What motivated the launch of a new luxury brand (LXR) by Hilton? How different is LXR in comparison with the other luxury brands under the Hilton portfolio?
We took time to evaluate the changing hospitality market following the tremendous success and growth that Waldorf Astoria and Conrad have been able to achieve in recent years. Significant research went into determining how the luxury landscape has evolved and how to meet the needs of what we call the “affluent adventurer.” Our decision to offer an extraordinary collection was backed by thorough research as well as consumer and owner insight. LXR Hotels & Resorts will feature a selection of incomparable luxury hotels that thrive independently, each providing a unique and locally immersive experience, while having access to the extensive benefits of the Hilton enterprise. LXR complements the Waldorf Astoria and Conrad brands to offer the full spectrum of luxury experiences within Hilton’s Luxury portfolio.
Will LXR Hotels be available for projects under a long-time third-party management and/or franchising?
While we expect that successful independent hotels may prefer to retain their own management, we will offer both models and respond appropriately to our prospective owners’ needs.
Tell us more about the pre-requisites of an LXR Hotel?
As part of our curation process for the LXR brand portfolio, we ensure prospective properties meet luxury hospitality standards as well as the evolving expectations of the sophisticated global traveler. Given that each destination is unique, each property will be evaluated on its own criteria and merit. A one-size-fits-all approach would not be appropriate for a property in St. Tropez alongside another in the Maasai Mara.
Do you also consider brand upgrades? (i.e. from the existing luxury brand)
Our target properties generally meet the highest luxury standards before they join the LXR collection. We are focused on partnering with owners who share our vision and on selecting the ‘right’ properties to be a part of this exclusive network as opposed to simply expanding at a rapid pace. We are more than willing to wait for the best opportunities and are selectively considering both new build and renovation projects that elevate our portfolio.
Which are the competitive advantages of LXR Hotels? What is the comp-set at an international scale?
We have listened intently to customer and owner feedback and identified the need for a Hilton-backed collection brand in the luxury space. With the creation of LXR Hotels & Resorts, Hilton offers an innovative brand for independent hotel owners to retain their property’s storied character and individuality within a simplified standards and brand structure, while at the same time offering the benefits of the Hilton commercial engines, the strength of the award-winning Hilton Honors loyalty program, and the focused attention of our industry experts and world-class Team Members around the world.
Are there any particular destinations you are targeting? To what extent do you prefer urban versus resort locations?
We are simply targeting the most sought-after destinations in the world. The key consideration is whether we can provide sophisticated, luxury experiences in places where our discerning guests want to travel. While we have officially opened two magnificent properties in Dubai and London, we are particularly excited to reveal a few of our resort properties in the next few months that will add depth and diversity to our collection. The first of these will be launching later this year: Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa in Anguilla where, as part our collaboration, the owner has gone the extra mile to elevate an already incredible guest experience.
Luxury hospitality is being challenged by various disruptors, in many markets Airbnb. What is your take?
Coming from a technology background earlier in my career, I welcome the benefits of disruption and competition to our industry. I do not feel, however, that we are directly competitive with the online lodging marketplaces. I will point out that an important aspect of the luxury traveler’s requirements is exceptional and bespoke service, which will be a singular feature at all LXR Hotels & Resorts.
How different will be the dining and Spa / wellness offerings of LXR HOTELS?
The dining and wellness offerings will be unique-to-market concepts that draw inspiration from and reflect their local cultural context. We want each LXR property to have an authentic, immersive feel in the destinations they call home. For example, the newly launched Biltmore Mayfair features food & beverage led by celebrated English chef Jason Atherton. Menus are seasonally driven, ingredients are locally sourced, and the delightful staff are on hand to discuss provenance and technique if our guests so desire. Food & beverage along with wellness are essential parts of how each property in the collection will maintain its individuality.
Is there a particular aesthetic / interior design we should be expecting at future LXR HOTELS?
LXR properties will be inherently and purposefully different from one another; there will not be a particular “house” aesthetic to which they must conform. Our goal is that each property continues to flourish independently and maintains its unique charm. We will strive to work with owners and properties that have a unique sense of design inspired by world-leading architects and designers. Excellence in this category is integral for LXR, as it is and will continue to be for our discerning guests.
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