134 years to the day after the first Orient Express trip between Paris and Constantinople (4 October, 1883), SNCF Group, owner of the iconic “Orient Express” brand, announced a new partnership with AccorHotels that sees the hotel group acquire a 50% stake in the share capital of Orient Express, until now fully-owned by SNCF.
AccorHotels says it intends to build on this partnership to strengthen its leadership in the luxury segment, by developing a new collection of prestigious hotels under the Orient Express banner. The company says the collection aims to be the very epitome of the art of travel and will offer a unique experience, steeped in history that combines the luxury, exoticism and sophistication of East and West in iconic locations.
Since 1977, SNCF Group has been actively involved in developing the brand’s prestigious image, notably through the restoration of vintage carriages dating from the 1920s (known as the Pullman-Orient-Express). The seven historic cars will remain the physical property of the state-owned rail group, and will be operated by Orient Express for private journeys and events. AccorHotels says these provide a ‘new and exceptional setting’ for the organisation of events, which may be held in collaboration with AccorHotels’ other businesses such as Potel & Chabot, Noctis and John Paul.