A $30.4 million project to expand and renovate the Hilton University of Houston, the teaching hotel for students at UH’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, has been approved by the University of Houston System Board of Regents. The project is financed through a revenue bond issued by the UH System, which will be repaid with additional revenue generated by the hotel.
Preliminary design plans include the addition of a five-story tower consisting of 71 guest rooms above the south wing, increasing the hotel’s total number of rooms to 151. Six suites on the second floor will be removed to create much-needed executive meeting space. The hotel’s existing 80 guest rooms in its north wing will be renovated, along with its lobby and public spaces. The adjacent courtyard between the north, south and west wings will also be renovated.
Hilton College is the only hospitality program in the world where students work and take classes in an internationally branded, full-service hotel – 70 percent of hotel team members are students.
“This expansion is our future. The constraint of having only 86 rooms has made us an anomaly in the marketplace, but we are, in fact, a full-service Hilton franchisee,” said Dennis Reynolds, dean of Hilton College. “Our new 151-room hotel will provide for a more realistic learning experience for our students because we will be operating in a manner more typical of a full-service non-teaching hotel.”
The expanded hotel will also allow for better service of business clients – including the University of Houston – with increased meeting and event spaces. The hotel will now have the capacity to accommodate overnight stays for large parties who come for weddings and conferences.
Dean Reynolds is leading a committee to select the architect and contractor. Once a final decision is made, construction is expected to begin within 18 months, with projected completion of the hotel tower and renovations in late 2022 through early 2023.
Hilton College was founded by hotel icon Conrad N. Hilton and is consistently ranked among the top hospitality programs in the world. The project approval coincides with the 50th anniversary of the college and the 100th anniversary of Hilton.