LVMH gets onboard Orient Express development

New strategic partnership with Accor to accelerate development of hospitality brand

Accor and LVMH have entered into a strategic partnership to accelerate the development of Orient Express, a legendary House synonymous for more than a century with the most exclusive travel experiences.

Since the inaugural voyage of its train in 1883, Orient Express has been taking the discovery of the world to new heights for clients in search of distinctive and refined adventures. A symbol of elegance and audacity, Orient Express embodies a lifestyle that encapsulates the extraordinary and enchantment.

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Following its acquisition by Accor in 2022, Orient Express is developing new iconic ventures for trains, hotels and sailing ships whose exacting standards will reflect an extraordinary positioning within the travel world. The renaissance of an historic train (namely La Dolce Vita Orient Express) and the launch of the first Orient Express sailing ship in 2026 – known as Orient Express Corinthian – will be the next steps in this renewed impetus.

In parallel with these launches, Orient Express will open its first hotels in Rome and Venice while continuing the selective development of its global destinations.

Venice Simplon-Orient Express

Under the terms of the agreements signed this week, LVMH will be joining forces with Accor through 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. The first ship is currently under construction at Chantiers de l’Atlantique, France, and the two groups will continue to search together for a third partner for this new venture.

By contributing to the revival of this iconic brand, LVMH will add its unique expertise in high-quality products and services, illustrated in particular, in the world of travel, by the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train and the five other trains also operated by around the world by Belmond – one of the many brands of LVMH.

“These experiences reflect the operational expertise and creativity of LVMH Hospitality Excellence in this field,” the parties said.

Orient Express Cornithian | © Maxime dAngeac Martin Darzacq

Within its Luxury and Lifestyle division, Accor brings together the leading collection of luxury brands with a century-old legacy in the hotel and fine dining sectors. The heritage and history of several of these brands, including Raffles, Fairmont and Potel & Chabot, have enabled Accor to rejuvenate the experience for clients in search of excellence and distinctiveness. This vision is at the heart of the Orient Express project.

Bernard Arnault, LVMH Group Chairman and CEO, said, “Orient Express has embodied adventure and elegance since its origins. Its name has become part of our cultural heritage and remains a source of inspiration for the greatest artists.

“Orient Express epitomises the art of refined living and the audacity that drives each of our Houses. We are delighted to be partnering with Accor to accelerate the renewal of this travel icon.”

“Each of our groups will bring the best of its expertise to take Orient Express to the pinnacle of the art of hospitality,” Arnault said.

Orient Express will be opening an ultra luxury hotel in Venice | © Mao Yuqing via Alamy

Sébastien Bazin, Accor Group Chairman and CEO, said, “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.

“With Orient Express, Accor is reinventing the art of travel, discovery and great odysseys. 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.”

Bazin added, “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.”

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