjoining restaurant housed in a 1925 Italian Renaissance mansion built by cotton baron Sheppard King and later owned by oilman Toddie Lee Wynne.[3][4][9][12][13] That same year, Hunt founded Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, where she served as Honorary Chairman at the time of her death.[3][4][9][12] The company owned the Hotel Bel-Air in Bel Air, Los Angeles in the 1980s, but sold it in 1989.[4][7] It currently owns the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, among a portfolio of other luxury hotels.[3] It is a subsidiary of a larger company owned by Hong Kong billionaire Henry Cheng[5] as the result of Hunt's 2011 sale of Rosewood and five of its hotel properties.[2] She was inducted into the North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors Hall of Fame in May 2013.[14]

Hunt had a line of bath and skin products called Lady Primrose,[2][3] an outgrowth of the English country antiques shop she opened in 1987 with a friend.[1][15] At one time, The Mansion provided Lady Primrose toiletries in its guest rooms.[16] When Rosewood opened its first hotel in London, The Lanesborough, Hunt used her travel experience scouring the English countryside for antiques to aid her in assuaging fears in the London press that the expensive new hotel overlooking Buckingham Palace would not fit into London traditions rather than — in the words of one American writer — "a purely American hotel with tent cards on the tables and American waiters introducing themselves with [...] 'Hi, y'all, my name is Steve.' "[17]

In 2000, she wrote a novel, Primrose Past: The 1848 Journal of Young Lady Primrose.[3] She also wrote two cookbooks.[10] Because of her hotels, the acclaim for the restaurant of The Mansion on Turtle Creek, and her cookbooks, she was a member of the Dallas chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier, a professional organization for women involved in the food, wine, and hospitality industries;.[8][18] Her accomplishment as a restaurateur was additionally acknowledged in 2009 by receiving Savor Dallas' Lone Star Award for Culinary Achievement.[8] Moreover, she was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 1999.[9]


Hunt served on the Board of Trustees of Mary Baldwin College for twenty years.[10] In 1991, together with her sister Margaret, she paid for the restoration of Hilltop, an 1810 building on the campus of Mary Baldwin College which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[19] Additionally, she was a recipient of honorary degrees from Mary Baldwin College and the University of Charleston.[10]

She was a co-Founder, Honorary Vice Chair of and significant donor to the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Foundation.[9][10][20] She received the National Award from the United Way Tocqueville Society.[10] In 2013, she received the J. Erik Jonsson Award from the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.[21]

Hunt was also a donor to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Tiffany Circle of the American Red Cross, the conservative Heritage Foundation, and the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress.[9][10] She served on the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. for ten years.[9][10] She also served as Honorary Chair of the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, a non-profit organization for research into macular degeneration — a condition from which Hunt herself suffered[2] — and restoration of vision loss.[22] She sat on the Advisory Board of the National Psoriasis Foundation.[23]

Locally, she was a donor to the Junior League of Dallas, the Crystal Charity Ball, the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Downtown Dallas, the Dallas Opera, the Dallas Symphony, and the Dallas Woman's Club.,[2][9][10] as well as to Dallas CASA foster-care child advocates[2] and to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas.[24] She served as a co-Chair of the Dallas/Fort Worth Committee of the Celebration of Reading organized by the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, founded by First Lady Barbara Bush.[25] Additionally, she received the Caroline Rose Hunt rose for donating more than US$10,000 to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.[26] She also received the Rose Award for her donations to the Dallas Children's Theater in 2013.[27] She was an auxiliary member of the Nexus Recovery Center, a non-profit organization which provides specialized substance abuse services for females in Dallas.[28] Additionally, she received the TACA Silver Cup Award from The Arts Community Alliance in 2012 for her donations.[9]

She attended the Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, where she served as the first woman deacon.[10] She also served on the Board of Trustees of the Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Hunt was married twice.[6] Her first husband was Loyd Bowmer Sands, a pilot in the United States Navy.[6][7] They had five children:

  • Laurie Sands Harrison.[6] She married Frank Walls Harrison III.[6]
  • David Sands.[6] He married Nancy Goldman Sands.[6]
  • Patrick Bryan Sands.[6] He married Sara Faulconer Sands.[6]
  • John Bunker Sands.[6] He married Ramona Stark Sands.[6]
  • Stephen Sands.[6] He married Marcy Wilson Sands.[6]

After they divorced in 1973, she married a second time, to Buddy Schoellkopf.[6][7] They later divorced.[7][15]

Hunt died on November 13, 2018, from a stroke at the age of 95.[29]


  1. ^ a b c d Cotten Timberlake. "A little thriftiness, lots of luxury – Caroline Hunt puts father's lessons to work at her hotels," Houston Chronicle, June 7, 1992, Business section, page 8.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Cheryl Hall. "Once considered America's richest woman, Caroline Hunt offers a rare look at her famous Dallas family," Archived July 31, 2018, at the Wayback Machine. The Dallas Morning News, November 3, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Linda Lee, A NIGHT OUT WITH: Caroline Rose Hunt; as indefatigable as ever Archived July 31, 2018, at the Wayback Machine., The New York Times, January 28, 2001.
  4. ^ a b c d David Whitford. Oil heiress strikes gold in hotels Archived October 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., CNN, March 31, 2006
  5. ^ a b Alan Peppard, Chris Vognar, Mr. Dallas, Terry Box. "Dossier Dallas: Caroline Rose Hunt, starting with an old home, built a hospitality empire," The Dallas Morning News, July 8, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Hunt Family Tree Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine., D Magazine.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i J. Michael Kennedy. Caroline Hunt's soured investment: Wealth: one of the nation's richest women has lost a bundle on stock in First Executive. Now her trust is bidding for the Los Angeles insurance company Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine., The Los Angeles Times, February 9, 1990.
  8. ^ a b c Karen Robinson-Jacobs. "The taste of success – turning the spotlight on Dallas' fine dining," The Dallas Morning News, March 5, 2009, page 1D (Business section).
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The Arts Community Alliance". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Texas Woman's University: Caroline Rose Hunt – 2009 Leadership Award Winner". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  11. ^ Marty Primeau. "Caroline Hunt Schoellkopf: this Dallas billionaire is frugal, fastidious and flying high with her booming hotel business," The Dallas Morning News, August 21, 1984, pp. 1F-2F.
  12. ^ a b Executive Profile: Caroline Rose Hunt, Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
  13. ^ Kimberly Goad. "The Mansion: Opulence and prestige are not enough – 10 secrets to running America's best hotel," Archived July 31, 2018, at the Wayback Machine. D Magazine, October 1997.
  14. ^ Candace Carlisle. "NTCAR names Caroline Rose Hunt, Mike Berry to Hall of Fame Archived November 11, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.," Dallas Business Journal, February 4, 2013.
  15. ^ a b Diane Jennings. "Caroline Hunt," The Dallas Morning News, High Profile section, page 13E.
  16. ^ Mary Gastelow. "Welcome back to Dallas' iconic luxury hotel," GirlAhead, March 16, 2015.
  17. ^ Skip Hollandsworth. "Beyond luxury: A Texas company has shocked London by taking over one of the world’s most expensive hotels—only a block from Buckingham Palace," Archived July 31, 2018, at the Wayback Machine. Texas Monthly, June 1992.
  18. ^ Les Dames d'Escoffier Dallas: Membership Archived September 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Mary Baldwin College: Annual Giving Societies Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ Caroline Rose Hunt's lasting legacy Archived October 25, 2013, at
  21. ^ Robert Miller, "Caroline Rose Hunt receives J. Erik Jonsson Award" Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine., The Dallas Morning News, June 19, 2013
  22. ^ Past Events: Levee Singers Event Raises more than $210,000 for Macular Degeneration Research Archived October 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ "National Psoriasis Foundation Advisory Board". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  24. ^ "Perot Museum of Nature and Science: Founders Circle Supporters". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  25. ^ Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, August 12, 2013.
  26. ^ Terry Ann Lendecker. Rose Hunt receives her own rose from Botanical Garden, White Rock Lake Weekly, October 25, 2013.
  27. ^ "Dallas Children's Theater". Archived from the original on September 30, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  28. ^ The Nexus Journey: The Miracle of Recovery, Summer 2009
  29. ^ "Caroline Rose Hunt, mother of the Crescent and the Mansion, dies at 95". Dallas News. Archived from the original on November 14, 2018. Retrieved November 13, 2018.