As President and COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, Harris Rosen is Florida’s largest independent hotelier.
Founded in 1974, Rosen Hotels & Resorts currently features a collection of nine Central Florida hotels providing 6,694 guestrooms—approximately six percent of the Central Florida inventory. The award-winning collection includes six leisure hotels—the 728-room Rosen Inn International, 1020-room Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando, 315-room Rosen Inn (closest to Universal Orlando Resort®), 640-room Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista, 134-room Midpointe Hotel and the 224 Clarion Inn and Suites at International Drive. Three luxury convention properties — the 800-room Rosen Plaza, 1334-room Rosen Centre and 1501-room Rosen Shingle Creek—combined feature 700,000 sq. ft. of versatile meeting and event space.
Rosen Hotels & Resorts owns several subsidiaries that create synergy and maximize operational efficiencies. Millennium Technology Group, founded in 1997 as an internal solution for Rosen Hotels & Resorts, is a leading provider of quality IT products and telecommunications services for the hospitality industry.
ProvInsure, Rosen’s insurance agency and risk management consulting company, was founded in 1995. Rosen Hotels & Resorts has been nationally recognized for its innovative, trend-setting associate wellness and preventative care programs as well as low-cost insurance and on-site, full-service medical facilities, all in the spirit of the Rosen Medical Center, A Place for Healing and Wellness. ProvInsure assists companies in arranging self-insured healthcare programs and primary care medical centers similar to Rosen Hotels’ nationally recognized in-house programs in addition to providing a litany of insurance related products.
Rosen’s enthusiasm for health and wellness is well-known and well-respected by his associates. An avid fitness buff and master swimmer, Rosen inspires a healthy approach to diet and exercise. He and his culinary team created Rosen’s Perfect Pizza™, a whole-wheat honey crust containing no trans fats that is sold at seven of his hotels.
Born and raised on New York City’s lower Eastside, Rosen received a Bachelor of Science in 1961 from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. He served for three years in the United States Army as an officer in Germany and South Korea. Afterward he completed the Advanced Management course at the University of Virginia’s graduate school of business on a Hilton Corporate Scholarship.
Rosen began his career at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City as a convention salesman. He continued with the Hilton Hotels Corporation occupying various management positions in some of the larger Hilton properties. He worked as the Director of Food and Beverage Operations at the Pittsburgh Hilton, the Assistant General Manager at the Buffalo Statler/Hilton, New Yorker Hotel and the Dallas Hilton and as the General Manager at the Cape Kennedy Hilton in Florida.
Rosen then joined the Post Company of Dallas as Director of Hotel Operations where he was involved in the development and management of one of its finest resort properties in Acapulco, Mexico. He left the Post Company after several years to join the Disney Company in California in 1968 as Director of Hotel Planning for Walt Disney World in Orlando. During his tenure, he was intimately involved in overseeing the design and development of the Contemporary Resort Hotel, the Polynesian Village Hotel, and the Fort Wilderness campground as part of the team that opened Walt Disney World in 1971.
Rosen left Disney and in 1974 purchased the 256-room Quality Inn on International Drive in Orlando (later expanded to 728 rooms). Shortly thereafter, Rosen acquired the Rodeway Inn International with 251 rooms. His next venture resulted in the purchase of 14 prime acres on International Drive leading to the development of the 1,020-room Quality Inn Plaza, which was at the time the largest Quality Inn in the nation. On May 15, 1987, Rosen completed the first phase of his 640-room Comfort Inn Lake Buena Vista. In 2010, the property was upgraded to the Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista. That same year, Rosen chose to engage in extensive multi-million dollar renovations for his leisure hotel portfolio. 2010 also marks the year his properties were renamed under the Rosen brand: the Quality Inn Plaza became the Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando, the Quality Inn International became the Rosen Inn International and the Rodeway Inn International became the Rosen Inn closest to Universal Orlando Resort®.
On September 13, 1991, the 800-room Rosen Plaza opened its doors as the first convention hotel in the Rosen Hotels & Resorts family and completed its first fiscal year with occupancies in the mid-ninety percent range. In October 1995, Rosen opened the 1,334-room Rosen Centre, the company’s second convention hotel. Both hotels bookend the West Building of the Orange County Convention Center and are connected via pedestrian skywalks.
In 2003, Rosen acquired 255 acres east of the Orange County Convention Center and began construction of his largest property to date: the 1,501-room Rosen Shingle Creek, which opened on September 9, 2006 (Rosen’s birthday). The hotel features 524,000 gross square feet of meeting and event space and world-class amenities including the 18-hole, championship Shingle Creek Golf Club, The Spa at Shingle Creek including a full-service salon and fitness center, four outdoor swimming pools, tennis court, beach volleyball, a nature trail and more. In addition, guests enjoy 15 dining and lounging options including two nationally recognized, AAA Four Diamond restaurants—A Land Remembered and Cala Bella Italian bistro—and the full-service, 24-hour 18 Monroe Street Market.
Education and wellness have long been at the forefront of Rosen’s philanthropic endeavors. In 2002, Rosen donated a 20-acre site at the foot of Rosen Shingle Creek and $10 million to the University of Central Florida (UCF) to develop the Rosen College of Hospitality Management. Ranked number two among hospitality colleges worldwide, the Rosen College opened in January 2004 with fewer than 100 students and is currently among the fastest growing colleges in the United States climbing in enrollment to more than 3,500 students to date. Rosen also funds a $2.5 million dollar scholarship endowment for UCF that is matched by the state of Florida and is funding a planned future expansion of the much acclaimed college.
Rosen strongly believes the opportunity to receive a better education can and must start as early as 2 years of age. This belief is evident in his long-time commitment to the underserved Orlando neighborhood of Tangelo Park. Since 1993, Rosen’s Tangelo Park Program has provided free preschool for all 2-, 3-, and 4-year olds who live in the Tangelo Park neighborhood. All of the neighborhood youngsters who graduate from high school and are accepted to a trade school, community college, or 4-year public college or university in Florida are provided with an all-expense paid college education to include: tuition, books, room and board—paid for by Rosen. Over the years, high school graduation rates have improved dramatically from approximately 55% to nearly 100%. To date, approximately 250 Tangelo Park youth have received full college scholarships.
In 2016, Rosen’s passion for providing hope through education opportunities led him to embark on a similar program in the Parramore neighborhood, an underserved urban community located near downtown Orlando, which is five times the size of the Tangelo Park neighborhood. Once again he provides free trade school, community college or four-year Florida public college education to high school graduates living in this community. More than 40 Parramore youth have received college scholarships. In 2017, Rosen opened the Rosen Preschool at the Orange County Public Schools Academic Center for Excellence as an extension of this program. He provides funding for a 24-classroom onsite preschool for all 2-, 3- and 4-year olds in the neighborhood. In 2017, Rosen also announced the addition of three private college scholarships at Rollins College, located in the Orlando suburb of Winter Park, to be made available to recipients of both scholarships programs.
Complementing both programs, Rosen has, since 2008, funded an alternative spring break for Cornell University students who visit and engage in a week-long mentoring program with the Tangelo Park and more recently Parramore students.
In September 2009, the Jack and Lee Rosen Jewish Community Center, named in honor of Rosen’s parents, opened its doors. Rosen’s contribution of $5.1 million provided for a state-of-the-art facility and school that now serves approximately 150 students, ages 2 months to 5-years old. In 2016, an additional $3.7 million multi-purpose theatre was donated by Rosen to accommodate the tremendous growth and popularity of the center.
Rosen served as the Honorary Co-Chair of the Bethune-Cookman University Statue Project with the late Dr. Dorothy Height, President Emeriti of the National Council of Negro Women. In January 2005, the project team unveiled a statue sculpted of America’s beloved Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune including fountains and landscaping on the campus of Bethune-Cookman University, which Dr. Bethune founded in 1904.
Rosen’s contributions have reach far beyond Orlando to other communities in need. Rosen Hotels has long contributed to Haiti relief, providing on-going medical and school supplies as well as hosting the “Water for Haiti Gala” in 2005 that raised $350,000 to send water filtration devices to Haiti, which are capable of providing clean drinking water to approximately 200,000 people. In 2010, Rosen launched the Haiti Relief Rebuild Sustain program. Through Rosen’s personal funding and charity, this philanthropic initiative raised $650,000 to provide aid to the victims of the 2010 earthquake. After 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, Rosen rebuilt more than 100 Haitian homes devastated by the hurricane. The new homes were unveiled in 2017 and feature hurricane-resistant features and more modern facilities.
Rosen is a member of the Cornell Society of Hotelmen and the Waldorf Astoria Distinguished Alumni Association. He is also the past president of Visit Orlando. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Rosen YMCA Aquatic Center and on the dean’s advisory board of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at UCF. Through the years, Rosen has been honored to receive a number of distinguished accolades including, to name a few:
2022 – UNCF’s Community Champion of Education Award
2021 – Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Innovators
2021 – Florida’s Children First, Outstanding Champion for Children
2013 – Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame
2009 – Junior Achievement of Central Florida Business Hall of Fame
2020 – Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference Public/Private Achievement Award
2018 – Orlando Business Journal’s Inaugural Lifetime Achievement in Diversity in Business Award
2018 – World Health Care Congress, Lifetime Achievement Diamond Award – Health Benefits Innovation
2018 – World Health Care Congress, Lifetime Achievement Diamond Award – Public Leadership
2018 – International Drive YMCA Facility becomes the Rosen YMCA Aquatic Center
2018 – Ambassador for the Poor Award, Food for the Poor
2017 – Orlando Business Journal’s CEO of the Year
2017 – Orlando Business Journal’s Philanthropist of the Year
2017 – International Drive Resort Area Chamber’s Harris Rosen Philanthropy Award (named in his honor as an annual award)
2016 – Citizen of the Year Award by the University of Florida’s Bob Graham Center
2016 – Outstanding Community Supporter of Education Award by Beta Xi Chapter of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa
2016 – Inducted into the U. S. Army ROTC National Hall of Fame
2015 – The King Center Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. Award
2015 – Orange County Public Schools’ Philanthropist Hall of Fame
2015 – American Heart Association Gary Sain “Go Red” Health Champion Award
2014 – Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center’s Dinner of Tribute Honoree
2013 – NAACP Humanitarian Award
2013 – Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Humanitarian Award
2012 – 100 Black Men, Inc. Chairman’s Award
2011 – Cornell University Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year 2011
2011 – Central Florida Hospitality Hall of Fame Inductee
2010 – Visit Florida Tourism Hall of Fame Award Inductee
Rosen has four children, Jack, Joshua, and Shayna who live in Orlando, and Adam Michael Rosen, who passed away on November 23, 2018.