Hilton Hotels Corp. launched a new luxury hotel line Tuesday called "The Waldorf=Astoria Collection" that builds on the cachet of the renowned New York hotel.

The new line from the Beverly Hills-based hotelier includes the Hilton-owned Waldorf=Astoria in New York City as well as three owned by Orlando-based real estate investment trust CNL Hotels & Resorts Inc.: Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa on Maui, Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix and La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta.

Hilton announced Tuesday that it acquired the three management contracts from La Quinta-based KSL Resorts, which currently manages the hotels. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close on Jan.31, were not disclosed.

Hilton will add to the new line by re-branding some of its existing hotels, building new hotels and by seeking out management contracts for hotels in select markets. The hotels chosen for the designation of The Waldorf=Astoria Collection will be based on architectural significance, unique decor and original artwork, historic or landmark status and a reputation for product and service excellence.

The Waldorf=Astoria Collection will debut on Jan. 31.

Hilton's move to increase its presence in the luxury market puts it on the level to compete with Starwood Hotels & Resorts' Le Meridien and St. Regis hotels, and Marriott International Inc.'s Ritz-Carlton chain. The hotel company, heavy on business travel brands, had already been actively growing its upscale segment by expanding its Conrad line under a joint venture with international arm Hilton Group PLC, which it recently agreed to acquire.

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