Also legendary was Schulze's policy that empowered each and every Ritz-Carlton employee - from chambermaid to busboy to corporate VP - to do whatever was necessary to satisfy an unhappy guest. (Schulze says the policy will be the same in his new companies, as well.) As a result, one year, 96 percent of Ritz-Carlton guests surveyed said they would "recommend or repeat" the experience, an unprecedented display of customer satisfaction.

Under Schulze, the company also enjoyed extremely low employee turnover: 24 percent in 2000, compared with 100 percent, on average, for the industry as a whole. So now that Schulze is hiring again, it's no surprise that he has his pick of the pack.

Hans Van der Reijden, for example, left his management post at the Ritz-Carlton Bali to work for Schulze as the general manager of the Solís Chicago. "I had always envied the people who got to work with Horst creating Ritz-Carlton," he reports. "Leaving Bali? I didn't give it a second thought."

When Schulze left Ritz-Carlton in 2001 to form West Paces, he was responsible for a company with $2 billion in sales. He held a position most hoteliers would be silly to fantasize about, with cash compensation alone estimated at more than $1 million a year.

"It was a beautiful time, but that painting was painted," he says, explaining why he left the company when he did. "For me, the magic lies in the creation - and I wanted to create. It was time to start a new canvas."

Whether Schulze creates a masterpiece remains to be seen. But he, of course, is optimistic. "If you do your homework, concentrate on your vision, and stand up when you fall … you will win," he says. "Nobody would say I don't know the business. And anyone who knows me knows I'm relentless."