Le Saint Gervais Hotel & Spa

Accor is doubling down on unique hotel experiences in the midscale segment with the launch of a new global brand, Handwritten Collection.

This portfolio of bespoke hotels, designed to feel like charming and stylish homes, will showcase the individual personality of each property and offer intimate stays curated by passionate hoteliers.  

Speaking exclusively to HM, Accor’s Chief Marketing Officer, Premium, Midscale, Economy Brands, Alex Schellenberger, said that Handwritten hoteliers will have a hands-on approach.

“We’re talking about hotels that have about 50 to 150 rooms, so relatively intimate and cosy where the owner is still very influential in the day-to-day operations to bring their own signature to the hotel,” he said.

“We let them maintain that identity and at the same time, give them access to the beautiful things that Accor can offer with regards to distribution and loyalty.”

Hotel Les Capitouls Toulouse Centre

The hospitality giant is hitting the ground running with over 110 Handwritten Collection leads globally – equating to more than 11,500 rooms – and has an ambitious target to grow the collection to 250 properties by 2030.

With 12 signings already secured, the first five Handwritten properties are set to open in the first three months of this year, two of which will open in Australia in the coming weeks.

Wonil Hotel Perth, Handwritten Collection – a stylish, modern hotel located on the banks of Swan River, next to Kings Park – is due to open in early February, while in Sydney, 82-bed Hotel Morris, Handwritten Collection, housed within an historical, Italian Renaissance-styled building, will reveal a major restoration when it opens later next month.

Accor’s Global Chief Development Officer, Premium, Midscale, Economy, Camil Yazbeck, told HM that the brand presents a strong development opportunity for Accor in Australia and beyond.  

Wonil Hotel Perth

“These two in Australia will be amazing flagships for the brand and I believe there’s a huge development opportunity for Handwritten across Australia,” he told HM exclusively.

Hotel Morris will share the owner’s passion for Italy, showcasing Italian food, wine, and coffee, Accor’s Global SVP Economy & Midscale Brands, Caroline Bénard, explained at the virtual brand launch on Thursday evening. On arrival, guests will be presented with a welcome drink with an orange and lemon base – a nod to the traditional fruits of Italy – and in their rooms they will be offered a Sicilian deck of cards and a handwritten note.

China, France, Estonia, and Vietnam will also be among the first to introduce Handwritten Collection hotels with more to follow in Romania and Spain.

Hotel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental, Handwritten Collection, is the very first of the brand to debut, opening its doors on January 19, 2023. The hotel boasts over 124,000 square meters of landscaped gardens and an outdoor beach pool.

Hotel Morris Sydney

Art and chic holiday home Le Saint Gervais Hotel and Spa, Handwritten Collection in Saint Gervais, France will share the same opening date. Also in France, Le Splendid Hotel Lac d’Annecy, Handwritten Collection opens in April, while Oru Hub Hotel, Handwritten Collection in Tallinn, Estonia, opens in May.

Personal touch

Accor aims to deliver a “truly authentic” guest experience at Handwritten Collection hotels centring around the personal touches of each individual host and their unique personality.

“The manner in which each host interacts with their guests is thoughtfully considered and brings to life their own personal passions,” Bénard said.

“Whether in a social setting or the privacy of a guest’s room, there will be moments of storytelling and engagement that create a genuine connection. This rapport between host and guest contributes to a more meaningful and memorable stay experience.”

Le Saint Gervais Hotel & Spa

Yazeck said the brand is designed for the needs of the independent hotel owner.

“You have a beautiful hotel – even a small hotel – which reflects the character of the city and you’re extremely proud of it, and want to keep the name etc., but you want to boost your global profile,” he said.

“This brand is designed to be flexible, light and easy to attain. 80% of the hotels are conversions, which is brilliant, [it means that there is a] flexible transition for those who have invested in creating a certain style for the hotel.”

Accor’s growing Collection

The Handwritten Collection intends to offer a valuable proposition in the midscale segment and complement the group’s collection brands across other segments, including the upper upscale MGallery Collection and Accor’s first luxury collection brand Emblems Collection, Schellenberger explained.

Hotel Paris Montmartre Sacre Coeur

“Our aim, beyond delivering a truly authentic guest experience, is to support the growing number of independent and boutique hotel owners looking to boost their global profile, connect with more audiences and grow their revenue without losing their identity,” he said.

Accor’s Collection hotels are a high performing category for the brand, revealing demand for unique offerings, according to Yazbeck.

“Collection brands are one of the highest growth hotel categories – 25% more on average room growth rates over the past five years,” he said.

“There’s three times more signings of Collection brands over classic brands over the last two years.”