by Michael J. Shapiro | June 02, 2014
Hilton Worldwide on Monday introduced Curio-A Collection by Hilton, a new global brand of four- and five-star, independently operated hotels that will retain their own unique names. The properties will become part of Hilton's sales and reservations systems, as well as the Hilton HHonors loyalty program. Hilton's customers and hotel owners have shown a strong interest in such a brand, according to Hilton Worldwide president and CEO Christopher J. Nassetta. "That desire, combined with the current size of the independent hotel market and demand for differentiated hotel stays around the world, made for the right timing for this launch," he said in a statement.

The first properties to join the collection will include the 1,620-room SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, due to open on Labor Day weekend this year; the 100-room Sam Houston Hotel in Houston, left; the 143-room Hotel Alex Johnson in Rapid City, S.D.; the 67-room Franklin Hotel in Chapel Hill, N.C., and a soon-to-be-named hotel development in downtown Portland, Ore.

Curio appears to share much in common with Marriott's Autograph Collection, launched in 2009. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," said Marriott president and CEO Arne Sorenson in response to the Hilton news. "It will be interesting to see what they do."