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The hottest hotel for elites at the World Economic Forum costs around $120 a night in the states

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert   

The hottest hotel for elites at the World Economic Forum costs around $120 a night in the states
  • Elite executives visited Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum last week.
  • The hottest hotel for even the most high-powered attendees was a budget chain: the Hilton Garden Inn.

751 locations at an average of roughly $120 a night isn't exactly exclusive among hotel chains, but in Davos over the last week, elite executives visiting the World Economic Forum clamored for a room at the Hilton Garden Inn.

The Wall Street Journal reported A-listers visiting Switzerland for the conference — including Bridgewater hedge-fund investor Ray Dalio, former President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice — stayed at the budget Hilton chain this year as they attended events for the upper echelons of business, finance, and tech.

The Hilton Garden Inn chain, with locations near most major airports, offers an accessible version of the luxury the hotel giant is known for with their properties like Waldorf Astoria Resorts or Conrad Hotels. Hilton Garden Inns feature more double-bed rooms than grand suites, a traditional buffet breakfast, and a dinner service that one visitor to the Davos location described in a Google review as "a bit bland and simple."

But while the World Economic Forum is in town — this year featuring extensive discussion about the future of AI — the budget chain is a hot spot for some of the ultrawealthy who'd usually be more likely spotted at a Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons.

Stanley Bergman, the CEO of the medical device supplier Henry Schein, who has stayed at the hotel annually since 2016, had to leverage his connections at the hotel to snag two tables at the lobby restaurant due to limited space, The Journal reported.

"If you really know the right people you can get a customized egg," Berman told the outlet in an apparent quip about the available amenities being so limited that even a breakfast order isn't made to preference.

Representatives for Hilton did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

More luxurious accommodations for the World Economic Forum, such as the Grandhotel Belvédère are limited, and due to the popularity of the conference, rooms there run at least 50% more than the typical non-WEF price tag of $325 to $670 a night.

Davos, Switzerland, has a population of just over 11,000, meaning the 3,000 attendees to the World Economic Forum easily overrun the hotels in town. Though a tourism site for Davos shows 80 hotels in the tourism-driven region, only a few are located within the WEF security zone, which authorities set up to prevent unauthorized guests from entering.

In preparation for the event, a major driver of annual revenue, the Grandhotel Belvédère increased its staffing by roughly 150%. While it remains unclear if the Hilton Garden Inn also hired more staff to cover the weeklong event this year, The Guardian reported in years past on the "army of staff" that descends upon Davos to cater to the visiting elite.

And even being among the celebrities and politicians in attendance can't grant you easy access if you manage to snag a room inside: Business Insider reported that high-profile attendees waited up to an hour to enter the Grandhotel Belvédère due to enhanced security measures.

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