Goodbye, Orient Express

It's too soon to tell whether this story will end up in our "What were they thinking?" file, but last week we said farewell to a familiar brand, Orient Express Hotels, and hello to its new name, Belmond.

According to the company, the new name is rooted in the French for "beautiful world" (belle monde) and "celebrates our character, resonates with our guests and encompasses the broad scope of our celebrated collection of hotels, river cruises and trains."

Maybe so, but, inauspiciously, our first Internet search turned up a small town in Iowa, which isn't quite the resonance we were looking for.

We're sure the company gave some serious thought to this switch, but we remain unaware that the name Orient Express was a particular handicap. As the National Tour Association, the airline parent UAL and a number of other travel entities have discovered, good names don't always change easily.

We hope Belmond can avoid that fate.
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