History of Hilton Timeshares
History of Hilton Grand Vacations
The Hilton hotel brand goes back nearly 100 years, to the town of Cisco, Texas where an entrepreneur named Conrad Hilton bought his first hotel in 1919. Now, with over 3,750 hotels in 82 countries, the Hilton name has become known for superior hospitality, quality accommodation and outstanding service around the globe.
Now known as Hilton Worldwide, this multinational empire has expanded into several styles and levels of accommodation, from the mid-priced hotel through extended stay lodging and to the luxurious resorts located in some of the world's most sought-after vacation destinations.
It was a desire to expand into emerging niche accommodation markets which led Hilton to venture into the timeshare sector, creating the Hilton Grand Vacations Company, a subsidiary of Hilton Worldwide which is headquartered in Orlando, Florida.
Known under the brand name Hilton Grand Vacations, the timeshare operation manages two club membership programs, Hilton Grand Vacations Club and The Hilton Club, each providing exchange, travel and reservations assistance to more than 195,000 global members.
Hilton Grand Vacations provides access to 58 resorts available through the Hilton Grand Vacations Club network, with resorts located in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Portugal, Scotland and Italy. With a range of destinations from the theme parks of Orlando and the bright lights of Las Vegas to the beaches of Hawaii and Miami's South Beach, the company provides a locale for every vacation taste.
The journey began in 1992 when the then Hilton Hotels Corporation went into a joint venture with Grand Vacations, Limited - creating Hilton Grand Vacations Company. Then located in Ft. Myers, Florida, the corporate headquarters were moved to Orlando in 1993.
In 1994, the company's first foray into timeshare began with the opening of The Flamingo in Las Vegas, Nevada, a 15-acre property just steps away from the non-stop action of the Las Vegas Strip.
Success bred more success, as HGVC opened its first Orlando resort with the Hilton Grand Vacations Club at SeaWorld debuting in 1995. Right across the street from the world-famous theme park, the resort is minutes from all the major Orlando-area attractions.
Continued growth led Hilton Hotels Corporation to buy out the Grand Vacations, Limited partnership interest in the company in 1996, and Hilton Grand Vacations Company, LLC became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hilton Hotels Corporation (later to be known as Hilton Worldwide).
1997 saw the company expand its network beyond the Hilton brand through an affiliation agreement with Latin American resort developer Grupo Posadas, the parent company of Fiesta Americana Vacation Club. The agreement would later open Mexico to the membership through destinations at Fiesta Americana Villas Cancun, Fiesta Americana Villas Acapulco and Fiesta Americana Villas Los Cabos.
Hilton couldn't resist the lure of Miami's South Beach so, in 1998, Hilton Grand Vacations Club at South Beach opened on Ocean Drive in the Art Deco District - just steps away from the area's most celebrated bistros, boutiques and art galleries.
The Bay Club at Waikoloa Beach Resort became Hilton Grand Vacations Club's first affiliated property in Hawaii in 1999. Located on the big island of Hawaii and next to championship golf courses, the resort brought the magnificent natural beauty of Hawaii to Club members. Later that year, the company went back to Las Vegas with the opening of its second purpose-built timeshare resort - the Hilton Grand Vacations Club Las Vegas - which is adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center and perfectly situated to the best Las Vegas has to offer.
Through the previous agreement with Grupo Posadas, Hilton timeshare members were granted access to the Fiesta Americana Villas Los Cabos, which opened in Mexico in 2000, becoming the first Hilton Grand Vacations Club affiliated resort outside the U.S. Also in 2000, Hilton agreed to its first Club affiliations in Europe - bringing three Scottish resorts into the fold with Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Craigendarroch Lodges, Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Coylumbridge, and Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Dunkeld.
Hawaii once again became a focal point for the company with the 2001 opening of the Lagoon Tower at Hilton Hawaiian Village (now known as Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Hilton Hawaiian Village - Lagoon Tower). The 236-unit resort was the company's first purpose-built timeshare resort in Hawaii.
HGVC headed to the mountains for the first time with the affiliation of the Valdoro Mountain Lodge, which opened in 2002 in Breckenridge, Colorado. Located near the base of the Breckenridge Ski Resort, Valdoro Mountain Lodge opened members to the region's four-season assortment of outdoor activities such as world-class skiing, snowboarding, golfing, fly fishing, horseback riding and whitewater rafting.
2002 also saw Hilton Grand Vacations Club take a bite of the Big Apple with its first urban holiday location, The Hilton Club - New York. Opening at 1335 Avenue of the Americas in the heart of Manhattan, Hilton provides Club owners with an upscale New York experience in one of the world's most spectacular cities.
It was "all in" again in Las Vegas for the company in 2003 with the debut of Hilton Grand Vacations Club on the Las Vegas Strip - the group's third Vegas resort and first one actually located on the famed Strip. Meanwhile, The Kalia Tower was born - becoming the second timeshare destination within the 22-acre Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.
As the single most popular tourist destination in the United States with over 50 million annual visitors, Orlando is never far from the expansion plans. In 2004, Hilton Grand Vacations Club on International Drive became the company's second vacation ownership resort in Orlando, just a few miles from Disney World and close to the area's premium shopping outlets and renowned golf courses.
Canada came calling in 2005 with an affiliation agreement between Hilton Grand Vacations Club and Club Intrawest, opening world class destinations such as the ski fields of Whistler, cosmopolitan Vancouver and the charming French Quebec atmosphere of Mont Tremblant to Club owners.
New resort construction really kicked into high gear in 2006 with ground-breaking for the Grand Waikikian in Honolulu, West 57th Street by Hilton Club in Manhattan, and Kings' Land by Hilton Grand Vacations Club on the Big Island of Hawaii.
A new affiliation agreement with Grand Pacific Resorts Inc. in 2007 expanded the Hilton Grand Vacations Club network to include GPR's MarBrisa property; the first HGVC-affiliated resort in Carlsbad CA. Grand Pacific Palisades Resort would later be included into the Club's accommodation options.
New resorts debuted in 2008, with the Kings' Land by Hilton Grand Vacations Club opening as the company's second resort at Waikoloa Beach Resort. Continuing its Hawaiian expansion, the Grand Waikikian opened in Honolulu as the largest timeshare resort in Waikiki.
The third HGVC Orlando resort came online in 2009 with the beautiful Parc Soleil by Hilton Grand Vacations Club. Located on the west side of Interstate 4 in the Lake Buena Vista area, this is the closest HGVC resort to the Walt Disney World theme-park complex and features multiple pools, large workout room, onsite bar and casual dining options and a waterslide.
History was made in 2009 with the opening of West 57th Street by Hilton Club, which was the first timeshare property ever built from the ground-up in New York City. This luxurious 28-story building is located in midtown Manhattan's prestigious Plaza District and is close to Lincoln Center, Central Park, Carnegie Hall and Fifth Avenue's world-famous shopping.
In 2010, The Grand Waikikian was honored with the 2010 ACE Project of Excellence Award by the American Resort Development Association. Later in the year, the relationship with Grand Pacific Resorts expanded with the rebranding of the Carlsbad resort as Hilton Grand Vacations Club at MarBrisa, with HGVC taking over all timeshare sales and marketing activities for the resort.
One of the timeshare industry's top beach destinations, Myrtle Beach SC, welcomed Hilton Grand Vacations Club in 2011 with the opening of Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Anderson Ocean Club. Located on the famed Grand Strand right on Myrtle Beach, Club members could book wonderfully appointed oceanfront suites and have access to the region's numerous golf courses.
Also in 2011, the company bought the Ohana Islander Waikiki Hotel in Honolulu and announced plans to renovate the hotel into Hilton Grand Vacations Club - Waikiki Beach Walk for a 2013 debut. HGVC has since renamed the project Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations Club, which is expected to open in late 2013.
2012 saw the company continue its growth mode with a new project in Italy and the company's expansion into Portugal, plus access to new Las Vegas resorts. Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Borgo alle Vigne in the heart of Tuscany is currently taking reservations from Club owners, while Hilton Vilamoura Vacation Club is located in the wonderful Algarve region in southern Portugal. The company's newest Las Vegas properties are Elara, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club and the Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Trump International Hotel Las Vegas. Elara is the former Westgate Resorts development that Hilton took over in March, 2012, while the Trump International property is real estate mogul Donald Trump's first experience with timeshare - having sold 300 of the property's condo-hotel units to Hilton for a reported $100 million to create a mixed-use resort.