News in brief:
Exclusive Amex lounge at Frieze London
Although they never told their customers, at least the Platinum ones, American Express has a private lounge at the Frieze London art fair in Regents Park.
Any Platinum or Centurion cardholder can get in. I am not sure of the guesting rules but at least one is allowed.
I was there yesterday for the preview event and the Ruinart champagne was free flowing. Luckily I could get in by showing the statement page of the Amex app on my phone, as my card was back in the office. Do try to visit if you will be at the fair over the next few days.
Philippine Airlines launches B777-300ER
Last week Philippine Airlines invited us to a party to celebrate the launch of their new B777-300ER aircraft on the London – Manila route. This becomes a daily service from 6th December onwards.
Philippine Airlines was the first airline to connect Europe with Asia and is determined to become a contender again on this route. There are currently good deals on return flights when booked before 15th October including Kuala Lumpur from £459 and Manila for £505.
AccorHotels to relaunch the Orient Express hotel brand
Accor has announced a deal with French railway group SNCF to relaunch the Orient Express hotel brand.
There was, until a few years ago, a group of hotels owned by Sea Containers under the Orient Express brand. These hotels were all rebranded as Belmond after a dispute with SNCF which was never fully explained, and the first UK city centre Belmond hotel – the ex-Cadogan Hotel – is due to open in Knightsbridge in a few months.
The difference this time is that AccorHotels now owns 50% of the Orient Express brand, whereas the Sea Containers deal was a pure licensing agreement.
The plan is to “develop a new collection of prestigious hotels under the Orient Express banner. This collection, which aims to be the very epitome of the art of travel, will offer a unique experience steeped in history that combines the luxury, exoticism and sophistication of East and West in iconic locations.”
Accor will also take over the operation of the existing Orient Express art deco rail fleet, making it available for event hire.
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