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Hilton loses management of The Biltmore Mayfair LXR hotel – is the LXR brand working?

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It’s not been a great week for Hilton in the UK. Not only is Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh The Caledonian leaving the brand (albeit remaining a Hilton via Curio Collection) but The Biltmore Mayfair in London is off too, and very soon.

A note on the Hilton website says that The Biltmore Mayfair, in Grosvenor Square, is leaving with indecent haste on 1st May.

It’s not clear if anyone who booked via Hilton will be allowed to cancel their booking, as they will no longer receive Hilton Honors benefits or earn points or elite night credit.

Hilton loses management of The Biltmore Mayfair LXR hotel

The message on the Hilton website says:

Please note that as of May 1, The Biltmore Mayfair, LXR Hotels & Resorts will cease to operate as a Hilton hotel. As a result, stays booked past this date will not accrue Honors points. Please contact the hotel directly in case of any questions.

The hotel is owned by Millennium Hotels & Resorts and may revert to independent management. Hilton also lost management of the Millennium Hilton in New York, by World Trade Centre, a couple of years ago. This now trades as Millennium with a big sticker over the word ‘Hilton’ on the outside.

The Biltmore Mayfair opened in September 2019 following a refurbishment of the Millennium Mayfair hotel.

It was the first LXR hotel in Europe and, more importantly, the first where the deal was signed whilst refurbishment work was still ongoing. The only other LXR hotel at the time, in Dubai, was a St Regis where the signs changed literally overnight with no internal changes.

Is the issue the brand or the location?

It’s fair to say that Grosvenor Square is changing a lot. Adjacent to The Biltmore Mayfair is Rosewood’s ‘nearly finished’ uber luxury hotel inside the old American Embassy. Adjacent to that is a new Four Seasons-managed apartment block. Millennium may feel that it can do better than Hilton – frankly, Park Hyatt should jump at this and forget the site in Battersea that is nearly finished.

The LXR brand appears to have a problem. No-one seems too sure about what it is meant to represent, or how it is meant to sit alongside Conrad and Waldorf Astoria. In theory it is for independent hotels who are too ‘grand’ for Hilton’s Curio Collection and which don’t want to adjust to Conrad or Waldorf Astoria brand standards.

I’m not sure if it is simply the LXR name which isn’t working, or that larger hotels don’t adjust well to this sort of model. Curio Collection, full of boutique luxury independent hotels, is probably my favourite Hilton brand and has some lovely sites, but LXR …..

With no Waldorf Astoria or LXR hotels in the UK (once Edinburgh rebrands), it’s looking a bit thin. Obviously we have Waldorf Astoria Admiralty Arch in 2025 but I can see that aiming for the £1,000 per night market. Conrad St James is perfectly pleasant but the location doesn’t work for many. We will have NoMad to fill the gap soon – we’ll have that story tomorrow.


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Comments (53)

  • mkcol says:

    Every time I see the LXR branding I default think of Luxor, Egypt – perhaps it’s the old travel agent in me 😁

    • Patrick says:

      7 years working with Amadeus and I have the same issue…or perhaps it’s a sign that it’s a pyramid scheme? 😊

  • Kowalski says:

    This is disappointing news. I’ve stayed there several times in the past few years. Had some amazing upgrades as a Diamond member but also some not great rooms! Some of the rooms felt in need of an update, particularly the windows. Service was generally good although I found it odd that some of the house keeping spoke no English whatsoever!

  • X2000traveller says:

    Brand or Location?
    But it could also be the brand fee that Hilton charge as they progressively move into the licensing business…

  • Harry says:

    Let’s not forget the truly stunning Waldorf Astoria Admiralty Arch coming online next year.

    • JDB says:

      The WA Admiralty Arch is mentioned in the article, but while it will no doubt have impressive interiors, it cannot be a good thing that the hotel, like the nearby OWO, is operated by a mass market chain that doesn’t really understand luxury at all which is unfortunate given the number of pure luxury groups that do these things properly.

      • Harry says:

        Completely disagree. There are some incredible WAs, including WA Beverly Hills which is one of the finest hotels on the west coast.

        • Harry says:

          And closer to home the WA Amsterdam – one of the finest properties in the city.

  • Boaby says:

    What brand would they make the Virgin Glasgow? I would think Curio, like in LAS but would be weird with the Caledonian a Curio too.

    • Rob says:

      I suspect Virgin Group will try to buy the property to ensure it can retain it. They can’t afford to lose any more hotels (SanFran having already gone) given the glacial pace of new openings.

      • Boaby says:

        If Virgin want it so does Henderson.

        • Rob says:

          Virgin Group would strategically pay above market to retain the asset, I suspect. Plenty of other washed up hotels for Henderson.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Not sure it’s a Henderson play. They seem to buy assets that they can add value to through refurbishing rebranding etc

  • Jack says:

    Marriott has lost Twickenham hotel. It is now Radisson.

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