Accor U.S Announces Growth Strategy

. October 14, 2008

CHICAGO, IL, September 9, 2005. Today, Accor North America announced its intent to seek a long-term partner in expanding its luxury Sofitel hotel brand. Currently, Accor operates 11 Sofitel hotels in North America. ANA will also pursue the sale of a majority interest in a portfolio of six Sofitel hotels located in major metropolitan markets throughout the U.S. ANA will maintain an interest in the Portfolio through a joint venture relationship. The hotels will continue to operate under the Sofitel brand and the hotels' employees will remain employed by Accor. Morgan Stanley has been retained to assist with the transaction.

The six hotels include: Chicago Water Tower, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, San Francisco Bay and Washington. The remaining Sofitel hotels -- Chicago O'Hare, Houston, New York, Philadelphia and Montreal, Canada -- will retain their current ownership and management structure. "For our customers, vendors and employees, this partnership will be a seamless transition that will allow us to significantly accelerate the presence of Sofitel throughout North America," said Georges Le Mener, president and CEO of ANA.

Additionally, to aid the growth of Sofitel, Accor announced the appointment of Colin McDonald, formerly of Four Seasons, to the position of vice president of development for Sofitel North America.

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Architecture & Design: Expecting the Unexpected

There are more than 700,000 hotels and resorts worldwide and the hotel industry is continually looking for new ways to differentiate its properties. In some cases, hotels themselves have become travel destinations and guests have come to expect the unexpected - to experience the touches that make the property unlike any other place in the world. To achieve this, architects and designers are adopting a variety of strategies to meet the needs of every type of guest and to provide incomparable customer experiences. One such strategy is site-integration - the effort to skillfully marry a hotel to its immediate surroundings. The goal is to honor the cultural location of the property, and to integrate that into the hotel's design - both inside and out. Constructing low-impact structures that blend in with the environment and incorporating local natural elements into the design are essential to this endeavor. Similarly, there is an ongoing effort to blur the lines between interior and exterior spaces - to pull the outside in - to enable guests to connect with nature and enjoy beautiful, harmonious surroundings at all times. Another design trend is personalization - taking the opportunity to make every space within the hotel original and unique. The days of matching decor and furniture in every room are gone; instead, designers are utilizing unexpected textures, mix-and-match furniture, diverse wall treatments and tiles - all to create a more personalized and fresh experience for the guest. Finally, lobbies are continuing to evolve. They are being transformed from cold, impersonal, business-like spaces into warm, inviting, living room-like spaces, meant to provide comfort and to encourage social interaction. These are a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.