Your ultimate guide to Hilton hotel brands
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Editor’s note: At TPG, our top priority is providing our readers with the information needed to make educated decisions about travel and rewards-earning strategy. This is not the best time to travel, domestically or internationally, as airlines have cut major parts of their route networks. But we are sharing this information to provide value for future travel once coronavirus concerns have subsided.
Over the last few years we’ve seen most major hotel chains launch new brands to appeal to different segments of the market, and perhaps more importantly, to investors. This can lead to a crowded portfolio with many similar and overlapping brands. If you’ve been confused about the differences between some of Hilton’s 17 different hotel brands than you’ve come to the right place, as today we’re going to explore the ins and outs of each different brand:
- Conrad Hotels & Resorts
- Canopy by Hilton
- Curio – A Collection by Hilton
- DoubleTree by Hilton
- Embassy Suites by Hilton
- Hampton Inn by Hilton
- Hilton Hotels
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Hilton Grand Vacations
- Home2 Suites by Hilton
- Homewood Suites by Hilton
- Tapestry Collection by Hilton
- Tru by Hilton
- Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
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Waldorf Astoria is the pinnacle of luxury within the Hilton family, with 34 hotels and resorts located in major cities and popular beach destinations around the world. Most of the properties feature a neoclassical style, more akin to a St. Regis than an Edition or Park Hyatt, and a fitting choice for a brand that has nearly 25% of its locations centered in Europe.
Two of the best-known properties in the brand are the iconic Waldorf Astoria New York, which set the record in 2014 for the most expensive hotel ever sold when it was purchased by Chinese insurance conglomerate Anbang group for $1.95 billion, and the recently-opened Waldorf Astoria Maldives which somehow managed to up the ante in what was already one of the most luxurious destinations in the world.
The Conrad chain, named in honor of Hilton’s founder Conrad Hilton, boasts 42 luxury properties around the globe. Conrad hotels are much more modern and affordable than Waldorf Astoria while still offering a luxurious stay to guests. While you’ll find a Conrad in many major cities around the world, you’ll also find many more resort destinations including Bali, Bora Bora, Thailand, Mexico and more.
LXR Hotels & Resorts is a collection of independent luxury properties. The brand currently only has four locations: Dubai, London, Bodrum and Anguilla. To give you an idea of just how upscale this brand is, the Habtoor Palace in Dubai, the founding property of the LXR brand, used to be the St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor City before the entire development (including the neighboring W and Westin) left the Starwood/Marriott umbrella.
The eponymous brand of the portfolio, Hilton Hotels & Resorts have name and brand recognition all over the globe. With over 500 properties around the world you’ll find some variation in the quality, including airport hotels that have seen better days and modern and pristine beachfront resorts. Most hotels flying the Hilton flag share a number of common amenities, including swimming pools, event spaces and oftentimes an executive lounge.
Related: What is Hilton elite status worth?
The Curio Collection is a rapidly-growing brand with about 100 properties worldwide. This reflects Hilton’s bet that many travelers would prefer a boutique and local experience over rigid brand standards. While most of the Curio Collection hotels are centered around North America and Europe, there is a recently-opened location in the Maldives as well as a few properties dotting Asia and the South Pacific. I had the chance to stay at The Diplomat in Miami a few years back, and was very impressed at how well run the large beachfront property was without feeling overly branded or generic.
Tapestry Collection is another one of Hilton’s soft brands, with about 50 boutique properties mostly in smaller markets in the U.S. and Canada. These independent hotels represent affordable luxury, and again focus heavily on the unique attributes of the individual location.
Hilton Grand Vacations is sure to be the least-interesting brand to serious award travelers as this is Hilton’s timeshare brand. Properties are primarily located in the U.S. and at popular resort destinations abroad (Cancun, Barbados, etc.) but there are also a large number of properties spread out in Japan. Timeshare members can book stays using either Hilton Honors points or Club points, but timeshares often represent a very poor value proposition in the long term so this will not be the best travel strategy for most people.
DoubleTree by Hilton has over 500 hotels around the world, mostly centered in North America and Europe. These middle-market properties appeal to both business and leisure travelers, and are beloved for their “secret” chocolate chip cookie recipe, which the brand released for the first time ever to help those missing travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
Canopy is one of Hilton’s newer brands, with the first property opening in 2016. It has rapidly grown to 28 locations around the world, including one in Chengdu (the capital of Sichuan province, China) that made me stop in my tracks and applaud at the incredible location they’d managed to secure right in the center of the city.
Canopy properties feature a young and modern design with a lot of natural light and soft colors. This is one of the first brands to completely do away with single-use plastic water bottles in guest rooms, instead opting for reusable glass bottles and filtered water stations on every floor.
Reviews: Hilton Canopy Reykjavik
Embassy Suites is a great choice for an extended stay or a trip with the whole family, as all 250+ of these hotels are suite only. Guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast when staying at an Embassy Suites hotel, as well as a daily evening reception with complimentary snacks and drinks. I’ve been impressed with some of this brand’s big-city locations, including a location right in Times Square and a property in Chicago just a block away from the river and the famous Magnificent Mile.
Hilton Garden Inn is one of the largest brands in the Hilton family, with over 850 hotels all around the world, including some interesting destinations like Tangier, Morocco and a property in a surprising prime location in downtown Kuala Lumpur. This brand tends to cater to business travelers and on-the-go tourists, offering made-to-order breakfast for all guests as well as business centers and gyms.
Hampton by Hilton, including the Hampton Inn & Suites hotels for large groups or extended stays, is by far the largest Hilton brand. It’s ~2,500 hotels around the globe make up just shy of 50% of the total Hilton portfolio, meaning if you find yourself frequently staying with Hilton you’re likely to end up at a Hampton sooner or later.
These properties really run the gamut, and include big-city destinations, airport hotels, beach resorts and everything in between. On my travels I’ve been really impressed by the reach of the Hampton footprint. Specifically, on a trip to Lanzhou last summer (a relatively small city in northwest China), there were three Hampton Inns available for me to pick from, when not one of the other major hotel chains (Marriott, Hyatt or IHG) had a single property in the city.
Tru by Hilton is a fast-growing U.S.-centered brand focused on a fast-growing market: cost-conscious millennial travelers. Similar to Marriott’s Moxy, you can expect to find small rooms that make an efficient use of space at Tru’s nearly 200 North American hotels, bulk toiletries, open closets and “mobile” desks that let you rearrange the space as you see fit.
Homewood Suites is Hilton’s option for those looking for an extended stay with all the comforts of home. The 500+ affordable all suite properties feature a fridge, kitchen, bedroom and living room in every suite, and guests are invited to enjoy free breakfast and a complimentary happy hour/evening social as well.
If you’re looking for an extended stay on a tighter budget, Home2 Suites by Hilton may be for you. All of the brand’s nearly 500 properties offer pools, outdoor spaces, and a combined gym and laundry facility to help you make the most of your time.
Motto is Hilton’s newest brand and hasn’t yet opened its door to the public. With the economic downturn caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we may see the opening date pushed back even further.
Once it opens, Motto will focus on reimagining the city hotel experience with a more thoughtful use of space. The brand promises shared common spaces in each property, tech friendly rooms, and a superior sleep experience delivered with sound-absorbing materials in the room and a “curated sleep kit.”
Signia is another yet-to-launch Hilton brand, with properties under development in Atlanta, Orlando and Indianapolis. Signia will focus on hosting large meetings and events (a business model that’s been thrown into question by current social distancing requirements). The brand promises to “holistically reimagine” event and meeting spaces with a more modern approach.
How to earn Hilton points
There are plenty of ways to earn Hilton points, including staying at Hilton hotels, participating in hotel promotions, dining out or ordering takeout and converting transferable points like American Express Membership Rewards.
By far the easiest method to boost your Hilton account balance quickly is to earn points from welcome bonuses and spending on Hilton cobranded credit cards:
Earn 130,000 bonus points after you use your card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Earn 12x points at participating Hilton hotels; 6x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; and 3x points on all other eligible purchases. Enjoy complimentary Gold status along with an upgrade to Diamond after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. You’ll also enjoy a free weekend night certificate when you spend $15,000 in a calendar year and 10 complimentary Priority Pass lounge visits per year, all for a $95 annual fee (see rates & fees).
Check out our Hilton Amex Surpass review for full details.
Earn 150,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the card within the first three months of card membership. Earn 14x points at participating Hilton hotels; 7x points on flights booked directly with the airline, car rentals and at U.S. restaurants; and 3x points on all other eligible purchases. Enjoy complimentary Diamond status, Priority Pass Select membership, an annual Hilton resort credit of up $250 and a free weekend night when you renew your card, all for a $450 annual fee (see rates & fees).
Check out our Hilton Amex Aspire review for full details.
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership. Earn 7x points at participating Hilton properties; 5x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations; and 3x points for all other eligible purchases. Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status and an upgrade to Gold after you spend $20,000 on the card in a calendar year, all with no annual fee (see rates & fees).
Check out our Hilton Amex review for full details.
Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months. Earn 12x points at participating hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6x points on select business and travel purchases and 3x points on all other eligible purchases. Enjoy complimentary Gold status along with an upgrade to Diamond after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. You’ll also enjoy a free weekend night certificate when you spend $15,000 in a calendar year and 10 complimentary Priority Pass lounge visits per year, all for a $95 annual fee (see rates & fees).
Check out our Hilton Amex Business review for full details.
With 17 different brands to choose from, there’s something for everyone in the Hilton portfolio whether you’re seeking top-notch luxury, an affordable, extended stay, or something in between.
Featured photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Amex Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Business Card, please click here.
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