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Hilton Has Ambitious Growth Goals for Its Luxury Curio Brand

Correction: Corrects quote in 4th paragraph that the Hilton and Curios properties are four- and five-star hotels.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Hilton (HLT)HLT is trying to cash in on the luxury hotel market with Curio, its new brand.

Although it initially announced only five Curio properties, Hilton has much bigger plans for the brand. Rob Palleschi, global head of Hilton hotels and resorts, has said the goal is to have 350 Curio hotels within the next five years.

Hilton is targeting mature markets in the U.S. and Europe.

"The Hilton and Curio properties are four and five-star independent hotels," Palleschi said in an interview with GlobeSt.com, a real-estate news site. "We're looking in major markets such as Vancouver, Montreal, London, Paris and Rome, there are many iconic assets as well as new ones that are designed to be market specific."

One of the five properties already in the Curio group is SLS Las Vegas, which will open hotel and casino in August, the culmination of a three-year, $415 million renovation of the former Sahara hotel/casino.

Other Curio properties include the Sam Houston Hotel in Houston; the Hotel Alex Johnson in Rapid City, S.D.; a soon-to-be-named hotel in downtown Portland, Ore.; and  the Franklin Hotel in Chapel Hill, N. C.

Curio is a collection of four- to five-star hotels that is also part of Hilton HHonors, Hilton's customer-loyalty program.

With it, Hilton is tapping into a hospitality market flush with capital. Global hotel investments are expected to increase to $50 billion in 2014, which would be a five-year industry high, according to Jones Lang LaSalle's Hotel Investment Outlook.

In the luxury sector, Choice Hotels International (CHH)CHH announced last month its Ascend brand's boutique acquisition of the historic Safety Harbor Resort and Spa near Tampa, Fla. Choice Hotels has also bought six new properties this year, adding to its Ascend Hotel Collection.

Marriott (MAR)MAR said this month that it will be rolling out 20 properties under its Autograph boutique brand by the end of this year.

The fundamentals in the industry are strong. Hilton's first-quarter revpar -- or revenue per available room, an important metric for hotels -- rose 6.6% and is expected to continue to increase at a similar rate.

Shares of Hilton were trading at $22.61, down 20 cents, late Thursday morning. The company was taken public in December by Blackstone with an IPO price of $20 a share.

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At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.






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