134 years to the day after the first Orient Express trip between Paris and Constantinople (Oct. 4, 1883), SNCF Group, owner of the iconic “Orient Express” brand [originally a long-distance passenger train service], 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 of the two groups, AccorHotels will be acquiring a 50% stake in the share capital of Orient Express, which was up until now fully-owned by SNCF.
"We are delighted with this strategic partnership, which today cements the alliance of two major French players in the world of travel for a shared purpose, that of giving fresh impetus and international standing to an historic and world-renowned brand,” said Sébastien Bazin, chairman & CEO, AccorHotels. “Thanks to this partnership, our customers will be able to enjoy a prestigious range of services and exceptional experiences.”
The Orient Express brand is a timeless symbol of the art of luxury travel, steeped in culture, splendor and refinement. For almost a century, the legendary train connected Europe's greatest cities, from Paris to Istanbul.
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 a historic Orient Express exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris).
AccorHotels intends to build on this partnership 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 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 an exceptional setting for private events, which may be held in collaboration with AccorHotels' other businesses.