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BEVERLY HILLS, CA-Hilton Hotels Corp. plans to form three development alliances to introduce more than 15 new hotels in the Caribbean and Central America, 25 in Russia and at least 15 in the UK over the next five years. The company has agreed to work with New York-based Caribbean Property Group for development within Central America and the Caribbean; London & Regional Properties Limited in Russia and Shiva Hotels Ltd. in the UK and Ireland.

These alliances are part of a strategy that Hilton has outlined to sign large deals with major investors to reach its goal of at least 1,000 hotels outside of North America over the next 10 years, according to Matthew J. Hart, president and chief operating officer of Hilton. The Beverly Hills-based chain is already doing business with Caribbean Property Group, which recently signed management agreements with Hilton for two existing full-service hotels in Costa Rica that are owned by a joint venture in which CPG holds an 85% interest.

The CPG hotels in Costa Rica, which are undergoing major renovations, will be rebranded and reopened in the first quarter of 2008 as the Hilton Papagayo and the Doubletree by Hilton Puntarenas, in Guanacaste and Puntarenas, respectively. Initially, other targeted markets in the deal that was announced today include major cities and destinations in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad.

According to Gregory Rockett, the Miami-based vice president of development for Latin America and the Caribbean for Hilton Hotels, the firm’s focus will be on bringing its focused-service brands, such as Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites, to the region. That’s because, he says, those areas already have a decent number of full-service Hiltons.

In Russia, however, the emphasis will be on building up the core full-service offering first, Rockett says. For the UK and Ireland, Hilton plans to open Hiltons, Doubletrees, Hilton Garden Inns and Hampton Inns.

Rockett says that these deals are an outgrowth of the merger between Hilton Hotels Corp. and Hilton International that took place last year. “It took a year for the two companies to integrate,” Rockett says. “The strategy [behind the merger] was to expand globally, and now we’re seeing the fruits of that focus.”

In planting its flag worldwide, Rockett says Hilton’s plan is to partner with development entities that can do several deals at one time. “We want to create relationships that create multiple units,” he says.

In these deals, Hilton will act as the manager, not an investor, Rockett says. It will be up the development partners to pick the sites and advance the projects, he says.

Hilton sees Russia as “an outstanding market in which to pursue hotel development, given the powerful combination of improving economics and favorable demographics,” according to Ian Carter, chief executive of Hilton’s international operations. “There is almost a total absence of internationally branded properties throughout the regional cities of Russia, Carter says.

The development focus in Russia will be in Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as key regional cities. The first hotel expected to be included in the deal will be in the center of Novosibirsk, Russia’s third largest city, where L&R is already developing a mixed-use hotel and office project that features a 186-room Doubletree by Hilton. The hotel is expected to open in the second quarter of 2008.

In the UK and Ireland, Hilton will enter into a preferred development alliance with Shiva Hotels. Shiva, a privately owned company, is looking to expand its existing interests in the hotel sector and has four hotel sites under development that are expected to be included in the agreement with Hilton. The four sites under development are a 350-room Hilton near Heathrow Terminal 5, a 200-room Hilton and a 120-room Hampton Inn by Hilton in Leeds and a 120-room Hampton by Hilton in Derby.

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