UH Hilton renovations offer new experiences for students, visitors
The Conrad N. Hilton College of Global Hospitality and Leadership opened its new hotel tower expansion in March. The renovations are meant to give the building a modern look and space for events while enhancing opportunities for students, according to school officials.
After three years, the over $30 million project was officially completed. The 54,000-square-foot, eight-story tower is equipped with 70 new rooms, amenities and panoramic views of the city.
However, the project represents more than a simple renovation but more opportunity for hospitality students to learn the trade.
“A lot of Hilton students work there, so more jobs for them, more teaching and more revenue because there are more rooms, and now you can sell them at a higher rate,” Hilton College senior Britney Moreno said.“ I have very high expectations for the building because it has a lot of potential.”
Students agreed that the Hilton always had the proper space to hold meetings, but now the expansion will provide more rooms for guests to stay, which will lead to more business opportunities, according to Moreno.
Juan M. Madera, a professor at the Hilton College, said the upgrade was meant to enhance the Hilton experience and continue to provide a top-tier hospitality facility for students.
“The Hilton College of Global Hospitality and Leadership is the only academic program of hospitality in the world where students work and take classes in a renowned and global hotel,” Madera said. “The expansion will offer the best reunions and events, as well as a more realistic environment for students.”
Funding also included complete renovations to the hotel’s original rooms, lobby, public space and patio, according to Madera.
At the ribbon ceremony, dean of the Hilton College Dennis Reynolds described this as a new era of hospitality and celebrated by unveiling a “time capsule” for students and alumni to share their favorite memory of the college, which they plan to open in 2069.
“It’s been touching to see alumni drop stuff off to put in the time capsule,” Reynolds said. “I probably won’t be around in 2069, but I can just envision what the students are doing when they open it. It’s very exciting.”
Reynolds said the original idea of the tower expansion was credited to an alumnus and was first conceived in 2005.
President Renu Khator also spoke at the ceremony and described how the new building would benefit students. For Khator, the new building represents the University’s commitment to advancing the needs of its students.
“It will change the way we train our students and it will expand opportunities for them,” Khator said. “We have to do what’s right for the students. And hopefully, this building will help us bring our dreams to fruition.”
Leonard Gooz serves as the Global brand head of Hilton Hotels and Resorts and said the city of Houston is a big part of the Conrad N. Hilton legacy. Gooz stayed at UH’s brand-new hotel tower and shared his thoughts on the updated rooms.
“They’re absolutely incredible. It has a great food and beverage experience, a place for meetings and events,” Gooz said. “All of this is powered through incredible hospitality, which I had a chance to experience over the past 24 hours.”