Sea Containers House
20 Upper Ground
London, London SE1 9PF
(44) 20 7805 5060
Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. owns or part-owns, and manages, 41 leisure properties in 17 countries. Thirty are hotels ranging across five continents, from the Hotel Cipriani in Venice to the Mount Nelson in Cape Town, the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro to The Observatory in Sydney, and to Charleston Place in Charleston, SC. Restaurants include ?21? Club in New York, the Manoir aux Quat?Saisons in Oxfordshire, England and Harry?s Bar (a private club) in London. Five tourist trains include the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express in Europe, the Eastern & Oriental Express in Asia and the Great South Pacific Express in Australia. The company also part-owns and manages PeruRail in Peru, which operates the Cuzco-Machu Picchu train service used by nearly every tourist to Peru (there are no roads to the famous Inca ruins and otherwise it is a four-day hike). The MV Road To Mandalay provides luxury cruises on the Irrawaddy River in Burma.
The company started 1976 as the leisure division of Sea Containers Ltd. and was later incorporated as Orient-Express Hotels Ltd., a Bermuda company. Orient-Express Hotels was floated on the New York Stock Exchange in August, 2000. Sea Containers' interest in Orient-Express Hotels is now less than 50 per cent.
Orient-Express Hotels seeks out unique properties which have expansion potential. It owns or part-owns its properties because it believes that equity returns are greater than simply management fee income. Increases in property values allow the company to increase funding against those assets and thus fuel expansion. The unique nature of the assets insulates against competition and therefore allows greater pricing flexibility.
The company avoids the use of a chain brand. Thus, none of its properties are branded ?Orient-Express? (except the train). Management believes that discriminating travellers will choose an individual property of fame in priority to a chain brand. In the few locations where the company competes with deluxe brand chains (Venice, Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro are examples) it achieves up to 40% higher average rates than the chain-brand hotels.
In 2002, Orient-Express Hotels had net earnings of $25.3 million on revenue of $289 million.