The first Legend hotel opened in Vietnam in 2009, but the group is only now officially launching the label with a new hotel in Amsterdam, which will be followed by more international openings later this year.
Sofitel Legend and Sofitel So are two new labels for the brand that were created as part of its repositioning strategy, which kicked off in 2007. The two labels are said to support the new luxury identity that the brand created for itself, with Sofitel Legend designed to offer luxury indulgence in historical buildings, and Sofitel So aiming for a designer boutique concept in contemporary locations.
"We launched the Sofitel ‘Legend’ label for our top historical properties with exceptional services - hotels which allow guests to follow in the footsteps of historical legends from Kings and Queens, to presidents and authors,” said Denis Dupart, Sofitel area manager for UK and the Netherlands.
“Sofitel So properties are resolutely contemporary boutique hotels,” he told BigHospitality, adding that these properties aim to combine Sofitel’s French service tradition with fashion, art and design features from each region.
Sofitel currently has three luxury hotels in London and Dupart said the brand aims to be 'one of the leading ambassadors in the international hotel sector'.
Sofitel, which is the flagship brand of the Accor group but is also a separate business unit with its own organization, includes 120 hotels around the world, comprising of around 30,000 rooms in 40 countries.
The first part of the group’s repositioning strategy included new brand standards as well as a renovation plan, a new approach to architecture and design, and a new employee training programme.
The group said this has so far helped generate double digit growth in its total sales volume at the end of 2010. Average hotel room prices were up by around 20 per cent, with a RevPAR index above 100 for over half of the hotels in the network.
Sofitel is this year embarking on the second part of its repositioning strategy, which is due to continue through 2013 and which will include a push to the brand’s value and development.
“Sofitel intends to pursue strong selective development, specifically in target cities, to reach the ultimate goal of a network of 150 hotels,” it said.
“When opening and renovating hotels, the brand will focus on increasing the number of suites and villas to between 15 and 20 per cent depending on the region.”
It will continue to pursue its “asset light” strategy, which includes selling hotel buildings in order to become a pure management company.
By the end of 2011, Sofitel plans to have opened 11 new international hotels within the year, including three new Sofitel Legends.