Otto Svensson, 64: Hotel manager’s work ethic was ‘excellent’

Among all adjectives that could be used to describe Otto Svensson, there’s one his daughter said rings true above all: Excellent.

Excellent in his work ethic, excellent in his relationships, everything Svensson did was done to near perfection, which made an undeniable impression on all those who knew him, said his daughter Bianca Svensson of New York.

“He would always ask, ‘did you do it right? Was it excellent?’ ” she said. “That word will always stick with us because of my dad.”

That excellence was apparent in Otto Svensson’s 18-year career with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co., for which he’d served as everything from manager of the food and beverage department to general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, while simultaneously serving as the area vice president for the Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta and the Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation.

But regardless of where he was, he was always holding himself and his work to superb expectations, said longtime friend Leonardo Inghilleri, president and CEO of Inghilleri Consulting Group, LLC.

“He was extraordinarily creative and hardworking,” he said. “He was very cutting-edge, always ahead of the trends and a very progressive professional.”

Otto Svensson of Sandy Springs died Tuesday from complications of an apparent stroke at his second home in Big Canoe. He was 64.

The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. Sunday at H.M. Patterson & Son Spring Hill Chapel, which is handling the arrangements. Svensson’s funeral is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church. Interment will immediately follow at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs, and a reception will follow at the Svenssons’ home.

Born in Betzigerode, Germany, Svensson attended The Hotel & Business School of Berlin, from which he graduated with a degree in hotel business administration in 1975. His first job was with the Omni Hotel International, which brought him to the United States in 1976, and where he worked until he joined the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. in 1989.

But Germany and the United States weren’t the only places Svensson left his mark. He teamed up with Inghilleri, and the pair worked tirelessly during the Ritz’s expansion in the mid-90s and ended up opening hotels in every continent. Minus Antarctica, of course.

Svensson retired from Ritz-Carlton in 2007, but his retirement was short-lived, for he accepted a position in 2008 with West Paces Hotel Group before beginning work as the general manager of the Melia Atlanta Hotel, where he worked until accepting his most recent general manager position at Big Canoe, which he started May 19.

Early retirement was just something that didn’t suit Svensson’s hardworking disposition, said his wife of 26 years, Dolores Svensson of Sandy Springs.

“He just thought he was too young to stay at home,” she said with a laugh. “It was his work ethic. We call it his boundless energy.”

Although Svensson’s career was successful, he never believed he was above performing even the smallest tasks. That, said his daughter Alexa Svensson of New York, is one of the main reasons he is so highly regarded and respected by all those who knew him.

“He was a tremendous person, and nobody compares to him,” she said. “He’s going to be deeply missed by not only his family, but by everybody who’d ever come into contact with him.”

In addition to his wife and daughters, Svensson is survived by a sister, Vera Engelhardt of Berlin, Germany.