Hotel Grand Opening Caps Off Hilton College's 40th Anniversary Celebration

The Hilton University of Houston is officially open for business. On April 22, an estimated 700 guests, who included alumni, Hilton Hotel executives, industry leaders, faculty, staff, students and friends of Hilton College, celebrated the grand opening of the newly renovated hotel — the capstone of the college’s 40th anniversary celebration.

The hotel has not been updated since it was built in 1975.

“What a great addition this hotel has made to the UH campus through the years … and this is a magnificent structure,” said UH System Board of Regents Chairman Welcome W. Wilson Sr.

Mayor Annise Parker, who also attended the opening, agreed.

“The renovation is spectacular … it is something we can take great pride in as Houstonians,” she said.

The hotel has become an upscale, contemporary property as a result of a $12.5 million renovation — the property now features larger guest rooms, a refreshed exterior, redesigned, urban and luxurious interiors, a modern courtyard and more.

Attendees of the grand re-opening visited the new Hall of Honor Gallery and the Massad Family Library Research Center and Hospitality Industry Archives, which also was renovated thanks to a $1.5 million donation to the college by alumnus Nick Massad.

Visitors also viewed concepts for “hotel rooms of the future” developed by students of architecture professor Peter Zweig. Earlier in the day, the college hosted “Learning from Leaders,” a program designed especially for students to learn from and network with industry leaders from across the country.

The day was the culmination of months of hard work, and there was much to celebrate, said Dean John Bowen. “This is a true transformation — we’ve turned our old facility from a training hotel to a learning and experiential hotel,” he said. "It’s been an adventure.”

Melissa McEver