When Conrad Hilton purchased his first hotel in Cisco, Texas, in 1919, he simply envisioned a space for laborers to rest their heads after long shifts at the oil refinery. In the 100 years since that groundbreaking business decision, the Hilton company has opened its doors to hard workers, vacationing families and everyone in between across 17 brands and 5,700-plus properties around the globe.
When Chris Nassetta took over as Hilton’s CEO in 2007, one of his initial missions was to strengthen the presence of his higher-end hotels. Since that strategy was announced, the company’s most sophisticated labels — Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and the new, boutique-minded LXR Hotels & Resorts — steadily have grown. And with a recent flurry of grand openings (Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi) and future properties (Conrad Nashville in 2021), things are only getting started.
In honor of Hilton’s 100 years of hospitality, our Forbes Travel Guide editors rounded up the 52 hotels that serve as exemplary modern-day examples of Conrad Hilton’s bold vision.
The West Coast’s first Waldorf Astoria debuted in 2017 with plentiful perks: it featured a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, a La Prairie spa and one of L.A.’s hottest rooftops. But perhaps one of the best amenities is that you will receive your own personal concierge at the Five-Star standout.
Whether your itinerary is filled with swimming-with-sharks excursions or snoring-to-the-heavens naps in overwater hammocks, Conrad Bora Bora Nui assures you that it’ll all be done against a postcard-perfect Polynesian backdrop that you’ll never forget.
Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
At Maui’s water wonderland, hurtle down a tube slide with a three-story drop, sway on the Tarzan swing or splash in nine pools. For something more sedate, soak up the spa’s water therapies.
Zemi Beach House Hotel & Spa – LXR Hotels & Resorts
Hilton’s first property in Anguilla, this six-acre, beachfront stunner will transform to an LXR hotel in November. Once the shutters reopen, you will be able to enjoy 65 rooms, five dining and drinking options, three pools and one 15,000-square-foot spa.
Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
While Hilton may have reached the century mark, this Phoenix gem is right behind with its 90th anniversary this year. The resort is celebrating with $90 resort credits (on some reservations), themed spa treatments, history tours and a time-traveling afternoon tea.
The former London NYC promises to have a residential feel once it opens after a renovation later this summer. It hopes to accomplish that with more than 500 suites, a thoughtful art collection and a Carnegie Hall-adjacent location that everyone will love.
The Biltmore, Mayfair – LXR Hotels & Resorts
With 308 smartly decorated rooms, a buzzed-about Jason Atherton restaurant and a enviable location in London’s West End, it’s easy to see why this hotel is one of the Hilton family’s most anticipated 2019 openings.
The former Mandarin Oriental is quickly establishing its own identity (toning down the Asian flair) on the Vegas Strip without alienating some of the things (Five-Star Twist by Pierre Gagnaire) that made it so beloved in the first place.
Comfortably plopped between lush foliage on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Bali hideaway feels in a world all its own. Get better acquainted with the wild surroundings by river rafting or hiking through the rainforests.
The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Though it may be hard to believe, this Big Easy property is 25 years older than Hilton. But with rooms having two flat-screen TVs, a rooftop bar rolling out inventive pours and a fitness center flexing the latest Technogym equipment, the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel hides its age well.
This exquisite Gold Coast hotel exudes glamour, from the Coco Chanel-inspired design to celebrity chef Michael Mina’s Margeaux Brasserie and the customized treatments at the Four-Star spa.
Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Our infatuation with this Key West escape is well documented. And when you experience all that the 311-room property has to offer on your next trip — oceanfront pools, Key West’s largest private beach — you’ll join in the adulation.
A boutique hotel tucked within the bustling Cotai Strip, this Five-Star jewel is perfect if you seek seclusion. But then again, with a host of restaurants, grand casinos and the massive Grand Canal Shoppes all within walking distance, you’ll want to do some exploring.
One of the newer properties under the Hilton umbrella, this Buckhead escape is smartly blending itself right in with rooms done with a subtle elegance and a culinary program (a summer wine series, Thursday ice cream socials) that knows how to have fun.
Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
The view from atop Rome’s Monte Mario alone is worthy of a visit to this Four-Star treasure. Once you add in a chance to taste Heinz Beck’s amazing cuisine or test-drive a Lamborghini around the neighborhood, it becomes an essential stop.
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian
Affectionately called “The Caley” by locals, the Edinburgh hotel will make you feel right at home, too. Just tuck into a bite at the beloved The Pompadour, toast with friends in the sophisticated Caley Bar or snuggle up into your Waldorf Astoria Serta mattress.
This beautiful Bangkok property may have been influenced by the grandeur of the original Waldorf Astoria in New York, but its culinary style (the Nordic-influenced Front Room) and spa treatments (the Swiss- and Bali-inspired Rebalance Massage) are proof of a more global feel.
Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace
With Louis XIV’s regal former residence just a mile away, this hotel makes its own royal statement in the form of 199 rooms splashed in rich fabrics and white marble, a pair of Gordon Ramsay restaurants and the 30,000-square-foot Spa Guerlain.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
The best way to experience the crystal-clear waters of the Maldives is from Conrad’s mesmerizing Ithaa underwater restaurant and THE MURAKA, a luxurious villa with a submerged master bedroom.
Boasting a sleek, cruise-line-inspired design and oceanfront location, this Gold Coast retreat makes you want to hit the water. A 20,000-square-foot Sky Deck and floor-to-ceiling windows guarantee a front-row seat to a stunning South Florida sunset.
La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
A desert-chic escape for Hollywood elite, this 45-acre Palm Springs property plays host to a whopping 41 pools, five golf courses and an Instagram-famous yoga studio (strike a tree pose in front of the yellow Buddha-patterned mural).
This elegant 27-story stay is a stunner with an Andre Fu-designed molecular gastronomy restaurant, a striking 65-foot Czech crystal lobby light installation and a rooftop whirlpool overlooking iconic Canton Tower.
A sixth-floor infinity pool, a chic wine bar and a stylish suite stocked with original Warhol and Picasso pieces are just a few of the cultural curiosities found at this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Circle City hotel.
This Four-Star canal-side hotel may be built from six 17th-century mansions, but its Guerlain Spa and indoor pool, speakeasy-style bar and acclaimed Dutch restaurant Spectrum are thoroughly modern comforts.
A nice foil to its bustling hometown, this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hideaway offers serene, silk-lined interiors and plenty of quiet spaces, including a traditional Chinese courtyard and signature afternoon tea spot Peacock Alley.
Towering 61 stories high, the Four-Star hotel provides sterling vistas of Victoria Harbour, the mountains, skyline and Victoria Peak. Peel your eyes away for top-notch Cantonese fare at Golden Leaf.
A slope-side location and plenty of fireplaces make this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended lodge a sumptuous home base for alpine adventures. Its heated pool and rustic-chic Powder restaurant make it even more enticing.
Boca Beach Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Find beach bliss in Boca: a secluded half mile of sand, well-appointed cabanas (each outfitted with a bathroom, shower and butler), watersports (surfing, stand-up paddleboarding and more) and oceanfront accommodations.
Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund
The Bund-side hotel tempts with steaks and seafood (Pelham’s) and Chinese fare (Wei Jing Ge). Have a nightcap at Long Bar, whose 110-foot mahogany bar top was once the longest in the Far East.
El Conquistador Tucson, A Hilton Resort
Adventures at this 80-acre Sonoran Desert hideaway range from horseback rides and hikes to golf and tennis, but the most fun pastime may be finding the best vistas from the resort’s five inviting pools.
This Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel may be in the heart of the South Korean capital’s business district, but its indoor pool, driving range, sundeck and Swiss Perfection Spa make finding serenity a cinch.
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
Luxurious experiences abound at this 122-room Maldives resort, where private island accommodations, treetop dining and endless aquatic excursions (scuba diving, parasailing, windsurfing) are all just another day at the beach.
After a day of shopping at the CityCenterDC retail and dining hub, retire to the adjacent Conrad. Relax at this newly opened stay’s rooftop bar, two lush terraces and window-lined, Voltaggio-brothers-helmed restaurant Estuary.
Waldorf Astoria Jeddah, Qasr Al Sharq
Live like Saudi royalty at this luxurious, all-suite lodging, where palatial rooms have crystal chandeliers, marble bathrooms with deep-soaking tubs and double-height ceilings with crown molding.
Cool off during those steamy days in the hotel’s rooftop pool overlooking the Singapore Flyer. When hunger hits, head to local favorite Oscar’s to partake in the buffet’s congee bar.
Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
A beachy resort with easy access to downtown Dubai, this Four-Star waterfront retreat ups the exclusivity factor with a private stretch of sand, personal concierges and a weekly Secret Garden Brunch.
The first Waldorf Astoria property in Latin America, this chic, 36-story stay brings lavish touches to Panama City, including a Peacock Alley Lobby Bar, pillow menus and a signature spa.
Colombian art enlivens this breezy whitewashed hotel. Head outside to bask in five pools or the beach, or play a round on the first TPC golf course in South America.
This Hollywood starlet of a hotel has attracted A-listers since its 1955 opening, when Esther Williams made the inaugural swim in its famed pool. It’s hosted the Golden Globes since 1961 and holds more than 150 other red-carpet events yearly.
Steps from Chicago’s famed Michigan Avenue, Conrad has an unbeatable location. But that’s not the only draw. Come here for the mid-century modern design, bourbon bar and hidden rooftop lounge.
Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre
Opened in July, this sharp financial district stay offers plenty of ways to unwind post-power lunch, whether at the intimate four-room spa or with a poolside cocktail at 18th-floor rooftop bar St. Trop.
You’ll want to spend your stay gazing out of the floor-to-ceiling windows of the 28th-floor bar or the 29th-floor spa. But don’t miss the views from your room’s bathtub, too.
Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal
The brand’s first Mexico hotel doesn’t open until September, but it’s on track to be a winner. Waldorf Astoria will take over the Five-Star The Resort at Pedregal and its Five-Star spa.
A showy net-like exterior announces the Conrad. Inside is muted but still modern — soothing all-beige rooms, the lobby’s 32-foot-tall glass-tile installation and Lu Yu’s two-story tea wall and hand-painted silk wallpaper.
Art deco decadence permeates this Four-Star oasis, from the rooms (with Apple TVs) to Lang Bar (named after director Fritz Lang, it has film-noir-themed cocktails). Enjoy Germany’s first Guerlain spa and its cloud-shaped pool.
Visit the all-suite hotel to see its 2,000-piece modern art collection — including a Sol LeWitt mural — and rooftop bar overlooking the Statue of Liberty and harbor (order the boozy popsicle in prosecco).
This upscale, family-friendly oasis may be just 15 minutes from Disney’s Magic Kingdom, but its Rees Jones-designed greens, sparkling pools and surrounding nature preserve make staying in an equally tempting option.
A Yeouido Island location means this glass tower within IFC Seoul mall affords Han River and skyline vistas. But the best view is from the top-floor 37 Grill & Bar.
Boca Raton Resort and Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Beyond the hotel’s stunning salmon façade, discover 30 tennis courts, 13 restaurants and bars, two golf courses and a wave simulator. Our favorite perk is the palatial spa with ornate arches, marble and stone.
The Duniway Portland, A Hilton Hotel
Get a taste of the Pacific Northwest at this downtown stay, where a Vinyl Suite equipped with wall-to-wall records and a snout-to-tail eatery built with a sustainability ethos pay homage to Portland, Oregon’s distinct local flavors.
A bit of retro elegance in Chengdu’s new Hi-Tech Zone, this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended property is a sleek spot for browsing multi-level art installations or sipping whiskey to smooth jazz tunes at the 52nd-floor Wall Street bar.
The yacht-shaped hotel takes inspiration from the vessels gliding into Manila Bay. Swim in the infinity pool and savor dim sum and Chinese barbecue at the popular China Blue by Jereme Leung.