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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)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Adam says:

    I have tried to redeem a night here on points for a year already. Never a standard room availability. Only a “premium” which is really an entry level.

    • Tom says:

      Yes I ignore LXR when looking at high-end Hilton redemptions in London because they always want silly points. Nor was it ever available as my annual free night, as Diamond.

      You can routinely get the Aldwych Astoria for 80,000 and the Conrad for 80,000 on a more hit or miss basis. But never the LXR.

      It was always dead to me.

      • jhope says:

        What do you mean annual free night as diamond?

        • Tom says:

          I get one free night worth up to 150,000 hh points annually. Sadly it has never been enough to get the LXR on dates I wanted.

          Thinking about it more that might be a perk of my Aspire Amex card that comes with Diamond, but same thing really.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Shocking way to treat your customers especially when you’re Hilton managed.

    • Kevin C says:

      I kept an eye on it for a year or two and never saw a single day with standard room availability on points. I wonder whether Hilton may have complained about this.

      Went there for the Secret Socials Event last year and the public areas seemed nice enough.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Hilton managed the hotel. It’s them creating the issue

        • Harry says:

          Wrong, it was a franchise. And Hilton is glad to see the back of it!

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I don’t believe it was atleast none of the info online leads anyone to believe that.

          • GordyUK says:

            Harry is correct and from all accounts the owner was impossible to deal with and worked the (amazing) staff into the ground. I completely agree Hilton will be glad to be shot of it

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Well every single article about the hotel is incorrect. It might have reverted to M&C management as were at the 5 year point but multiple sources said managed by Hilton

            The luxury hotel is on London’s Grosvenor Square, and closed in July 2018 for a multi-million pound renovation project which saw designers Goddard Littlefair revamp its 257 rooms and 51 suites.

            In the meantime, Hilton has signed a management deal with building owners Millennium and Copthorne Hotels.

            The two groups have confirmed to Business Traveller that the hotel will be managed and operated under the Hilton LXR brand (pronounced L-X-R – not a slurred attempt at saying “luxury”)

      • Kowalski says:

        I’ve had several 5 night redemptions at the Biltmore over the past year. But I had to book well in advance to bag them!

        • Harry says:

          You can choose not to be believe me but I’m telling you it was a Franchise.

          • Rob says:

            Wouldn’t surprise me – one of the benefits of being Curio / Autograph / Unbound etc is presumably that you can manage yourself, since you’re not beholden to Hilton / Marriott / Hyatt brand standards anyway.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Hilton will operate the hotel under a 10-year management franchise agreement, with M&C having the option to take over the operation of the hotel under the LXR brand after five years.

  • Qrfan says:

    Surely the obvious problem is that most consumers cannot comprehend anything close to the full number of Hilton (or Marriott) brands. I’m a Hilton regular and I still have to look at the brand chart for some of them. I bet most people wouldn’t even know lxr was Hilton at all.

    • can2 says:

      isn’t it the case for all chains?
      who would know the luxury collection or autograph are Marriott?
      I think it goes both ways, perhaps LXR or WA wouldn’t want to be associated that obviously with the tired, middle class, american Hilton brand?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        There is a genuine gap between luxury and autograph properties.

        Luxury is not just 5* it’s far more than that I actually think SPG and now Marriot get the balance right here.

        Curio has some nice properties but none of them are luxury. The Biltmore rally did look luxury but the management didn’t treat customers like that.

        • can2 says:

          I was responding to @Qrfan’s comment about plentfulness of brands, rather than focusing only on luxury brands..

          • TGLoyalty says:

            But one is the group and the other is the brand. Just happens in most of these cases the group is named after the original brand.

            My point is W, Edition, Luxury Collection, Ritz Carlton, Autograph, Marriott, Courtyard etc do have clear differentiation for their newest hotels it’s the legacy hotels where the lines may blur but that’s because through acquisitions there’s been overlap.

  • can2 says:

    Plus, I agree with Rob, LXR is odd.
    Last year we stayed at DoubleTree Bodrum resort, which is next to an LXR oddly.
    It turned out it was owned by the same company.
    We inquired more to figure out if it is worth the money for us, and it turned out that it is really not. It is a loud, beach-club-ish hotel with not much character, not especially to justify the price tag. So, we didn’t bother to redeem there.

    • His Holyness says:

      Have you got this the wrong way around? The DT where you stayed is a pile it high, sell it cheap, loud hotel, packed out with Russians and Ukrainians on packages sat about on plastic chairs waiting for the all inc buffet to start.

      The LXR Bodrum is a luxurious, well-run and expensive property popular with wealthy Turks and those from the Gulf, which is their target market.

      • Tony Hart says:

        Feel fairly certain you could have made the point you were making without sounding quite as objectionable…

  • Richie says:

    LXR looks like a designation that would appear at the end of a Ford car ie Mundaneo LXR.

    • Peter says:

      In any case, a lame name indeed for a hotel brand

    • Bagoly says:

      For a flying-and-hotels website, A321LXR seems more obvious. 🙂
      Or is there something about the order of the letters which specifically makes you think of cars?

      Oh, maybe LXR suffers from being confused with XLR and so short-haul ‘planes for “long-haul routes”?

  • Sean Mc says:

    Not all bad for Hilton as they have just bought the rather small NOMAD brand though.

  • Cranzle says:

    Hilton don’t know how to do luxury. They are so far behind the competition

    • His Holyness says:

      The UK is too saturated and the legacy of Stakis is not forgotten in terms of the dumps that are (still) around.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Be fair to Henderson Park they’re buying up and refurbishing of them like the London and Birmingham metropoles

        • His Holyness says:

          Both still managed by Hilton.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            What difference does that make? They’re both firmly in the core Hilton category neither are trying to be luxury ?

          • His Holyness says:

            Because they’re the only two which are managed by Hilton. If Managing was better, Henderson wouldn’t be putting the Caley under Klarent. Would you rather your asset was managed by a company you own, or by another company that doesn’t have your best interests in mind?

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I just don’t think The Caley is up to the standard of a WA and clearly wasn’t going to refurbished as such so they gone the best way for the both of them but none of Klarent’s assets are of a high standard tbh. The Carlton is getting some love so obviously yet to see how that ends up.

      • Andrew. says:

        Plenty of videos online of Sir Reo’s abandoned mansion.

        The Hydro was his baby.

  • Amy C says:

    I have stayed here a few times and love it. Really disappointing news. Always got an upgrade as a GOLD member and the service has been faultless.

  • Panda Mick says:

    Just looked at the Park Hyatt Battersea (which is more Vauxhall, but let’s not talk about that): checkout is a mean 11am!

    • Ziggy says:

      Please would you link to the page showing the 11am checkout time?

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