Hilton adds in Europe, east and west


NEW YORK -- Europe's a hospitable place for Hilton International this year, as the hotel giant announces new moves in France and Poland.

The chain was tapped to manage the former Sofitel CNIT hotel -- now Hilton's seventh property in France -- located in the heart of Paris' La Defense business district.

The four-star Hilton Paris La Defense, which offers 147 rooms, six suites, seven meetings rooms and two restaurants, will undergo a six-month refurbishment program set to begin this November.

Hilton plans to implement its Hilton Meetings meeting-and-conference solution and Relaxation Rooms concept at the property, said officials.

Nearly half the rooms at Hilton Paris La Defense will reflect the latter concept, which divides rooms into "three separate zones, blending work and relaxation," according to the company.

Hilton's other French properties include the Hilton Paris, the Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, the Hilton Paris Orly Airport and hotels in Strasbourg, Lyon and Cannes.

Farther east, the chain will make its first foray into Poland's burgeoning hospitality market when the new Hilton Warsaw & Convention Center opens in the western Mirow district here by the end of 2004.

The 320-room property will comprise part of a mixed-use development that also will include a 984,000-square-foot convention hall, office and commercial space, and a health and leisure center.

In a statement, Hilton chief executive Anthony Harris said he expects the hotel "to benefit substantially from meetings and conference business."

The chain's other central European properties include hotels in Prague, Czech Republic, and Budapest, Hungary.

In a related development, the Scandic Hotels chain -- acquired by Hilton International in 1999 -- joined the Hilton HHonors reward program.

Guests at Scandic's 140 hotels in nine countries, concentrated in but not limited to Scandinavia, now can earn HHonors points for qualifying stays and redeem them for rewards in hotels worldwide.

For more information, visit www.hilton.com.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI