Overheard: Pssst, Hilton to launch 13th brand

HILTON Worldwide is close to launching its 13th brand, which will also mark its entry into the budget/economy space.

Although we’re short of details right now, we understand from a source that the brand is intended to be an “entry level” to Hilton for millennials. The thinking behind it is that if the chain can hook them with it – and its loyalty programme HHonors – then they will also stay at its other 12 brands as their disposable income grows. Which is why no effort has been spared to come up with a prototype that “will be the best offering in its market space”.

The brand will be rolled out in the US first and not in Asia just yet. We figure Hilton’s APAC chief Martin Rinck won’t mind that, since there is plenty on his hands already, including the less familiar brands to Asia like Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton, not to mention the two brands Hilton launched last year, Canopy by Hilton and Curio Collection. Of these, Hampton is gaining a real traction, thanks to an agreement with Plateno Hotels to grow 400 Hampton hotels in China over the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, Singapore tycoon Ong Beng Seng is parting with real dollars to renovate Hilton Singapore, the crown jewel under his hotel properties. At the end of this month, the hotel will unveil refurbished rooms on the upper floors to meet changing guest needs. We managed to get a sneak preview – it looks more homely, more spacious, is brighter and, yes, modish. With the hotel’s location on Orchard Road, the old hotel is far from wilting away.

The lobby too has been transformed, as has F&B. A new restaurant Opus Bar & Grill on the lobby level serves a select range of prime cuts and sustainably sourced seafood in the evenings and a sold-out brunch on Sundays.

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