Hilton Hotels, one of the world's largest lodging firms, said yesterday that it is moving its corporate headquarters -- and several hundred jobs -- to the DC region this year, parking itself squarely in the back yard of a major competitor, Marriott International.

The announcement, which surprised industry executives, comes less than two years after the Blackstone Group bought the Beverly Hills, Calif., hotel chain for $26bn and later named Christopher Nassetta chief executive. Nassetta, who grew up in Arlington County, had been chief executive of Host Hotels & Resorts, based in Bethesda.

Industry executives said Hilton's plans tip the Washington region over the edge, making it the centre of the world's hospitality business.

Washington Post