Accor’s ultra-luxury Orient Express hotel brand is adding Rome to its modest stable of properties.
Following a complete renovation, Orient Express Rome will take the site of the Grand Hotel de la Minerve, just footsteps away from the Pantheon.
The Orient Express Rome is one of five hotels “under negotiation” for the brand, with other 5-star projects earmarked for London, Paris, Milan and Florence. Accor has visions for the Orient Express brand, which it bought into in 2017, to reach ten properties by 2030.
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Italian real estate investor Arsenale Spa signed a preliminary purchase agreement for the historic 17th century structure that houses the Grand Hotel de la Minerve.
The transaction is part of Arsenale’s development strategy of enhancing premium Italian assets in the luxury sector and working alongside the biggest international brands to create new hospitality destinations, ready to meet the challenges of the tourism market over the next decade.
The signing of the preliminary agreement between Arsenale and the Billi family, owner and manager of Hotel de La Minerve for the past 30 years, begins a process that will see a total luxury refit of the building, after which the ongoing management will be entrusted to the iconic Orient Express brand, part of the Accor Group.
Orient Express will bring the legendary spirit of Europe’s golden age of travel back to the heart of Rome, enabling travellers to enjoy a modern yet historic stopover inspired by the opulent services of the original train. Guests will be able to stay in the renovated hotel in time for Christmas 2023.
The deal between Arsenale and the Billi family will see the hotel continue its operations during 2021 under the guidance and management of the family, before the beginning of the 20-month refit process from 2022.
Paolo Barletta, CEO of Arsenale Spa, commented: “It is a great honour and privilege to work on a hotel as iconic and full of history as the Hotel de la Minerve, and the honour is made even greater by the involvement of Orient Express, one of the world’s most famous and prestigious luxury brands. The Minerve is not just a hotel but a cornerstone of Italian hospitality. Carrying forward its history and role is a mission we hope to pursue with the entire community.”
“We are convinced that the city of Rome has a growing market for true luxury hospitality and Accor will help us to build with their know-how and incredible Orient Express brand. This development is a big step forward in that direction,” Barletta added.
Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO of Accor commented: “I am delighted with this important partnership between Arsenale Spa and Orient Express. We are proud to be involved in the creation of such a high-class and romantic landmark in Rome.”
“To bring this incredible heritage in such an iconic capital with great history is obviously a fantastic achievement for the brand and our Group. The hotel will be an extraordinary addition to the collection of prestigious hotels we are targeting, combining the wonders of foreign travel and the comforts of home.”