Hilton has announced its first Garden Inn property in the UK, due to open next year. The three-star Garden Inn concept is relatively new to Europe, although there are over 180 properties across the US, Canada and Mexico. In Europe, the brand is represented by three hotels in Stuttgart, Florence and at Rome airport.
Hilton is playing catch up in the mid-priced sector in the UK, with chains like Holiday Inn, Radisson SAS, Marriott and Accor all having established mid-priced brands such as Express by Holiday Inn, Park Inn, Marriott Courtyard and Novotel.
The Hilton Garden Inn Luton North will be located within the Butterfield Luton project, an 85 acre business and technology park capable of housing up to 100,000sqm of office space. The park is situated to the north east of the town just off the A505, around four miles from London Luton Airport.
The Garden Inn property will feature 155 rooms with work desk, air conditioning and LCD satellite TV, complimentary wifi throughout the hotel, a 24-hour business centre, and a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. There will also be a lobby lounge area with library and fireplace, a bar with plasma screen TV, a Pavilion Pantry shop offering ready meals, snacks and drinks, and a hospitality centre with microwave, fridge and coffee maker. Rooms will feature the Garden Sleep bed, the firmness of which can be adjusted by a dial on the side of the mattress according to the preference of the user. It is being built with a renewable energy "bio-mass" boiler to reduce fuel consumption.
Says Simon Vincent, area president for Hilton UK and Ireland:
"This first Hilton Garden Inn signals a new era for Hilton in the UK, and with Luton as an important hub with a large population centre, good access to a growing airport and its easy distance to the sites and sounds of London, the launch of the upper mid-market Hilton Garden Inn in this location is sure to be a success."
Meeting facilities at the hotel include a boardroom and meeting room with parquet flooring and natural daylight, and there will also be a complimentary fitness centre, and on-site parking at the property.
Hilton plans to open 20 further Garden Inn properties over the next five years. It's not the only new look Hilton brand to hit the UK recently, with several "lifestyle" Hilton hotels opening in London and Manchester (click here to see Business Traveller's review of the Hilton London Bridge). This new style Hilton should help to give a more consistent feel to the brand, which has experienced a fair amount of brand stretch in terms of individual hotel standards over the years.
Report by Mark Caswell