By Terry Trucco
He famously dubbed the Waldorf-Astoria “the greatest of them all,” and declared it his life’s ambition to add it to his collection. Mission accomplished. In 1949 Conrad Hilton took over management of the Art Deco showpiece and in 1972 he purchased it, five years before his death at a ripe old 91.
So how would Hilton feel about this week’s sale of Hilton Worldwide’s crown jewel to a Chinese insurance company for $1.95 billion?
“He would be ecstatic,” says Mark Young, director of the Hotel Industry Archives at the University of Houston, home to the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. “He called the Waldorf the greatest, but for the right price, I believe he would be willing to sell it.”