Hilton Hotels is a international chain of full-service hotels and resorts founded by Conrad Hilton and now owned by the Hilton Hotels Corporation. Hilton Hotels are either owned, managed, or franchised to independent operators by the Hilton Hotels Corporation. As of 2008 there are 533 Hilton branded hotels across the world. Hilton Hotels became the first coast-to-coast hotel chain of the United States in 1943. The original price for an overnight stay in 1943 was around $20. The company places marketing emphasis on business travel, but owns and operates a number of resorts and leisure-oriented hotels as well. The company's Hilton Honors guest loyalty program has partnerships with airlines and car rental companies.
The Hilton brand was re-united internationally after more than 40 years in February 2006, when United States-based Hilton Hotels Corporation purchased the lodging arm of United Kingdom-based Hilton Group PLC, which had acquired Hilton's international operations in 1987 (the companies had been severed originally in 1966).
In 1954 Hilton hotels bought the Statler Hotel chain, making it the largest hospitality company in the world.
The Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago was scene of the 1968 Democratic Convention riots that occurred across the street in Grant Park. The hotels doors were locked for the first time in its history. The hotel still suffered minor damage as a result of the violence outside as the street level windows gave way under the weight of hundreds of protesters on the street during the ensuing riot.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their first Bed-In for Peace between March 25, 1969 and March 31, 1969 at the Amsterdam Hilton in Room 702. This room became a popular tourist destination.
This Amsterdam Hilton hotel was also the location where in 1991 Dutch drugs kingpin Klaas Bruinsma, once the No. 1 drugsdealer of Europe, was assassinated in front of (the Hilton's bar was a favorite gathering place for Amsterdam underworld figures during the 1980s) and where Dutch artist Herman Brood committed suicide on July 11, 2001, by jumping from the roof. One of his favourite bars was located in this hotel, only a walking distance from his home.