Chairman and Founder of GS Hotels & Resorts
Goran Strok is Croatian and was brought up in the former Yugoslavia and brought up in Zagreb where, after finishing High School, he studied Law at Zagreb University.
Born to a father who was an army General and World War II Hero who was also in the Spanish Civil War and a mother who was, at the time, one of Croatia's very well-known painters, he
inherited an enviable combination of unstoppable energy, artistic flair and a practical temperament.
early career was as a successful professional racing car driver before turning to business
As a young man Goran Strok
enjoyed great success in professional motor racing and won seven national titles.
competitive spirit impelled him to participate in European and world championships, racing cars in Formula, Prototype, Saloon and Rally categories.
During this period, he
made regular contributions on motor sport to Yugoslavian and international newspapers and also acted as a consultant, test driving new models in the automobile industry.
Between 1975 and 1978 Goran Strok
was employed at one of the more successful State Trading Companies of former Yugoslavia, Velebit & Company
, based in Zagreb, to concentrate on the development of foreign trade.
remit directly involved him in securing contracts valued at over USD 200 million.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s Goran Strok
and his partners, including Derek Markland, helped establish the first privately owned newspaper in Eastern Europe, "ZAPAD".
Where it all started...Sir Christopher Wren's House in Windsor and the Grand Hotel Bonavia in Rijeka were the first two hotels purchased by Goran Strok
In 1994 Goran Strok
decided to change his
made an initial move into a quality asset based business with emphasis on the hotel and resort sector.
This move proved to be the birth of GS Hotels and Resorts as it is today.
In the short 12 year history of the company Strok
has successfully managed 16 hotels culminating in the exclusive hotel portfolio he
achievements make for impressive reading.
Each and every hotel has undergone a complete refurbishment according to the high standards of luxury and the last three (Hotel Excelsior, Konavle Tourism and Hotel Kompas in Dubrovnik) are due to happen in the year 2007/08.
Capital investments made nearly every year set the company apart from its competition.
The 12 years strategy has resulted in an impressive growth in revenue in year one of £300,000 to over £40 million in 2006 and more than 1000 employees.
It all started when he
recruited a team of highly qualified and motivated professionals and in the tumultuous year of 1995 bought the Grand Hotel Bonavia in Rijeka, the 161 room hotel.
With this investment, Strok
started to turn a long-held dream into reality - to contribute to the rebuilding of Croatian economy and its tourism industry.
In the last twelve years he
has invested more than EUR 110 million in Croatian tourism.
was convinced that re-establishing Croatia as one of Europe's finest tourist destinations was the way forward for the country on the international scene.
Strok's enthusiasm and efforts in the Croatian tourism industry have been recognized by a number of eminent international media houses such as NBC
and the Discovery Channel, who have dubbed him 'a pioneer in transforming the Croatian luxury tourism sector' in TV reports broadcast in 2005.
A Supporting Influence...
The woman behind Goran Strok
is his wife Renata who personally completes all the interior design of every hotel project undertaken
and Renata Strok's combined creative and business talents helped them to transform Sir Christopher Wren's House in to the finest hotel in Windsor.
With the purchase of the Hotel Excelsior, Goran Strok
initiated the process of repositioning the Dubrovnik
and Croatian tourism offer, entailing the highest standards of hotel operations and becoming the benchmark for competitors.
By 2002 the company was gravitating towards two key areas, Croatia and the Thames Valley in the UK.
decided to sell two Scottish properties and plough the capital back into the continued development in Croatia.
As a result, at the beginning of 2001, he founded the first Croatian management company Adriatic Luxury Hotels (ALH), which runs the hotels he owns in Croatia.
In 2004 after a brief, but highly successful operating year and a half, Strok
took the strategic decision to sell his
Indian Ocean Interests to focus his
efforts on what became the pinnacle of his
achievements in the hotel business - the Dubrovnik
Palace Hotel, Conference Centre and Spa
In May 2004 the Dubrovnik
Palace opened after an investment of EUR 45 million to national acclaim in Croatia and throughout Europe.
The hotel was opened by President Mesic of Croatia in front of a VIP audience of Croatian personalities from business, politics and show business as well as international strategic partners.
provided an Airbus from London Heathrow Terminal 4 for VIPs for the occasion.
It represented the single largest tourism development in the country in 30 years.
This self-contained five star luxury resort in Dubrovnik
was a symbol of the growth the company has achieved in the past decade and is a testament to Goran Strok's
drive and determination to constantly challenge himself and improve his
Also in 2004 he founded GS Hotels & Resorts to act as an umbrella parent brand for the hotel management companies Adriatic Luxury Hotels in Croatia and Wren's Hotel Group in the UK, and to represent the business platform for future growth.
The Hotel Bellevue
is the third luxurious five-star hotel in Dubrovnik
, this prestigious Mediterranean destination, operating under the hotel group Adriatic Luxury Hotels owned by Goran Strok
At the beginning of his
journey into the hotel business, Goran Strok's
vision was to create a unique collection of hotels and become a leader in the hotel industry.
British-Croatian success has brought numerous national and international awards to the hotels he
Palace Hotel has won the "Tourism Oscar", the prestigious World Travel Awards as Croatia's Leading Hotel and Croatia's Leading SPA Resort in 2005 and 2006 and was nominated in the category of Europe's Leading Resort.
The upcoming period will be marked with new investments and projects boldly led by Goran Strok
At the end of 2006, adaptation started of the old part of the Hotel Excelsior known as Villa Odak, which will be turned into a luxurious boutique hotel in the next few months, aiming to highlight the rich history of this cult hotel and adding wellness and spa facilities to ensure the Excelsior's flagship position within the hotel group.
In late 2006 Goran Strok
announced further plans for expanding the group and purchasing hotels in Zagreb and Split
For that reason, a new hotel brand has been created - City Luxury Hotels - which will operate under the Adriatic Luxury Hotels Group
as a cluster of its luxurious city hotels, also including future projects under management contracts.
The flagships of the City Luxury Hotels brand will be the Grand Hotel Bonavia in Rijeka and Sir Christopher House Hotel & Spa in Windsor.
GS Hotels & Resorts
today represents a prestigious international hotel collection, with luxury hotels marked by their charm, spectacular location, unique environment, real estate value and quality.
Goran and Renata Strok regard each hotel as a private house and home and empower the general manager with total autonomy to ensure that every guest experiences a sincere and personal welcome.
At the beginning of the 1990s Goran Strok
spent a lot of effort and time in lobbying the UK Government for recognition of Croatia.
During the war his
family and his
companies were major donators for Croatia and the main sponsor and organiser of the 1st Anniversary of Croatian Independence.
In all his many spheres of activity Goran Strok enjoys the absolute trust of the Honorary President of GS Hotels & Resorts, The Rt.
With Lord Taylor's help Goran Strok has made an important investment in the educational infrastructure of the Croatian town of Krapina and the Zagorje region by establishing the Izidor Strok Memorial Fund, in honour of his late father.
Two courses at the Institute of English Language Education at the University of Lancaster
were sponsored by the Fund, enabling established English teachers to update their skills.
also gives special focus through the Adriatic Tourism Foundation
to sponsoring young Croatian professionals and talented artists to enable them to develop their talents in Croatia and the UK, while Renata Strok sponsors Croatian war orphans as a Godmother.
and Renata Strok have been the main sponsors of the Julian Rachlin and Friends Chamber Music Festival fo