ORIENT EXPRESS ARRIVES IN ROME
Arsenale Spa, an investor in major real estate developments, today announced it has signed a preliminary purchase agreement for the vehicle controlling the historic Hotel de La Minerve in Rome, in a deal that will lead to a complete luxury renovation of the iconic 17th century structure.
The transaction is part of Arsenale’s development strategy of enhancing premium Italian assets in the luxury sector and working alongside the biggest international brands to create new hospitality destinations, ready to meet the challenges of the tourism market over the next decade.
The signing of the preliminary agreement between Arsenale and the Billi family, owner and manager of Hotel de La Minerve for the past 30 years, begins a process that will see a total luxury refit of the building, after which the ongoing management will be entrusted to the iconic Orient Express brand, part of the Accor Group.
Orient Express will bring the legendary spirit of Europe’s golden age of travel back to the heart of Rome, enabling travellers to enjoy a modern yet historic stopover inspired by the opulent services of the original train. Guests will be able to stay in the renovated hotel in time for Christmas 2023.
Today’s agreement between Arsenale and the Billi family will see the hotel continue its operations during 2021 under the guidance and management of the family, before the beginning of the 20-month refit process from 2022.
Paolo Barletta, CEO of Arsenale Spa, commented: “It is a great honour and privilege to work on a hotel as iconic and full of history as the Hotel de la Minerve, and the honour is made even greater by the involvement of Orient Express, one of the world’s most famous and prestigious luxury brands. The Minerve is not just a hotel but a cornerstone of Italian hospitality. Carrying forward its history and role is a mission we hope to pursue with the entire community.”
“Working on this important agreement with Roberto and Bernardo Billi,” continued Paolo Barletta, “was a thrilling and truly stimulating challenge, which is why we are delighted to have all their support and experience by our side on this important journey. We are convinced that the city of Rome has a growing market for true luxury hospitality and Accor will help us to build with their know-how and incredible Orient Express brand. This development is a big step forward in that direction.
Roberto and Bernardo Billi commented: “There is a strong common vision between our family’s way of doing business and Arsenale’s mission. The combination of respect for the distinctive traits that the Minerve has expressed throughout the history of the Roman hotel industry with the innovation needed for its renovation and enhancement is exactly what the city of Rome needs today. It is for this reason that we have firmly adhered to the vision of Paolo Barletta and Arsenale, making our family and all the members of the Minerve enterprise available, in the challenging path of 2021 and the years to come.”
Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO Accor commented: “I am delighted with this important partnership between Arsenale Spa and Orient Express. We are proud to be involved in the creation of such a high-class and romantic landmark in Rome. To bring this incredible heritage in such iconic capital with great history is obviously a fantastic achievement for the brand and our Group. The hotel will be an extraordinary addition to the collection of prestigious hotels we are targeting, combining the wonders of foreign travel and the comforts of home. Rome has been a legendary stopover since 1919 and a destination that resonates strongly in the Orient Express history and in all Italian hearts.”
The Gianni & Origoni international Law Firm worked on the agreement with partners Luciano Acciari and Massimiliano Macaione and lawyer Aldo Turella for Arsenale Spa and BDL Law Firm with partner Maurizio Pinnarò and Alessandra Marangelli for the Billi family.
Fiscal Advisor of Arsenale is the study BK of Luca Benigni with partners Pierluigi Bogoni, Michela Carbellin and Federica Pieretto and Legalitex Law firm with partners Alberto De Nigro and Massimo Baglioni for the Billi family.