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Hilton's Super-Secret Hotel Lab Hidden Inside the LAX Garden Inn

August 27, 2008 at 2:01 PM | by | ()

Ohhhh, we love us some good top secret info: apparently, Hilton has a hidden secret lab -- so secret that it goes by a "code name." It's tucked inside a wing of the Hilton Garden Inn El Segundo, an unassuming LAX airport hotel.

Well, we suppose it's not so secret anymore since Portfolio wrote it up this week:

The secret wing, code-named University, is Hilton's "hotel laboratory," the place were the company tests and refines its next generation of rooms. A year or two from now, the ideas, concepts, and furnishings that have been tried out in El Segundo will make their way into Hilton-brand hotels around the world, including Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Homewood, Hampton Inn, and, of course, Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn

This is sort of like the much-hyped prototype "warehouse" that Starwood used to develop its Aloft brand, except the Hilton testing grounds are a bit different since HGI guests can actually stay in them overnight.

A night in the University wing is an option for any guest checking into the hotel providing you meet two criteria: they must be a Hilton HHonors Diamond V.I.P. member and the manager has to give them the green light. Otherwise, it's a regular ol' HGI room for you!

Right now, they're testing out new "urban" rooms for the Garden Inn brand:

With scaled-down furnishings, no bathtub, and a walk-in shower stall, the compact layout is destined for new properties in Europe, where Hilton Garden Inn's typical guest rooms measure 260 square feet, about a third smaller than rooms in its U.S. hotels.

Ohhh. Fancy. So, now we're dying to get in on this 'cause, among a bajillion other things, we wanna know if Hilton's planning to ramp up HGI in the same way Marriott is kicking up their comparable Courtyard. Anyone have a Hilton University wing experience to share with us? Let us know!

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