Accor prepares to revamp its Sofitel brand

French hotel group Accor is undertaking a major overhaul of its Sofitel brand to mark its 60th anniversary. Under the leadership of Maud Bailly, the strategy aims to modernize its hotel portfolio and enhance its services. This initiative is part of a global expansion drive, with planned openings in renowned destinations, while reinforcing its French identity.


Sofitel, the Accor group’s luxury chain, is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary by embarking on a new era under the leadership of Maud Bailly, which aims to modernize its marketing positioning, hotel portfolio and services.


“When I took over the management of Sofitel (in January 2023, editor’s note), there was this perception of a brand that was a bit dusty. We’ve rethought the brand”, said the CEO at a presentation on Thursday April 18.


After a successful repositioning of Sofitel in the luxury segment in the late 2000s, Accor has expanded its footprint in luxury and lifestyle hotels under the energetic leadership of CEO Sébastien Bazin. The French hotel group has acquired a number of renowned brands, including Raffles, Fairmont, Swissôtel, Mövenpick and others.


“What was done in 2010, I’m doing again, cleaning up the brand so that it’s clear and understood. This rebirth will undoubtedly take months, perhaps years, but will usher Sofitel into a new era,” explains Maud Bailly.


“Sofitels will never be kings of the night, with DJs mixing into the wee hours, but embody a refined, French-style hotel experience,” joked the General Manager of the Sofitel, MGallery and Emblems brands.


Numerous renovations


Following her arrival, the brand director and her team undertook a global assessment of the 118 Sofitel establishments worldwide, identifying a number of establishments that fell short of expected standards. This highlighted the urgent need for an upgrade. Some fifty hotels were then removed from the brand’s portfolio.


Repeating the process, and in order to regain this consistency, Sofitel has undertaken a grooming of its network. Maud Bailly identified around twenty hotels that needed to be “either renovated or taken out of the network”, preferably by offering them another Accor brand, such as Pullman or Swissôtel. “Eighteen renovations are underway or planned”, i.e. 20% of the network, and three exits are in progress, notably in China, said the CEO.



While establishments such as the Sofitel Dubai The Palm and the Sofitel Legend Metropole in Hanoi have already benefited from renovation, transformation work at the Sofitel Rio Ipanema, Dubai Downtown, Sydney Wentworth and Montreal is scheduled for the coming months. The Sofitel New York is also likely to undergo renovation in the near future.


Questions are also being raised as to whether airport hotels will remain in the Sofitel portfolio. After Athens airport, London Gatwick and London Heathrow will also be undergoing renovation, and there is talk of a new Sofitel at Dublin airport.


“My role is to re-articulate the offering, elevate the brand promise and open up new jewels,” explains Maud Bailly. The new organization operated by the Accor group implies a reorganization based on brands rather than geography, especially in the luxury and lifestyle sector, on a global scale.


Worldwide expansion


Sofitel’s history began in 1964 with the opening of its first 5-star hotel in Strasbourg, founded by the BNP Paribas bank. Acquired in 1980 by the Accor Arena group, Sofitel now has 123 establishments in 48 countries, including France. In Paris, the brand is present in four emblematic locations: the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Faubourg Saint-Honoré and rue Scribe.


However, Maud Bailly believes that “the United States remains a territory to be conquered”. Sofitel currently has five establishments in the United States, while it has 26 in Europe and up to 29 in Asia-Pacific, excluding China, which has 21.


“The renovations should provide us with avenues for exporting better,” says the CEO, who believes that the territory has “real potential” despite competition from the big American hotel groups.


Sofitel also plans to open around 30 hotels by 2027, with a focus on destinations such as the United Arab Emirates, Riyadh and Cotonou. “The brand’s momentum is strong in China, India and the Middle East”, notes Maud Bailly, “and in Europe, too, we’re starting to see some interesting projects again, including a handsome Sofitel in Portugal”.


Recent agreements have also confirmed locations in Jaipur, Xi’an and Prague, where a Sofitel bearing the “Legend” stamp – a collection of six establishments prestigious for their cachet and history – will be inaugurated.


French identity


Sofitel, while concentrating on refreshing its hotel portfolio, is placing a strong emphasis on improving its services, particularly in the restaurant sector.


The brand’s new look highlights its French character in a number of ways, including a design that blends French elegance with local influences, high-quality catering and partnerships with prestigious brands such as the Bernardaud porcelain company.


This French identity is also reflected in the collaboration with jeweler Courbet for jewelry featuring the brand’s logo, while affirming its commitment to sustainability, with the aim of having its entire network eco-certified by the end of 2025.


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Featured photo : © Accor

Picture of Hugues Reydellet
Hugues Reydellet
Hugues Reydellet is a young and passionate journalist whose favorite subjects are economy, culture, gastronomy, but also cars, and sports. With a sharp pen and an insatiable curiosity, Hugues is constantly on the lookout for new hot information to report.

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