AccorHotels has agreed to acquire half of the Orient Express
brand from French national rail company SNCF Group, and Accor will operate
hotels under the brand.
The agreement is unrelated to Belmond, which rebranded from
Orient-Express in 2014 after its licensing deal with SNCF was not renewed.
Accor said the brand would represent "the very epitome
of the art of travel."
SNCF has owned the Orient Express brand since 1977. SNCF
maintains the seven historic 1920s-era railroad cars that made the
final commercial Orient-Express trip between Paris and Istanbul in 1977. The brand
achieved broad recognition with the 1974 Sidney Lumet-directed film "Murder
on the Orient Express."