A prime objective of Hilton Hotels Corporation is to
maintain a standard of excellence for all its hotels which
rivals or exceeds that of the hotels when new. While they
may vary in personality from city to city, each hotel is
representative of the finest in hotel accommodations.
In 1956, $8,301,918 was spent on improvements and
modernization alone—almost twice as much as the
$4,214,431 expended in 1955. As part of a continuing
program for the comfort of guests, $4,293,000 was spent
last year on air-conditioning for Hilton and Statler hotels
in Chicago, Detroit, and New York. Work at the Palmer
House alone involved the air-conditioning of 1,230
rooms, at a cost of $1,275,000. The current program
contemplates virtually complete air-conditioning for the
few hotels still lacking complete systems.
Last year two new Imperial Suites were constructed on
the top of The Conrad Hilton. Each features a glassed-in
living room measuring 40 by 50 feet, with a fireplace,
dining area, bar, kitchen, two bedrooms, and three baths.
Master bedrooms open on terrace gardens. The suites fill
a long-standing need for luxury accommodations for
visiting guests of state.
A "Helicab" service for hotel guests and the general
public was inaugurated at The Conrad Hilton last year.
Helicopters furnish direct transportation between the
hotel's roof-top and Chicago's airports. Cruising at 90
miles per hour, the "Helicab" service has reduced airport
travel time by 90%.
An extensive improvement and modernization program was carried out at virtually all hotels during 1956.
At the Buffalo Statler, for example, eighteen projects
were completed, costing $335,000, the largest of which
was a $90,000 installation of TV equipment. At the St.
Louis Statler, a total of $68,000 was spent for new laundry equipment.
One continuing program at several older properties involves the conversion of direct current electrical wiring
to alternating current. This service, which the patron is
seldom aware of, involved an expenditure of $175,000 at
The Waldorf-Astoria and The Conrad Hilton in 1956.
Better telephone service was provided last year at The
Plaza in New York through the installation of a new
switchboard. The change, which was effected without
inconvenience to guests, cost $23,500. The Waldorf-
Astoria is presently engaged in installing a new telephone
system that will enable guests to dial direct for local calls,
long distance operators, and all service departments
within the hotel. This will vastly improve service for
guests, and effect operating economies for the hotel.
An important aspect of Hilton Hotels management involves the conversion of non-productive space into
revenue-producing facilities. This has come to be known
as "digging for gold," and is responsible for a large
measure of the Corporation's success. This formula was applied in a number of instances in 1956. At The Shamrock
Hilton in Houston, for example, a
vacated fur shop was. converted
into the Satsuma Lounge. At
Chicago's Palmer House, the old
Chicago Room is being replaced
by The Traders Restaurant, similar
in decor and operation to the widely
acclaimed and very successful
Traders at the Beverly Hilton.