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Accor enters strategic brand development deal with LVMH

June 17, 2024

Orient Express has a new benefactor. Image credit: LVMH/ARR The partnership, announced June 13, aims to bring experiences at Orient Express to new heights. Image credit: LVMH/ARR


French hotel giant Accor is looking to scale the reach of international hotel, river cruise and rail company Orient Express in the travel world.

A deal inked with French luxury conglomerate LVMH, announced June 13, promises to bring the group's subsidiary to new heights. Accor's Orient Express relaunch, which, in addition to rebranded trips scheduled for 2025, includes plans to expand into the luxury yachts and hotels space, is now backed by the world's largest luxury goods company.

“Orient Express is a legend ever since its creation 140 years ago, drawing on its roots and its oneiric universe while remaining at all times firmly focused on the future,” said Sébastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of Accor Group, in a statement.

“With Orient Express, Accor is reinventing the art of travel, discovery and great odysseys,” Mr. Bazin said. “With LVMH today, we are opening a new chapter in this exciting journey, with the ambition of exploring new horizons and embodying the audacity and creative passion that drive our groups.

“We’re delighted to enlist LVMH’s rare expertise to continue pushing further the frontiers of this legend and bringing its embodiment to life in an ever more singular way.”

Moving forward
Though exact agreement terms are not yet public, the entire agreement contains “a strategic investment in the Orient Express brand, in the company that will operate the future hotels and trains, and in the entity that will own the two sailing ships,” according to a statement.

Accor bought Orient Express, founded in 1883, in 2022. LVMH has operated high-end hotel brand Belmond’s suite of five locomotives since the 1980s.

Moving forward, the conglomerate will lend its prestige travel expertise to the launch of Orient Express’ sailing venture, set to debut in 2026 (see story), for which both partners are currently searching for a third investor.

The pair also count Orient Express' two upcoming hotels in Rome and Venice among its areas of shared development.

Orient Express is now a joint venture between the two French luxury staples. Image credit: Accor Orient Express is now a joint venture between the two French luxury staples. Image credit: Accor

“Orient Express epitomizes the art of refined living and the audacity that drives each of our Houses,” said Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH, in a statement.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Accor to accelerate the renewal of this travel icon,” Mr. Arnault said. “Each of our groups will bring the best of its expertise to take Orient Express to the pinnacle of the art of hospitality.”

To help support the development and construction of the Orient Express Silenseas, said to be the largest sailing ship in the world upon its completion, LVMH and Accor are actively searching for a third partner.