Coincidence? AccorHotels debuts Orient Express
Coincidence? Maybe. But five days after Belmond (Orient-Express Hotels until 2014) was sold to French luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, AccorHotels on Tuesday announced its first Orient Express hotel will open in the landmark King Power Mahanakhon Building in Bangkok.
AccorHotels, which last year signed a strategic partnership with SNCF Group to develop Orient Express hotels, was among those rumored to acquire Belmond with the thought it could rebrand them again under the Orient Express name. While that deal didn't come to be, it could have happened because in 2014, SNCF, the French transportation company that owns the Orient Express trademark, terminated its long-standing hotel license agreement with the former Orient-Express Hotels company, which led to the creation of the Belmond brand.
Fast-forward, AccorHotels, now with its 50% share capital in the Orient Express brand, will open the first of what is expected to be several luxury hotels under the heritage brand in the last quarter of 2019. The Orient Express Mahanakhon Bangkok will feature 154 rooms, including nine suites and two penthouses, as well as an entire floor devoted to wellness.
The property will have an Orient Express Spa by Guerlain, while guests will have access to the building’s rooftop observation deck and rooftop bar. At 78 storeys, King Power Mahanakhon Building is currently the tallest building in Bangkok with an exterior encased in a glass curtain and cuboid spiral cut-outs that give it a pixelated appearance.
Designer Tristan Auer has been tasked with reimagining the Art Deco stylings and plant motifs of the original Orient Express carriages into this modern skyscraper, while two signature restaurants will include Mott 32 and Mahanathi by David Thompson, who is known for his Thai cuisine. Mott 32 is named after 32 Mott Street in New York - the site of the city’s first Chinese convenience store, which is now the location of the city’s Chinatown district.
“Orient Express has always acted as a passport between worlds and a trip on these legendary trains was historical, touristic and cinematic with an inimitable experience,” said Sebastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of AccorHotels. “This linking of Occident and Orient, of history and modernity, and of curiosity and cultures will be a hallmark of the new Orient Express Hotels and we are excited to bring back this spirit of luxurious adventure to today’s modern travellers.”