Belmond opens a new chapter in luxury travel

4 min reading time

Published on 9 December 2022

Copacabana Palace

Luxury travel pioneer Belmond is embarking on a 10-year strategy to upgrade its hotels and refocus the brand on immersive, authentic, and in-depth experiences.

Belmond has been renovating its properties since 2020. The Splendido Mare, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino reopened its doors in 2021 following renovation. In May 2023, Maroma, A Belmond Hotel, Riviera Maya will welcome back guests after a major renovation by interior designer Tara Bernerd. Inspired by the geometry of the Mayan masons and featuring Mexican craftsmanship and materials, the hotel will be rooted in the country's heritage. The first-ever Guerlain spa in Latin America will be a holistic retreat, offering treatments inspired by Mayan philosophy.

In the same vein, Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino will be renovated under the direction of interior designer Martin Brudnizki. By 2026, all bedrooms will be transformed, a new spa created, and the gardens landscaped. The work will take place during the seasonal winter closures, allowing guests to gradually discover the evolution of the former 16th century Benedictine monastery. Next year, they will discover the re-imagined pool, terraced gardens, and restaurant, as well as a new signature suite.

These refurbishments follow other similar projects within the group's portfolio. The Cygnus carriage on the British Pullman, A Belmond Train, England was recently refurbished in collaboration with director Wes Anderson. In Brazil, the Copacabana Palace Theatre, located next to the Belmond hotel in Rio de Janeiro, has been restored 30 years after its closure to give it a new lease of life.

This rebranding strategy extends to Belmond's train and cruise offerings. The group currently owns six iconic trains in the UK, Europe, Peru, and Southeast Asia, as well as Les Bateaux Belmond in France and Myanmar.

In May next year, the Coquelicot, A Belmond Boat, Champagne will be launched. It will offer guests a cinematic and personalised journey through the Champagne region. Designed by Humbert & Poyet, it will feature three glamorous en-suite cabins, an interior lounge with a customisable champagne bar, and a spacious outdoor deck. In collaboration with Maison Ruinart, guests will be offered a private tasting lunch hosted by Valérie Radou, Ruinart's chef-in-residence, and the chef of the Coquelicot. Finally, guided tours of the historic Taissy vineyard will allow travellers to discover the House's sustainable development initiatives.

2023 will also see the launch of a new category of Suites on board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, A Belmond Train, Europe. The eight new Suites will preserve the craftsmanship of the 1920s and 1930s, while paying homage to the European landscape, which will flit by through the train's windows, and will feature a private marble bathroom and a sitting area by day that converts to a double or twin bed at night.

The group will offer a wide range of new experiences that will further connect its customers to destinations. In Europe, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express continues to expand. In the winter of 2023, a new line linking Paris and the French Alps will be launched. In Mexico, a partnership between Maroma and Guerlain will see the launch of Guerlain's "Bee School" and "Women for Bees" initiatives. These will aim to protect the Melipona bee, an endangered species of fundamental importance to the ecology of the Yucatán Peninsula. Finally, in Peru, the Palacio Nazarenas and the Monasterio de Cusco will offer visits to Q'omer Wasicha. This project will be aimed at promoting sustainable agriculture and will allow guests to visit local communities and taste authentic Peruvian cuisine.

Belmond will strengthen its links with the arts community next year by globally expanding its MITICO series, in partnership with the art gallery Galleria Continua. Installations will be presented at Copacabana Palace, at Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, A Belmond Hotel, Oxfordshire, and at La Residencia, A Belmond Hotel, Mallorca. Additionally, in partnership with Photo London and the Patricia Conde Galeria in Mexico City, the Maroma will showcase four Mexican photographers when it reopens in May 2023. Baptised FOTOGRAFÍA MAROMA, the photographic series will focus on the Riviera Maya.

Finally, Belmond aims to create a new gastronomic era in its establishments. To achieve this goal, the group has called on star chefs such as Riccardo Canella at the Cipriani, A Belmond Hotel, Venice, and Jean Imbert at the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, as well as Luke Selby at the Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.

Travel has resumed, but we must aspire to travel better. We are proud to be custodians of a timeless heritage. We have therefore planned our rebranding strategy to ensure that our treasured properties retain their iconic status for generations to come. At the same time, we believe that travel has the power to transform both our customers and the local communities we work with. Our intention is to create experiences that will help strengthen the bonds between our customers and the destinations. We will continue to perpetuate the legendary art of travel, leading the industry and setting new standards of luxury, defined by exceptional, authentic experiences and trusted relationships.

Roeland Vos, President & CEO of Belmond

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