Exclusive interview: John T.A Vanderslice, Global Head of Luxury & Lifestyle Brands – Hilton
What’s “hot” in terms of news from Hilton Group’s luxury portfolios? We put the question to the man “in the know” – John T.A Vanderslice, Global Head of the company’s Luxury & Lifestyle Brands.
Our luxury brands continue to strengthen and grow across the world and our 26 Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and 29 Conrad Hotels & Resorts are a testament to that. We are gearing up for the opening of Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills in May this year, one of the most highly anticipated developments within the portfolio. The 12 story, 170-room property is located adjacent to The Beverly Hilton on the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards in Beverly Hills and will be the brand’s first new build on the West Coast. The hotel will offer worldclass design and exclusive services with every detail developed to create an unforgettable hospitality experience. Turning to the Conrad Hotels & Resorts portfolio, we are delighted to be opening Conrad Bora Bora Nui in April 2017. This 115-key resort, formerly known as Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, will be reopening following a mul t imi l l ion-dol lar refurbishment. Offering panoramic ocean views, access to sea sports, coral reef dive sites and hiking trails, the beachfront resort will feature 29 tropical garden and beach villas and 86 overwater bungalows, including the destination’s only doublestory Presidential Suites. Last year was a particularly strong year of growth for the Conrad brand and we have seen some fantastic properties come on board including Conrad Manila, Conrad Makkah, Conrad Pune and Conrad Chicago appealing to today’s smart luxury traveller.
How is the new Canopy brand progressing?
Canopy by Hi lton has seen great success since the launch of the brand over two years ago, and last July saw the opening of its first hotel – Canopy Reykjavik City Centre. The hotel has been hugely well-received, and its opening was very timely given the recent growing popularity of Iceland as a destination. This year will see the expansion of the brand portfolio with the launch of the first of many US properties – two new hotels will open in the Washington, D.C. area later this year, as well as one in Portland and one in Dallas. Looking beyond to 2018 and 2019, additions will include Minneapolis, O k l a h o m a , A t l a n t a , Chicago and Toronto, as well as another European opening in London. We’re thrilled with the success we’ve seen for the Canopy brand so far, and are excited for what’s to come!
You’ve been introducing some interesting concepts as “value add” in your Waldorf Astoria and Conrad hotels… Please tell us a little more.
We know that today’s luxury traveller is looking for more than exceptional service and a great product. They are focused on unique experiences and unparalleled access, and are looking to our hotels to provide that gateway for a truly unforgettable stay. Across both Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties, we continue to collaborate with some of the world’s most iconic brands to provide our guests with bespoke adventures. For Waldorf Astoria, we have entered the second year of our partnership with Lamborghini to offer the exclusive Waldorf Astoria Driving Experiences across a number of properties w o r l d w i d e . D u r i n g selective weekends, guests of Waldorf Astoria Hotel & Resorts in California, Chicago, Versailles, Rome, Edinburgh, Boca Raton and Dubai will have the unique opportunity to get behind the wheel of Lamborghini’s latest line-up of cutting edge super sports cars in a 30-minute session led by Lamborghini ’s professional d r i v i n g instructors. Within each destination, a customised driving route will be created to allow guests to accelerate down the most notable roadways while zipping by favourite sights and places. Coming off a successful launch in 2015, Conrad Hotels & Resorts’ Stay Inspired initiative has expanded to include many more destinations across the world. The Stay Inspired initiative makes it easy for guests to explore their surroundings from a true local’s point of view. From harvesting oysters on the Algarve coast in Portugal to making soba noodles taught by a soba master in Tokyo, the Conrad 1/3/5 itineraries urge guests to immerse themselves in a destination with hyper-authentic activities tailored to their personal interests and time available.