French hotel firm plans resurrection of Pullman brand

The Pullman Hotel brand is relaunching in Europe this week after a 14-year absence. Accor, the French hotel company, is resurrecting the brand as part of a repositioning of its portfolio.

The company, which has 4,000 hotels across 13 chains around the world, is upgrading its Sofitel brand to luxury status as part of the changes. Any Sofitels that cannot be upgraded will be rebranded as four-and-a-half star Pullman hotels.

The first rebranded hotels will open in France, Germany and Belgium The first of the existing estate to be rebranded will unveil their new identity this week.

Among the Sofitel hotels to be renamed will be those in Versailles, Marseilles, Brussels and two in Paris. The purpose-built Pullman will be launched in Bangkok in October.

In the first phase of the roll-out, 45 Sofitel and Grand Mercure hotels in 23 countries across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, will be converted. It plans to have 250 Pullman hotels by 2015.

Accor acquired the Pullman brand in 1991 but closed down all of the hotels in 1993. The brand is most frequently associated with the defunct fleet of luxury trains it operated on British rail lines. The name lives on with the historic Pullman Orient Express train.

Accor is also relaunching its All Seasons brand as part of its economy portfolio, including the Ibis chain. The Formule1 chain is being phased out.

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