10 new Sofitels to open European hotel group

Accor luxury in Paris ... The Sofitel Arc de Triomphe, left, and the Hotel Trocadero.

Accor has opened its newest five-star property Sofitel St James London in one of the British capital's most prestigious locations.

Erected in 1923, the hotel is located in a Grade II listed building owned by The Crown Estate, in the heart of London, between Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus.

Formerly the boardroom of the Cox's & King's bank, this neo-classic building has been transformed by French interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon into a contemporary and elegant hotel, incorporating individual items of furniture and portraits taken from the former boardrooms of Cox's & King's.

The dŽcor blends British culture with French art de vivre, as seen in the 186 rooms and suites (which include a Royal Suite overlooking Waterloo Place), the Rose Lounge and the elegant library featuring pale pink and green shades, where traditional English afternoon tea is served.

The rose will be the hotel's 'signature' flower and striking arrangements include different varieties and colours.

Located on the ground floor, with its own entrance on Pall Mall, the restaurant Brasserie Roux will serve new classic French cuisine under the supervision of internationally renowned chef Albert Roux.

The St James Bar, opening up onto the lobby, will offer an impressive selection of old vintage champagnes as well as a wide range of cigars.

Meeting and conference facilities include eight meeting rooms able to cater for up to 180 people for cocktail receptions and seminars, as well as a board meeting room with its own private entrance and an adjoining private dining room for up to 12 guests.

The hotel also offers leisure facilities including fitness room, hammam and treatment room.

The Sofitel St James is one of the 10 Sofitels set to open worldwide at prime locations including London, Marseilles, Bangkok, Chicago, Washington, Marrakesh, Cologne, Buenos Aires, Montreal and Venice.

These new properties will illustrate the identity of Accor's prestige hotel brand: each hotel remains individual and aims to reflect the spirit of its location and host country, whilst respecting the history to provide an authentically original experience.

All, however, will be united by a common identity - the French 'art de vivre', an art of living, a tradition of elegance in interior design, warm welcome, refined service and gastronomy, said Accor.

Sofitel Palm Beach Marseille: A four-star hotel which was to open late last month, Sofitel Palm Beach is set on the Prado beach overlooking the Frioul islands.

It comprises of 160 rooms and 10 suites, most of which feature a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

The three-storey hotel features the seafood gastronomic restaurant 'La RŽserve', comprehensive leisure facilities including a private jetty, a freshwater swimming pool and a health and fitness centre besides outstanding meeting and conference facilities.

Sofitel Silom Bangkok: The five-star property is set to open in September on the main Silom Road in Thailand's capital. The impressive 38-floor glass building has been managed by Accor since 2001 and will become the only five star hotel in the area, following a one year renovation programme.

The hotel's 454 guestrooms and suites blend Thai elegance with Western comfort.

Sofitel Chicago Water Tower: The four-star hotel is set to open on June 1 and the opening is one of this year's most anticipated events in the city internationally renowned for its architecture.

Located in the heart of Chicago, a few steps from the Magnificent Mile, Chicago's answer to Sloane Street, the hotel is designed by French architect, Jean-Paul Viguier, who has created a spectacular landmark building.

With 415 bedrooms including 15 suites spread over the 32 floors, the hotel will feature a gourmet restaurant, Cigale, and a more informal cafŽ restaurant, Le CafŽ des Architectes besides outstanding meeting and conference facilities.

Sofitel Lafayette Square Washington DC: The four-star property will also open in June close to Lafayette Square, two blocks from the White House, in the home of a former American ambassador to France, and clearly illustrates its American heritage and French ownership.

This strong identity has also inspired interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon who designed the 237 guestrooms, and suites, the restaurant, the piano bar, the fitness centre as well as the meeting and conference space (5 rooms and a ballroom catering for 250 people).

Sofitel Marrackech: The five-star hotel to open in June is located by the fortress of the famous Jamaa El Fna Square, close to the Medina and within easy access to the 3 golf courses and 2 casinos. The historical hotel has been entirely renovated and extended and comprises of six small buildings of 5 to 6 floors featuring 258 guestrooms and suites, 3 restaurants, 3 bars, a beautiful swimming pool, a health and beauty centre with Jacuzzi, sauna, hammam, treatment rooms and a fitness room, allowing for total relaxation.

Sofitel Cologne Am Dom: The four-star property opens in July in the heart of the German city. The former Mondial Am Dom hotel was built in 1963 and has been managed by Sofitel since 1997. Following an extensive refurbishment programme, the hotel has been rebranded and now features a contemporary dŽcor by interior designer Patrick Dumont.

In addition to the 207 guestrooms and suites, the new hotel will boast a restaurant, a brasserie including a tapas bar, a very popular concept in Germany, a traditional local pub and the 'Habana Lounge' offering a large selection of beers, a fitness centre and a library.

Sofitel Montreal: The four-star hotel to open this summer is located in Canadian city's central business district, in the heart of Montreal's Golden Mile. The 16-floor building features a glass facade and 258 guestrooms including 20 suites and 4 apartments, a Provencal restaurant, a piano bar, a fitness centre, 5 meeting rooms, and a ballroom with a capacity of up to 240.

Sofitel Buenos Aires: Opening in August, the four-star hotel is housed in a neo-classical landmark building dating back to 1922. The 20-floor tower houses 144 guestrooms including 28 suites and one apartment. Some of the floors only include 4 or 6 rooms.

Sofitel Venezia in Isola: The four-star property which opens in September is set on a 16-hectare private island, just 7 minutes from the Piazza San Marco. It is the second Sofitel to be opened by Accor in Venice. The first, Sofitel Venezia, is located in the Santa Croce district on the Tolentini canal.

The existing 4-storey building has been completely re-designed to host the 300 rooms and suites, as well as expanded to accommodate the 7 meeting rooms and a ballroom able to welcome up to 360 people, leisure facilities such as sauna and steam room and some suites.

In addition to those 10 openings, Sofitel is welcoming two new properties to its portfolio including one in Lyon, France and in Shanghai,China.