134 years to the day after the first Orient Express trip between Paris and Constantinople (October 4th, 1883), SNCF Group, owner of the iconic “Orient Express” brand, teams up with AccorHotels to continue the development of Orient Express within the luxury hospitality sector globally.
As part of this partnership, which will combine the expertise and savoir-faire of the two groups, AccorHotels will be acquiring a 50% stake in the share capital of Orient Express, until now fully-owned by SNCF.
134 years to the day after the first Orient Express trip…
The Orient Express brand is a timeless symbol of the art of luxury travel, steeped in culture, splendor and refinement. The legendary train, which for almost a century connected Europe’s greatest cities, from Paris to Istanbul, is imprinted in both History and imagination. 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) and the organization of events (such as the exhibition “Once upon a time the Orient Express” at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris in 2014).
AccorHotels 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. This collection, which aims to be the very epitome of the art of travel, will offer a unique experience steeped in history that combines the luxury, exoticism and sophistication of East and West in iconic locations.
In addition, the seven historic cars, symbols of French Art Deco, will remain the physical property of the state-owned rail group, and will be operated by Orient Express for private journeys and events. They will provide a new and exceptional setting for the organization of events, which may be held in collaboration with AccorHotels’ other businesses such as Potel & Chabot, Noctis and John Paul.
AccorHotels and SNCF Group are also together committed to preserving, promoting and sharing the heritage connected with the legendary train and its history through the Orient Express Endowment Fund, a public interest body whose aim is to encourage and support awareness-building initiatives to benefit a wide audience in the field of the arts and culture.
ABOUT THE ORIENT EXPRESS
The Orient Express is embarking on an amazing journey recalling the technical, industrial and artistic achievements of the legendary train that began running 140 years ago, combining rare places, unprecedented experiences and extraordinary objects. Thanks to its history and place in the popular imagination, this new art of travelling draws inspiration from the European capitals along its route to the gates of the Orient.
ABOUT SNCF GROUP
SNCF is a global leader in passenger and freight transport services with revenue of €32.3 billion in 2016, of which one-third on international markets. With 260,000 employees in 120 countries, SNCF draws on its foundations in French rail and on its extensive experience as an architect of transport services. It aims to become the benchmark for mobility and logistics solutions, both in France and worldwide. SNCF has six core businesses: SNCF Réseau (management and operation of the French rail network); SNCF Voyageurs (commuter transport in the Paris region, regional and inter-city public transport, high-speed rail in France and Europe); SNCF Gares & Connexions (management and development of stations); SNCF Logistics (freight transport and logistics worldwide); Keolis (mass transit and public transport in Europe and around the globe); and SNCF Immobilier (management and optimization of SNCF property and land assets).
The AccorHotels Group is a global leader in travel and lifestyle, and a pioneer in digital technology, offering unique experiences in more than 4,200 hotels, resorts and residences, and in more than 10,000 outstanding private residences worldwide. With its dual expertise as an investor and operator, through its HotelInvest and HotelServices divisions, AccorHotels operates in 95 countries. Its portfolio includes internationally renowned luxury brands such as Raffles, Sofitel Legend, SO Sofitel, Sofitel, Fairmont, onefinestay, MGallery by Sofitel, Pullman and Swissôtel, the mid-range boutique hotel brands 25hours, Novotel, Mercure, Mama Shelter and Adagio, and very popular budget brands such as JO&JOE, ibis, ibis Styles oribis budget, as well as the regional brands Grand Mercure, The Sebel and hotelF1.
SOURCES: AccorHotels / Orient Express