Logo 'Sofitel'

PHILADELPHIA / May 1, 2000--The 306-room Sofitel Philadelphia opened today, the first new Sofitel developed by Accor in North America in more than 10 years.

The Sofitel is a major addition to the city's new French Quarter, created last year in honor of the significant contributions that the many French-owned and French-themed businesses have made to the downtown area. Targeting upscale business and leisure travelers, the Sofitel is located in the former Philadelphia Stock Exchange Building at the corner of 17th and Sansom Streets, convenient to historic Rittenhouse Square, the Convention Center, and the city's main business and tourism districts.

"The French have a long history in Philadelphia, so it is fitting that we bring the Sofitel tradition of French hospitality to this city," stated John F. Lehodey, president of Accor North America Business & Leisure Hotels, during today's ribbon-cutting ceremony. The official opening was presided over by Mr. Lehodey, Philadelphia Mayor John Street and the French General Counsel Alain DeKeghel.

Paris-based Accor purchased the hotel site in June 1998. The $80 million construction project, which began in early 1999, converted the Stock Exchange Building and an adjacent site into the 14-story, contemporary limestone and glass hotel, designed by Brennan Beer Gorman/Architects of New York.

The interiors, created by Brennan Beer Gorman Monk/Interiors, reflect a "four and a half star" elegance, with contemporary styling and attention to detail. Guest rooms are decorated in a palette of rich brown, beige and taupe accented by royal blue, with cherry wood furniture and individually selected, original artwork. Sixty-eight suites feature a gold and sage green color scheme with two-tone cherry wood furniture.

The Sofitel's opening also adds a new restaurant to Philadelphia's sophisticated culinary scene: Chez Colette, a traditional French brasserie. Executive Chef Yann Chupin's menu features such classic favorites as Soupe a l'Oignon Gratine (French Onion Soup), Escargots, Coq au Vin and other palate-pleasing appetizers, entrees and desserts. The restaurant, which seats 100, will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Additional hotel facilities include two floors of meeting space, consisting of 12 meeting rooms and a 5,000 square foot ballroom that accommodates up to 300 people, a lobby lounge, fitness center and gift shop.

Room rates will start at $219, single or double occupancy, through June 30.

In addition to the Sofitel Philadelphia, Accor North America currently manages seven other Sofitel hotels in the United States, in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, San Francisco Bay and Washington, D.C. Next month, Accor will open its ninth Sofitel, the Sofitel New York, in midtown Manhattan. Additional hotels are in development in downtown Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C.

For reservations, call 1-800-SOFITEL (763-4835).

Sofitel Hotels & Resorts, the deluxe brand of Accor, has 145 hotels in 48 countries. Paris-based Accor currently operates the world's largest hotel network, serving all segments of the business and leisure hospitality markets from budget to luxury. The Accor group encompasses seven other brands in addition to Sofitel. These include Novotel, Mercure, Ibis, Formule 1, Etap Hotel, Motel 6 and Red Roof Inns.

Accor, whose 125,000 associates are active in 140 countries around the world, is the European leader and worldwide group present in travel, tourism and corporate services with two principal international businesses: (more than 3,300 hotels) and travel agencies, restaurants and casinos; services (cards and vouchers) with Accor Corporate Services.

Beth Walsh/Cathy Preece (for Accor)
(212) 696-0660