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High luxe at Accor with new Sofitel products

1 Jan 2008 by Ciprian Hirlea

You want luxury? You’ll get it, French hotel group, Accor, promises this and more as it prepares to redefine its upper-tier Sofitel brand with three new products – Sofitel Luxury, Sofitel Legend and So By Sofitel.

What this all means for you, the consumer, is more investment in food and beverage offerings, innovation and design, developing unique spas and most important, staff training. Gilles Pelisson, CEO, Accor Group believes that Sofitel has the ingredients to go to the next level, given its “name potential and French experience”. One strategy to boost efforts is a partnership with Lenôtre, the renowned high-end catering group, to introduce new dining concepts, among these, the Pré Lenôtre restaurant in the recently launched Sofitel Wanda Beijing, template of the chain’s aspirations.

It is against the background of an increasingly wealthy world population that Sofitel is embarking on this repositioning. Yann Calliere, CEO Sofitel, member of Accor Executive Committee, says: “Some 55 percent of the hospitality market offer is in the upscale to luxury segment. We can see a trend where luxury is shifting from material possession to experience. Consumers want unique sensations and pleasures, and more memorable experiences.”

Calliere adds that Sofitel aims to “create a harmonious balance between the pleasure of feeling at home and the exquisite feeling of being elsewhere”. And being a French company, he adds: “We plan to capitalise on this unique expertise and tradition, setting us apart from other international players…and take discerning travellers to an even higher level of excellence, played through with a French touch.”

In the future, expect to see these features in Sofitel properties you may be staying in:

SOFITEL LUXURY – ?stylish façade, iconic lobby, French-style décor, bedrooms promoting guest wellness and out-of-the-ordinary meeting rooms and spas. The plan is to have about 250 hotels in the mid-term.

SOFITEL LEGENDS – already full of local history (think: Sofitel Metropole in Hanoi, which will be the first to open under this category in mid-2008), these will indulge guests with services of a personal butler as well as renowned gourmet chefs, patissiers and sommeliers. About seven properties will form the initial core batch.

SO BY SOFITEL – design and comfort will blend with intimacy to reinterpret the boutique hotel concept, characterised by a signature destination bar. The first will open in 2009  in Paris (where else?), replacing the current Sofitel Arc de Triomphe, followed by So Berlin, replacing Sofitel Am Gendarmenmarkt. Some 15 to 20 properties will make up this brand.

Along with this initiative, the chain has also introduced the Pullman label for business travellers with 12 properties worldwide, including the Pullman Rive Gauche and Pullman Bangkok King Power.

Margie T Logarta

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