Interview: Insider Look at CURIO

curio collection - amin and co - the luxe passport

Hyatt has Andaz, Marriott has EDITION, Starwood has the W, and Hilton now has Curio.

The circle seems complete. 

I was able to chat with Dianna Vaughan, Global Head at Curio – A Collection by Hilton, and she was kind enough to give me an insider look into what's on the horizon for this exciting new brand that has us curious.

Competing at the top end of upper upscale, Curio – A Collection by Hilton is a hand-picked global collection of unique hotels embodying the distinct culture and spirit of their local communities, while giving independent minded travelers the peace of mind that comes from the Hilton name and award-winning HHonors program.

Read below for the exclusive Q&A...

IMAGE CREDIT - SLS LAS VEGAS, Curio – A Collection by Hilton 

IMAGE CREDIT - SLS LAS VEGASCurio – A Collection by Hilton 

What are some trends and shifts you’re excited about for 2015? Any changes you're seeing in guest requirements?

In 2015, couples, families and friends are looking for the most authentic, local experiences they can find.  They’re looking for far-away destinations to check off their bucket lists, and curiously seeking those domestic locales they haven’t yet had the chance to discover. In a sense, the behavior of these travelers has a direct effect on us -- they are shaping our individual Curio hotels, and these hotels are defining the Curio collection.

How is your brand catering to millennial travelers?

The Millennial traveler’s greatest desire right now is to feel like a local[1]. Each Curio hotel is hand-picked for its distinct character and personality, appealing to passionate travelers seeking local discovery.  These hotels have a special character that can’t be duplicated. They’re part of the fabric of their cities: true locals, each embodying the spirit of their home. From a historic hotel with complimentary bicycles and a restaurant run by a two-time James Beard award-winning chef, to a casino hotel with a multi-level dance club and opulent penthouses created by design visionaries, it’s the diversity of the Curio hotels that makes the brand so unique, and also appealing to the Millennial generation.

IMAGE CREDIT - SLS LAS VEGAS, Curio – A Collection by Hilton 

IMAGE CREDIT - SLS LAS VEGASCurio – A Collection by Hilton 

In your opinion, what does it take to have to a powerful LUXE brand?

Our Curio hotels are individuals but they are unified in their ability to deliver an upper upscale, authentic and seamless experience for each of our guests. They have the fascinating ability to make travelers feel, by the time they leave, that a Curio hotel is their second home. To me, a powerful brand gives guests the ability to have an experience that stays with you – wherever you go.

How involved is the Curio brand in terms of social media engagement, any exciting campaigns for 2015?

While we are still a young brand, our focus points within social media are to grow our audiences across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, share our excitement around new hotel openings and activities, and to continue sharing the unique aspects of our existing hotels, their locations and our guests’ stories from their stays and experiences. We plan to showcase the individuality of each property with contests and in-depth storytelling throughout the year.

IMAGE CREDIT: The Highland Dallas, A Curio Collection by Hilton

IMAGE CREDIT: The Highland Dallas, A Curio Collection by Hilton

For example, we recently held a spotlight on The Highland Dallas,  A Curio Collection by Hilton, and hosted a contest to win New Year’s Eve dinner at the property’s top-rated Knife restaurant. Additionally, we are considering a Valentine's Day contest which encompasses all the unique features of a specific Curio hotel (spa, dining, etc.).

IMAGE CREDIT: Knife Dallas

IMAGE CREDIT: Knife Dallas

We believe that unique moments are fundamental to Curio hotels and we want to encourage conversation around those moments from past and future guests.

Are the hotel employees or "experience stylists", as I like to call them, involved heavily in creating the Curio brand experience?

Hotel team members at Curio properties embody the stories and personalities of the hotels themselves. Many of them are true locals who know the hotel inside and out and have worked at a property for many years.  At Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood, Curio Collection by Hilton, the hotel has more than 200 team members in what they call the “founders club.” These team members are ambassadors that helped open the hotel in 2002 and are the heart and soul of the resort. At The Franklin Hotel Chapel Hill, Curio Collection by Hilton, the hotel employees know the great area restaurants that should not be missed, and are in touch with the art and culture of downtown Chapel Hill.

If you could name one public figure who embodies the Curio brand style, who would it be, and why?

The great Frank Sinatra because of his unique style, commitment to exceptional performance and his ties to Curio hotels such as Rat Pack appearances at SLS Las Vegas, Curio Collection by Hilton and Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood, Curio Collection by Hilton.

frank sinatra - curio collection

Can you share some hotel essentials and elements that are not to miss when staying at Curio?

The best part about a Curio hotel is that guests will experience something different at each one.

A renowned boutique hotel in Dallas, The Highland Dallas, Curio Collection by Hilton offers relaxed style surrounded by some of the best of the city’s shops, restaurants and nightlife. In addition to a great outdoor heated pool and a tempting spa, The Highland offers the curious traveler its own inside-track suggestions on getting the very best out of Dallas.

Valentine's Day Offer:

The first option includes a lavish dinner for two in Chef John Tesar’s award-winning restaurant Knife, complete with personally selected wine for the occasion by our sommelier.  Following dinner, settle into a luxury king room for the evening where an extraordinary pink and black package from Agent Provocateur will be waiting for you. To make the night complete, draw a bath for a final surprise from Lafco. In the morning, enjoy late check out before calling down to valet to end the perfect evening. 

The second package offers guests the ability to settle into a luxury king room with the extraordinary pink and black package from Agent Provocateur will be waiting. From there, indulge in a lavish dinner in the privacy of your room from Chef John Tesar’s award-winning restaurant Knife, complete with personally selected wine for the occasion by our sommelier. To make the night complete, draw a bath for a final surprise from Lafco. In the morning, enjoy late check out before calling down to valet to end the perfect evening.

IMAGE CREDIT: Chef John Tesar of Knife Dallas

SLS Las Vegas, Curio Collection by Hilton is the new incarnation of the Sahara Hotel & Casino, the Vegas landmark that played host to everyone from Judy Garland and Tony Bennett to the Rat Pack. Today, SLS Las Vegas still offers a uniquely glamorous experience. We love the immense variety of cuisine and nightlife offerings in every corner of the property. Food and beverage partners include: Bazaar Meat by José Andrés; Katsuya by Starck; Cleo; Ku Noodle; Umami Burger, Beer Garden & Sports Book; 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria; The Northside Café ; The SLS Buffet and The Perq. Nightlife, bars and lounges include: LiFE, a multi-level dance club with high ceilings for aerialists and performers to integrate throughout the space; Beach LiFE, an open air rooftop pool by day and a trendy club by night; The Sayers Club; Foxtail; the Foxtail Pool Club; Monkey Bar and Center Bar.  The hotel is perfect for our curious-minded travelers.

What's on the horizon for Curio?

We are excited for the growth of the brand and expect the addition of several more hand-picked individual hotels around the globe.  We’re working on launching hotels in cities such as Houston, Texas, Portland, Ore., Sarasota, Fla., and Doha, Qatar.

We look forward to sharing the opening announcements of these properties in the near future, plus more exciting additions to Curio – A Collection by Hilton throughout the year ahead.

Every day, Curio team members have the opportunity to live out Conrad Hilton’s vision “to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality,” to enrich the lives of others.
— Dianna Vaughan, Global Head at Curio – A Collection by Hilton