Published Wednesday, March 11, 2009 | 10:53 a.m.
Updated Wednesday, March 11, 2009 | 1:38 p.m.
Hilton Hotels Corp. said Tuesday it's creating an eclectic brand called Denizen Hotels and is working to bring that brand to Las Vegas and other major destinations worldwide.
The Denizen brand is expected to take the place of the Cosmopolitan, an under-construction resort at Harmon Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, as Hilton Hotels executives have been working at the Cosmopolitan site for months.
A Cosmopolitan spokeswoman would not confirm that scenario.
Hilton, based in Beverly Hills, has been working on a new hotel brand with the idea that it would replace the Cosmopolitan name, according to people familiar with the project. The Cosmopolitan was created by developer Ian Bruce Eichner, whose resort was foreclosed upon by Deutsche Bank last year.
Deutsche Bank, which now owns the project, has hired several development and design firms to work on the resort since it bought the property in a foreclosure sale in September. At the time, developers said the 3,000-room resort, including nearly 2,200 condo-hotel units, was expected to open in mid-2010.
The bank has yet to name two key roles: a casino and hotel manager. The casino manager, which could be a separate company, would need a Nevada gaming license – a process that could take up to a year – to operate the casino.
The bank recently expressed dissatisfaction with the design of the rooms underway at the resort and may redesign them.
The Denizen brand is part of a trend in the hotel industry of creating upscale, boutique brands catering to more discriminating and worldly customers.
In an interview with HotelWorld Network Tuesday, Ross Klein, Hilton Hotels' Global Head of Luxury & Lifestyle Brands, said the brand was developed with the troubled economy in mind. "Had Hilton launched at an earlier time, the company would be doing recalibrating to the concept, due to the economic situation," the publication said.
Klein told the publication that about 70 percent of the design of each Denizen-branded property will be brand-specific and about 30 percent will be unique to the location.
A Web site for Denizen Hotels uses images of clean-energy windmills to describe the proposed Las Vegas location, which would cater to the type of customer who describes himself as an "eco innovator".
"I want to feel socially responsible in my consumer choices," this prototypical customer says.
"Denizen Hotels, a lifestyle brand that will attract business and leisure travelers across cultures and generations and has an authenticity that will appeal to today’s sensibilities, will be highlighted by exceptional design and service at an accessible price point," Hilton said in a statement, adding it will be part of Hilton's luxury portfolio that includes the Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Hotels & Resorts brands.
Hilton said development negotiations are under way for Denizen resorts and destinations in key cities including Abu Dhabi; Austin, Texas; Beverly Hills and Hollywood; Buenos Aires; Cancun and Los Cabos, Mexico; Istanbul; Jerusalem; Las Vegas; London; Miami; Montreal; New York; and Washington, D.C.
Hilton is already a big player in Las Vegas with several brands including Hilton Grand Vacations, Embassy Suites, Doubletree, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inn. It also markets rooms for the Las Vegas Hilton hotel-casino.
A spokeswoman said the company had no further details on plans to bring the brand to Las Vegas.