Orbis Group Acquires Royal Hotel, Bucharest for €11.35 million

Date: July 2018

Location: Unirii area, Bucharest, Romania

Name: Was The Royal, Now Mercure Bucharest Unirii

No. of Keys: 97 rooms and apartments

Seller: Baron Service, owned by two businessmen from Constanţa – Donchi Pufleni and Stefan Tudor.

The former Royal Hotel was opened in 2009 near Unirii Square and was rated four-star. The  value of the investment in the construction of the hotel was not made public.

Three years after opening, in 2011, the former Royal Hotel in Bucharest was put up for sale at the price of 17 million euros, but they did not find a buyer.

Buyer: The Orbis hotel group acquired the former Royal Hotel.

The Royal Hotel was affiliated last summer to the Mercure brand.

Emeline Sykora is the Area General Manager of Accor for Romania, Macedonia and Bulgaria.

Orbis is the largest hotel group in Poland and in the Central and Eastern Europe, established in 1920 as a Polish travel agency, and secured their first franchise agreement with Accor, for six Novotel hotels in Poland, in 1973.

Orbis was soon ranked as one of the 10 best travel agencies in the world, and in 1933, following the purchase of Orbis shares by a state bank PKO, the Company moved its corporate seat to Warsaw.

Orbis was fast to develop its operations: in 1939, the Company had 136 branches in Poland and 19 abroad, with 500 employees, as well as four hotels offering altogether 360 rooms. In 1939, Orbis rendered services to over 5 million clients.

The Second World War interrupted Orbis activity; the overwhelming part of its property was damaged. After the war, only the Brussels, New York, Tel Aviv and London offices survived.

1944 saw the establishment of a state-owned enterprise Przedsiębiorstwo Państwowe Orbis that purchased the shares of the pre-war company.

Until the end of the 40s, the Company ran mainly intercity coach connections in Poland and had a few hotels offering accommodation to Poles travelling around the country.

From 1946 to 1959, the enterprise managed a guest house network offering 5,000 beds and provided services onboard sleeping and restaurant cars in trains. In 1951, 9 of the best Polish hotels were incorporated into Orbis so as to prepare them to render services to foreign guests.

Until 1959, the basic activity of Orbis, typical of that period, consisted in arranging transportation for workers and farmers, organisation of youth conventions and meetings of state administration officials and similar gatherings.

Currently numbering more than 115 hotels, the Orbis Group aims at increasing its network through cooperation based on franchise and management agreements.

AccorHotels is the strategic partner of Orbis since 2000. Since 2008, Accor owns 50% of Orbis.

The contract signed with Mercure is a management contract, which means that the hotel chain also ensures the management of the hotel.

This new Mercure will make it three in Romania –  to join the Mercure Bucharest City Centre and the Mercure Sighisoara Binderbubi Hotel & Spa.

However, the chain aims to reach a network of 8-10 Mercure hotels both in Bucharest and in other key cities in Romania, such as Brasov, Sibiu, Sighisoara, Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca.

Price: €11.3m

Price per Key: €117,010

THPT Comment: Real interesting history of Orbis since 1920, almost paralleling the likes of Thomas Cook in the UK.

First Seen: Romainian Hospitality Newsletter