Luxury hotel group RF Hotels has been renamed Rocco Forte Hotels to make clear its ownership by the renowned hotelier.
Although the rebrand follows the Compass Group’s decision in August to return the Forte business name to the Forte family, a spokeswoman for Rocco Forte Hotels said the company would have changed its name anyway. It had simply been waiting for its own reputation to be established and for the Forte name to fade from the market.
Compass acquired the Forte name through its merger last year with Granada, which bought Forte Hotels in 1996. Compass has since sold all the hotels in the Forte business.
"We had originally planned to call ourselves Rocco Forte Hotels when we established the company in 1996," said Sir Rocco.
"Although there were no trademark problems with this, we were advised that the laws on ‘passing off’ meant we should delay this until there was no danger of us being confused with other hotels trading in the luxury sector under the Forte name.
"We have probably now developed a clear enough image for our own company for this to no longer be a constraint, but the fact that the Forte name is no longer being used in our sector puts the issue beyond doubt."
The Forte name had appeared over more hotel entrances than any other for much of the 1990s, but began to be phased out after Granada bought the group in 1996. The final phase last year saw the Forte Posthouse chain rebranded as simply Posthouse.
Since 1996, Rocco Forte Hotels has built up an international portfolio of seven properties which will keep their individual names but will feature a new logo incorporating the new brand.