Hilton converts former chocolate factory into 74-room boutique hotel

The hospitality industry has changed quite a bit in recent years to accommodate millennials, the generation that has now become the most influential in the hotel industry.

Whereas the previously dominant Baby Boomer generation once valued consistency and physical luxury in hotels, experts say that millennials prefer a higher quality of experiences. They are, in simple terms, always on the lookout


for a hospitality industry that will be unique, one that will be memorable and comfortable, but also pop on their Instagram accounts. This has led to many established hotel brands repurposing properties rather than building them from the ground up, and Hilton is no exception.

Hilton converts former chocolate factory

This ethos is perhaps blatantly evident in one of Hilton’s newest projects.

The American state of Pennsylvania has long been home to internationally-famous chocolate manufacturers, including Hershey’s, which is arguably the industry standard. In creating a new hotel project in Lititz, Pennsylvania, Hilton has decided to build on a site that once housed the now-closed Wilbur Chocolate Company plant.

To put this in perspective, Lititz is a small town of fewer than 10,000 people. It is located in rural Pennsylvania, due west of Philadelphia but not within that city’s metro area. For many years, the Wilbur Chocolate Company plant was a key part of its economy.

Hilton’s newest hotel

Hilton’s newest hotel project will be the crown jewel of Lititz hospitality, of course. It is a 74-room project that will be part of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection, and it is currently set to open in April 2019.

The developer on the project, Oak Tree Development Group, has praised the location saying its collaboration there with Hilton will allow for an adaptive reuse of the formerly significant building and site.

Leadership for the project has also told local media that the new hotel will be anything but cookie-cutter. This creation of a new aesthetic that is in keeping with the traditional values and history of the community is becoming a wide-spread tactic for marketing to millennial travelers.

Developers have also said that the hotel will provide a boost for the economy in Lititz, as well as for all nearby businesses.

Hilton’s Tapestry Collection

Hilton first debuted its Tapestry Collection roughly a year ago. It is the company’s 14th overall brand, and it is positioned in the upscale market, just below Curio—A collection by Hilton. The latter brand has seen great success since it first launched back in 2014, and the company expects that Tapestry Collection will thrive in the same way.

Tapestry Collection in Lititz

This new hotel in Lititz will be named The Wilbur. This is to pay its respects to the building’s long history, which actually dates back to the year 1900.

This is in keeping with Hilton’s other Tapestry Collection locations, each of which seeks to offer guests a “special experience in a boutique hotel that has a unique history or story and is special in its décor and amenities,” according to the company.

Every location within the brand is unique. The Wilbur in Lititz will embrace its roots in the same way other Tapestry Collection hotels have, with examples including a jazz-themed property in New Orleans as well as hotels laced with southern chard in Georgia and North Carolina.

While appealing to millennials by embracing history, the hotel will also have the amenities that guests have come to expect from the Hilton brand name, including a bistro restaurant, meeting rooms, a fitness center, a business center, a two-deck parking lot with valet, and rooms that will feature views of Lititz Springs Park.


Photo: Wilbur Chocolate Factory