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AccorHotels advances with new hotel and luxury trains

October 10, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

In major moves for AccorHotels on the Australian and international front, the hotel group has bought a half-share of Orient Express, the famed luxury train, and it has opened Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour – the first new-build, international luxury hotel to debut in Sydney’s CBD this millennium. 

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is the first new Sofitel property to be built in Australia.

The Orient Express deal was announced 134 years to the day since the first Orient Express trip between Paris and Constantinople. The luxury train was formerly owned outright by SNCF, the French railway group. SNCF and AccorHotels now own half each and have pledged to continue the development of Orient Express within the luxury hospitality sector globally.

Aboard the Orient Express

Since 1977, SNCF Group has been actively involved in developing the Orient Express brand’s prestigious image, notably through the restoration of vintage carriages dating from the 1920s (known as the Pullman-Orient-Express) and the organisation 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.

In Australia meanwhile, the launch of the Sofitel has broken a 5-star accommodation drought that stretches back before the Sydney Olympics, with the last internationally-branded luxury hotel opened in 1999.

Orient Express ready to depart

The opening of the Sofitel heralds a renaissance of new hotel development in Sydney, with over 40 hotels scheduled to open over the next five years to support the city’s record-breaking tourism growth.

For such an auspicious launch, the hotel’s owner, Dr Jerry Schwartz, and chief operating officer of AccorHotels Pacific, Simon McGrath decided to offer the whole hotel to 33 charities to support in their fundraising. As a result, the charities raised AUD 508,000, supporting a range of causes including medical research, disadvantaged children and families, education, Indigenous development and homelessness.

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

“Being the most important hotel opening since the Olympics, we wanted to once again involve the whole of Sydney by supporting charities that do so much for communities across the city and the State,” Schwartz said.

“This hotel launch will also help cement Darling Harbour as one of the world’s most dynamic tourism and events precincts, and power future international and domestic demand for the city.”

Dr Jerry Schwartz, owner of Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, with chief operating officer Simon McGrath, backed by charity chief executives at the hotel’s opening

Simon McGrath said, “Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour will be a landmark hotel for Sydney and with its proximity to the International Convention Centre, the hotel will help bring major conferences and events to the city and will be a significant contributor to the tourism sector.”

Written by Peter Needham

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