AccorHotels’ appetite for dealmaking has continued with the purchase of 50 percent of the company behind the iconic Orient Express brand.

The hotel group is partnering with existing shareholder, French rail operator SNCF, to develop a range of hotels under Orient Express brand name. Details of the amount involved in the investment were not given.

The historic train carriages synonymous with the brand will remain the property of SNCF but are likely to be utilized by some of the brands within the AccorHotels portfolio, including John Paul and Noctis. (The carriages used to be owned by AccorHotels subsidiary Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits but were sold to SNCF in 2011.)

The deal has nothing to do with the brand known as Belmond, which was previously called Orient-Express Hotels. Confusingly, this company currently runs a number of trains, including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.

Sébastien Bazin, chairman & Chief Executive, AccorHotels: “We are delighted with this strategic partnership, which today cements the alliance of two major French players in the world of travel for a shared purpose, that of giving fresh impetus and international standing to an historic and world-renowned brand.

“Thanks to this partnership, our customers will be able to enjoy a prestigious range of services and exceptional experiences based on a portfolio of luxury brands”.

The deal for Orient express follows a deal, announced earlier this week, to buy hotel reservation platform Gekko.

Photo Credit: An Orient Express train carriage. AccorHotels has acquired 50 percent of the company behind the iconic brand. Clem / Flickr