The first Radisson Hotel was built in 1909 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US. It is named after the 17th-century French explorer, ranger and furrier Pierre-Esprit Radisson. The hotel was purchased in 1962 by Curt Carlson (1914–1999) and is still owned by the Carlson estate.
The majority of Radisson-branded hotels are located in the United States. The company's headquarters, as well as the headquarters of the parent organization, Carlson, are located in Minnetonka, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, the city where the first Radisson Hotel was built. The original Radisson Hotel, founded by heiress Edna Dickerson, was opened on December 15, 1909 at 41 South Seventh Street in Minneapolis.
Radisson Blu is the brand name for Radisson hotels primarily outside the United States, including those in Europe, Africa and Asia. These are operated by Radisson Hotel Group, of which Carlson is the main stakeholder. Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) was previously a major shareholder and licensed its brand for Radisson SAS hotels. Following the withdrawal of SAS from the partnership on February 4, 2009, the name was gradually replaced by Radisson Blu.
Radisson Blu operates 158 hotels, with 42 projects in development. Radisson Blu previously did not exist within the borders of the United States. The first Radisson Blu in the United States opened in downtown Chicago in Aqua, a skyscraper, in November 2011. The second one opened in March 2013 in Bloomington, Minnesota and is connected to the Mall of America. Former Radisson Plaza hotels in Philadelphia and Minneapolis were converted to Radisson Blu.
Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotels is a luxury line of 13 hotels in London and Manchester; often operating in historic buildings.