Hilton inventions - Eggs Benedict, Brownies and Pina Colada
Hilton inventions - Eggs Benedict, Brownies and Pina Colada
4 min read

There’s always a special feeling when you arrive at your hotel breakfast spot and waiting for you is a delicious eggs benedict and the perfect coffee.

Or that warmth inside as you are enjoying afternoon tea in the lobby as you take a bite into that delicious brownie.

And that feeling of sipping on a piña colada gazing over the top of your knees as you spot the waves crashing in front of your resort or exclusive hotel.

Well, there’s every chance, you have found yourself in one of the 5,700 Hilton properties around the world as all of these delights were invented amongst the Hilton group.

It is suggested that in 1894, Lemuel Benedict, a Wall Street broker, who was suffering from a hangover, ordered “He ordered two poached eggs, bacon, buttered toast and a pitcher of hollandaise sauce, a rich, egg-based sauce flavoured with butter, lemon and vinegar” at the Waldorf Hotel in New York.

The New York Times suggested Lemuel’s innovation attracted the attention of Oscar Tschirky “Oscar of the Waldorf”, as the maître d’hôtel there was widely known. He promptly tested it and put the item on the menu, although Oscar’s version substituted ham for bacon and an English muffin for toast.

Oscar Tschirky via Wiki Commons (L) and the Waldorf Hotel via Wiki Commons (R) Hilton
Oscar Tschirky “Oscar of the Waldorf” via Wiki Commons (L) and the Waldorf Hotel via Wiki Commons (R)

The Piña Colada – Spanish for strained pineapple – was officially invented in 1954 by a bartender named Ramón “Monchito” Marrero at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Marrero finally settled upon the recipe for the Piña Colada, which he felt captured the true nature and essence of Puerto Rico. The hotel was presented with a proclamation in 2004 by Puerto Rico Governor Sila M. Calderón celebrating the drink’s 50th anniversary.

And the Brownie seems to be the oldest of the three, specifically created at the direction of Bertha Palmer to be served at the Columbian Exposition World’s Fair in 1893, the brownie was created in the Palmer House Kitchen in Chicago in the late 19th century another Hilton property to this day.

Now celebrating it’s 100th Anniversary, the company that was founded in the tiny town of Cisco, Texas has pioneered the travel industry for decades, introducing room service, air-conditioned lobbies, in-room televisions, airport hotels, the mini-bar, the computerized reservation system, and Connected Room – the first hotel room allowing guests to unlock their doors and control their lights, thermostat and TV with a smartphone app.

To mark the occasion, hundreds of hotels around the world, including throughout Asia Pacific, are extending Hilton hospitality beyond their doors by taking “Acts of Hospitality” to their communities – everywhere from Sydney to Shanghai and Delhi to Tokyo.

Also announced this week is the creation of The Hilton Effect Foundation, which will help create a better world to travel by investing in both organizations and people having a positive impact on the communities Hilton serves.

The Foundation is launching this week with 15 grants to organisations that will support 20 communities around the world. These initial grants will support programmes around the globe that are creating opportunities for youth, aiding in disaster recovery, and supporting water stewardship and sustainability. 

Alan Watts, area president, Asia Pacific at Hilton, said that Hilton team members have been delivering the light and warmth of hospitality in the Asia Pacific for more than half a century, displaying that same pioneering spirit that saw the company born a century ago.

“As we celebrate this remarkable milestone, it’s inspiring to see the positive impact we continue to have and the opportunity to shape the next 100 years of travel in the world’s fastest growing hospitality market,” said Mr Watts.

Christopher J. Nassetta, president and chief executive officer of Hilton
Christopher J. Nassetta, president and chief executive officer of Hilton

President and CEO of Hilton Chris Nassetta said our first century of hospitality has been tremendously meaningful, but I truly believe that now is our time.

“Hilton is as strong as it has ever been, and our potential to positively change the world grows with each hotel we open and every guest we serve,” Nassetta said.

“Our 100th year of hospitality is an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come and put a stake in the ground for our future.

“Conrad Hilton charted an ambitious course for Hilton in 1919, and I think he’d be proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.

“In my view, the world’s a better place because Hilton was born one hundred years ago, and if we do our job right, the world will be a better place because Hilton’s in it for the next one hundred years.”

And hopefully, they will continue to create more stars like the piña colada and eggs benedict to go with it.


The writer was a guest of Hilton at the 100th Anniversary celebrations at Hilton Sydney.

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