Hilton to Launch New Luxury Soft Brand

The 234-room Habtoor Palace, which will become an LXR Hotel

In the process of converting three Dubai hotels to Hilton brands, the hospitality giant has announced it will be creating a new luxury collection brand, LXR Hotels & Resorts. The three adjacent Al Habtoor City hotels, previously run by Marriott in the prestigious Dubai development, will now each carry a different Hilton flag and be managed by the buildings' owners, the Al Habtoor Group.

The 234-room Habtoor Palace, a rebranding of the former St. Regis, will become an LXR Hotel, one of the new soft brand's first properties. "The decision of Hilton to choose Dubai as one of the first locations for its upcoming luxury collection brand is a confirmation of Dubai and the UAE's robustness and appeal," noted Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, founding chairman of the Al Habtoor Group. Hilton will unveil additional details about LXR in the coming months, according to a spokesperson.

Habtoor Palace, an opulent, Beaux Arts-style property alongside the Dubai Water Canal, will operate as an independent property under the LXR brand. Hilton has placed the hotel's homepage on the Waldorf Astoria section of its site for the time being, implying that LXR will be marketed among the company's high-service, top luxury options. Habtoor Palace offers round-the-clock butler service, a wellness spa and two rooftop pools. Among the event spaces in the hotel is the 8,600-square-foot, pillarless Habtoor Ballroom, which can accommodate up to 700 attendees.

The LXR name was previously used by former Hilton owner Blackstone Group, as Bloomberg News pointed out. The private-equity firm launched LXR Luxury Resorts in 2005 to reposition a number of high-end properties acquired from Wyndham, most of which were later rebranded under Hilton flags when Blackstone acquired the hotel company in 2007. At least a couple of those original LXR properties became Waldorf Astoria resorts. (Blackstone recently sold its remaining stake in Hilton, which is now public.)

The other two Al-Habtoor City hotels involved in Hilton's recent rebranding, formerly the Westin and the W, have become the Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City and the V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, respectively.

The 1,004-room Hilton, under the flagship brand, is now the company's largest in the Middle East and Africa region. The 44-story tower has an expansive spa, four rooftop pools, 15 meeting rooms and a 15,339-square-foot ballroom with its own entrance.

The 356-room V Hotel becomes the first Curio Collection property in the UAE. The hotel features cutting-edge art and design and is home to Dubai's first resident aqua show, La Perle by Dragone. The 7,800-square-foot Amazing Room can host events for as many as 500 attendees. The property also has two restaurants, two lounges, one nightclub and a fitness center.