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Hilton makes a splash in luxury lifestyle travel with its plan to grow NoMad by 100 hotels

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Hilton has arisen from its slumber on luxury and lifestyle brands.

The hotel giant is taking a majority stake in Sydell Group, the parent company of the NoMad Hotels brand, both companies announced Wednesday. The deal puts Hilton in charge of expanding the NoMad brand, currently limited to hotels in London and Las Vegas. The plan is to eventually expand NoMad up to 100 hotels, with deals for 10 hotels in “advanced stages of discussion.”

While the deal was only announced this week, Hilton leaders had been teasing for months that some play for a luxury lifestyle brand was in the works.

“Adding NoMad to our growing brand portfolio will create new offerings for guests seeking unique luxury experiences in some of the world’s most desirable locations,” Chris Silcock, Hilton’s president of global brands and commercial services, said in a statement. “By pairing an already proven brand concept that’s ready for expansion with the power of Hilton’s commercial engine, we are accelerating our ability to drive growth in the luxury lifestyle segment.”

If you’re not familiar with NoMad, you’re not the only one: It is only a two-hotel brand, after all. But this also enables Hilton to have more influence in the overall vibe as it beefs up the brand into its offering in the competitive luxury lifestyle space, which counts brands like Marriott’s Edition and W, and Hyatt’s Thompson Hotels as leading players.

a neoclassical building with a black awning over the door

Hilton’s “buy small” is a similar growth strategy to what IHG Hotels & Resorts did with the smaller Regent brand, which the company took a majority stake of in 2018. Regent was an established brand before IHG came knocking, but IHG now has the final say in what it looks like as it goes global. Expect Hilton to do the same with NoMad.

The brand aesthetic NoMad is going for as it grows into the Hilton ecosystem will be to provide guests with a residential feel in some of the world’s most desirable neighborhoods, per the company announcement. Expect a mix of “grand and intimate,” “classic and playful” and “fun and elegant,” per the adjectives Hilton uses to depict the soon-to-grow brand.

Details on the full lineup of amenities travelers should expect from a more robust NoMad portfolio with Hilton’s involvement remain scarce, but the important thing is Hilton Honors members will now have an option in the popular luxury lifestyle space where Marriott, Hyatt and Accor’s Ennismore offshoot currently dominate.

a dark library with a red velvet sofa

“We’re excited to begin this new phase for Sydell, as we enter into a partnership with Hilton to expand the NoMad brand around the world,” Andrew Zobler, Sydell Group founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Grounded in the idea of the hotel as a great home, the NoMad brand is dedicated to providing guests with accessible luxury, exceptional design and award-winning food and beverage. Hilton’s expertise in both luxury and lifestyle, paired with its track record in scaling brands, makes for an exciting opportunity.”

The flagship NoMad London hotel — a TPG favorite for its rich, moody furnishings, spacious accommodations and atrium restaurant — will appear on Hilton booking platforms later this year. The NoMad Las Vegas, which is part of the MGM Resorts and Marriott-affiliated Park MGM complex, is not included in the deal and will reflag to a different brand identity in the coming months.

“By fusing Sydell’s chic hospitality with Hilton’s unrivaled distribution and loyalty programs, we have created the perfect partnership — a marriage of Andrew Zobler’s pioneering creativity with Hilton’s best-in-class leadership,” Jeremy Cooper, Sydell Group’s chief investment officer, told TPG. “This unprecedented collaboration sets a new benchmark in the luxury-lifestyle hotel sector.”

a hotel room with blue and gold furnishings

A new day at Hilton

The NoMad deal is a departure from Hilton’s longtime “build, don’t buy” growth strategy of organically developing brands instead of acquiring existing hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton, IHG and Accor are known to do.

But in the last month, Hilton has acquired two: Graduate Hotels and now NoMad.

There have been swelling murmurs in the hotel orbit in recent months over Hilton’s ambition to snatch the world’s largest hotel company crown from Marriott, especially as the gap narrows between each company’s development pipeline and loyalty program membership count. For a while, it seemed like Hilton was focusing on the affordable end of the spectrum by developing new budget-friendly brands like Spark and LivSmart Studios to fuel more hotel growth.

a hotel bar with wood paneling and a marble counter

But the company can’t ignore the luxury and lifestyle end of the spectrum, where Hilton has lagged behind its competitors.

Hilton appears ready to put that line of thought in the rearview mirror, as Graduate Hotels will give the brand a viable lifestyle hotel product in various towns and cities with ties to a college or university. NoMad can be the glitzy luxury lifestyle sibling in some of the most popular destinations in the world.

Further, Hilton’s upcoming partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World — with the expected snatch from Hyatt slated to finalize later this year — provides Hilton Honors members with a wide array of new options in the boutique luxury space.

Consider this a new day for luxury at Hilton — one that can play a vital part in making this company vault to the top position in the hotel conglomerate food chain.

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