Hilton Hotels Corp. announced the launch of The Waldorf-Astoria Collection, a new luxury brand that will build on the reputation of the storied New York hotel.

Launching next month with cobranded properties in Maui, Phoenix and La Quinta, Calif., Hilton president and COO Matt Hart today said the hotels-the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa and the La Quinta Resort & Club-will maintain their names, "while adding The Waldorf-Astoria Collection designation as a mark of their exclusivity."

Hart said Hilton is working to expand the new brand by cobranding existing luxury or boutique hotels and converting high-end Hilton and Conrad properties, as well as through new builds.

Noting that Hilton did not want to be "limited by geography," Hart said the Waldorf initiative was a good fit with Hilton's recent announcement that it is realigning with its U.K.-based namesake through a recently announced purchasing agreement expected to close in late February or early March. "The Hilton International deal is opening up the rest of the world to our brand," Hart said.

Hilton said properties in The Waldorf-Astoria Collection will offer to customers the same support and technologies as other brands, including its guest rewards program, reservation systems and worldwide sales and marketing programs.