Hilton Garden Inn is the slightly simpler version of the name-giving Hilton brand of hotels – similar to a Courtyard Hotel compared to a Marriott, you get a little less and you pay a little less, targeting one of the fastest growing hotel marketing segment over the last few years. With 700 Hilton Garden Inns worldwide, it is the second largest brand in the Hilton family, with more properties than the Hilton Brand itself! Is it worth to take the step down to save a little money? Find out what experience you can expect and if it is worth trying out!
So, who are they? The first Hilton Garden Inn (HGI) opened in 1996 in the United States and there are now 717 HGI properties in 30 countries around the world:
Hilton describes the brand as “award-winning, upscale, yet affordable hotel brand that enables travelers to discover and connect while on the road. With more than 686 locations worldwide, inviting social spaces, and high-end amenities, we ensure you’ll have a great stay at an even greater value. At Hilton Garden Inn, we promise to do whatever it takes to ensure you’re satisfied, or you don’t pay. You can count on us. GUARANTEED™.”
and the hotels as
“Hilton Garden Inn has a full-service restaurant and bar, offering cooked-to-order breakfast, dinner room service, and a full bar to unwind at the end of a busy day. With state-of-the-art fitness centers for stress-busting workouts, 24/7 Business Centers featuring complimentary printing and Wi-Fi, everything we do, we do for you.”
That’s a fair description of the brand as well as the hotels, although the “upscale” part is a bit of a stretch.
What experience to expect? Hilton Garden Inns are select-service, mid-scale hotels with an Average Daily Rate (ADR) of $133/night. They are a step down from the upscale, full-service Hilton (ADR $167) or Doubletree (ADR $136) brands, but positioned above the Hampton brand (ADR $121). You can expect a restaurant and room service, as well as a business center and a fitness center at their properties. But you might not find a concierge service or bell boys waiting for you. The hotels are also smaller, ranging usually from 100-250 rooms. This puts them in competition with the Courtyard or aloft brands of the Marriott Group.
One of the good news about HGI is that typically, the properties are newly built and not converted from older properties. So, especially abroad, you’ll find new hotels with contemporary designs and features. It also ensures greater consistency across different properties, providing a more reliable experience.
At the same time Hilton Garden Inn does not have as strict a “template”, so the layout, design and decor can be adjusted to the regional or local needs. This puts HGI somewhere between very standardized brands like Accor’s ibis or some Marriott brands and “free-for-all” conversion brands like Hilton’s Doubletree. I do appreciate some consistency when choosing a hotel – otherwise, I’d rather book an independent hotel without the brand-overhead at a lower price!
I found Hilton Garden Inn’s, especially in Asia, to be quite contemporary, and I like the select service hotels like HGI, because I don’t have to pay for services I never use anyway. They offer all the things I frequently want, like a hot breakfast, a fitness center to work off said breakfast or a business center to print boarding passes or documents. On the other hand, I don’t recall the last time I required a bell boy for my luggage or a concierge, or shopped at a hotel giftshop!
Hilton Garden Inn participates in the Hilton HHonors Rewards Program, giving you a chance to earn and redeem points at thousands of hotels and through various partners and credit cards.
If you can live with the select service model, Hilton Garden Inn offers a good alternative to higher-end brands or independent hotels with focused service offerings at a good price. The differences to competing brands like Courtyard are small, so your reward program loyalty can make the difference!
Check out my review of the Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport to get a better idea of the rooms, amenities and service you can expect