Hilton plans Europe debut for LXR luxury brand

LXR Hotels & Resorts, Hilton’s luxury hotel collection brand, is about to enter Europe.

The Millennium Hotel London Mayfair is set to reopen as LXR Hotels & Resorts' first property in the UK and Europe, following an agreement between Hilton and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels. 

Renamed The Biltmore, Mayfair, the hotel is expected to open in the spring following a multimillion-pound (and nearly year-long) renovation. Designed by Goddard Littlefair, the hotel will have 257 guestrooms, many with views over Grosvenor Square, as well as 51 suites that evoke the property's history as a private residence.

Public spaces at The Biltmore, Mayfair will include a year-round terrace, a cocktail bar and a fitness suite. For larger events, the property will have a 500-square-meter ballroom that can accommodate up to 700 guests. For smaller functions, the Waterloo and Manhattan Suites can accommodate up to 100 guests, while the Kendal Suite is suitable for 25 guests or boardroom meetings.

Growing LXR

LXR is simultaneously a new and old brand, launched by Blackstone Group in 2005 to reposition 14 upscale hotels in the U.S. and Caribbean that the firm acquired when it bought out Wyndham International that year.

When Blackstone acquired Hilton in 2007, many LXR properties were reflagged under Hilton brands, including El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico and Casa Marina Key West, which became Waldorf Astoria resorts. Blackstone took Hilton public in 2013, and sold its remaining stake in the company in 2018.

Joe Berger, Hilton's EVP and president, Americas, was LXR's president from 2005 to 2008, laying the groundwork for Hilton's subsequent luxury expansion. 

“Being the president of LXR was a great experience for professional growth because it gave me a deeper understanding of the owner/operator perspective,” he said in an 2016 interview. “Ultimately, it enabled me to bring the perspective of the owner and operator to our management business and help our management business think more like owners so we can deliver exceptional returns.”

LXR returned as a soft brand last year, opening its first hotel in Dubai at Habtoor Palace, a 234-guestroom property on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts operates as an independent property as part of the soft brand, but only a few months ago, it was the St. Regis Dubai. Marriott International handed over its operations to Al Habtoor Group in July, and the new signage was up some weeks later.

Soft-Brand Competition 

While LXR is still relatively nascent as a soft brand, its growth by conversion is poised to help it gain traction in lucrative markets, competing with Marriott's Luxury Collection, which has as more than 100 properties in its portfolio or Hyatt's Unbound Collection, which has 16 locations. (While Marriott officially classifies its Autograph Collection and Tribute Portfolio as luxury hotels, STR places these two in the upper-upscale category.)

At this point, Hilton has not announced any future openings for LXR beyond London.