This year will see the re-launch of Tokyo's iconic Station and Palace Hotels and the opening of two new luxury resorts in Japan's tropical Okinawa islands.
Palace Hotel Tokyo - 17 May
With a moat-side location beside the Imperial Palace, Palace Hotel Tokyo has announced plans to open on 17 May, following a JPY90 billion (£750 million) investment in the mixed-used development.
The new 290-room property succeeds two previous hotels, the Hotel Teito and Palace Hotel that occupied the same site from 1947 and 1961 respectively. Like its predecessors, Palace Hotel Tokyo will preserve its independence and a distinct commitment to home-grown hospitality.
“This hotel is Japanese through and through, from its ownership and management, to its service protocols and its picture-perfect location by the Imperial Palace gardens and moats,” said Palace Hotel Tokyo President, Takashi Kobayashi. “For domestic and international travellers alike, whether they’re with us for business or leisure, we hope they will walk away saying, ‘To have stayed at Palace Hotel Tokyo is to have experienced the very essence of Japanese hospitality.”
In preparation for its 17 May grand opening, Palace Hotel Tokyo has secured a spot in the Leading Hotels of the World portfolio.
The hotel’s most anticipated attributes include:
* evian® SPA TOKYO. Only the second evian® SPA outside of France.
* Michelin Stars. The hotel is aiming for a constellation of Michelin-star restaurants. The French restaurant, Crown opens as a collaboration with Patrick Henriroux, who runs two-star La Pyramide in Vienne, France. Within the hotel’s Japanese restaurant, Wadakura, the sushi operation will be managed by Shinji Kanesaka, who also owns the landmark, two-star Sushi Kanesaka in Ginza. And the Chinese restaurant, Amber Palace, will be operated by the Chugoku Hanten Group, which also operates Tokyo’s two-star Fureika.
The city’s landmark Tokyo Station is within easy walking distance of the hotel. For more information visit or to make a reservation, please visit www.palacehoteltokyo.com.
The Tokyo Station Hotel - October 2012
One of Tokyo's historic hotels will be reopening its doors on 3rd October 2012. The Tokyo Station Hotel is in a historic brick Gothic building that was originally built in 1914 and is listed as an Important Cultural Property of Japan. Due to extensive restoration work undertaken on the Marunouchi side of Tokyo Station, operation of The Tokyo Station Hotel ceased in 2006. After years of renovation under a grand restoration project of its Renaissance style architecture it is now almost ready to reopen.
With a very European style, the building represents Japan's social and cultural globalization and modernization period in the early 21st century. The hotel occupies the third floor with domed ceilings and English style décor that combines European classicism and modernism. The Tokyo Station Hotel will have a timeless elegance with turn of the century décor and 21st century hospitality. The western window has the Imperial Palace in the distance and it is literally just steps away the transport hub of Tokyo station, making it extremely convenient for transfers to the airport or onward by bullet train to the ancient capitol of Kyoto.
The Tokyo Station Hotel will have 150 guest rooms (86 twin bed rooms and 64 double bed rooms), fitness and spa facilities, three banquet rooms, two bars, a lounge and French, Japanese and Chinese restaurants.
The hotel’s grand opening will be on 3 October 2012 and it is now accepting reservations for weddings and banquets. www.tokyostationhotel.jp
HOSHINOYA Okinawa –June 2012
Luxury Japanese hotel developer Hoshinoya will open its first seaside property in Japan's beach paradise of Okinawa in summer 2012. Along with their signature concept of "Authentic Japan with modern comfort," HOSHINOYA Okinawa welcomes guests with Okinawa's relaxing and rich tropical atmosphere. The 16 acre property consists of 48 traditional red-tile-roofed villas with private gardens and white coral sand paths. The resorts oval shaped swimming pool represents traditional wells that have provided the water of life to the island's people. Located on the remote island of Taketomi, HOSHINOYA Okinawa is a private paradise offering an introduction to the rich culture and breathtaking nature of Japan’s little-known Okinawa islands. www.hoshinoyataketomijima.com.
Hoshino Resort KAI - Now Open
Hoshino Resorts has also started “KAI”, a new brand for a series of fine ryokans (traditional Japanese style inn) with natural hot springs. With 4 historic ryokan properties in Tsugaru, Matsumoto, Izumo and Aso, Hoshino Resorts KAI offers authentic ryokan experience with modest yet exceptional hot springs and truly local culinary experience. At KAI properties, Hoshino Resorts guarantees compact and high-quality environment, the fundamental relaxation of hot springs and traditional ryokan hospitality, staff members are as detailed as butlers, and the KAI properties introduce each guest to regional uniqueness and culture. Hoshino Resorts is acquiring more properties into the KAI series in 2012 and years to come. kai-ryokan.jp
Okinawa Ritz Carlton –April 2012
Another new sanctuary opening in Japan’s tropical islands is The Ritz-Carlton, Okinawa. This stunning resort hotel will offer 97 luxurious guest rooms with excellent views over a golf course down to the East China Sea, the Motobu Peninsula and beyond to Ie Island. The Ritz-Carlton, Okinawa will be situated within the premises of the Kise Country Club and surrounded on three sides by its 18-hole Championship course overlooking the ocean. The Kise Country Club is bordered by undeveloped wooded land adding to the beautiful setting and location of the resort.
Simon Cooper, president and managing director of Marriott International in Asia, said: “We are delighted to be signing not just our first resort in Japan. This hotel will be the perfect opportunity to showcase a different side of The Ritz-Carlton brand to our loyal Japanese and international guests in the country who will be more familiar with our leading city centre hotels in Tokyo and Osaka.”
The hotel will replace the existing Kise Bettei Hotel & SPA after an extensive renovation of more than 1 billion yen. The new look interiors will be created by ILYA Corporation and the concept of the new hotel will be a combination of The Ritz-Carlton style with the local Okinawan culture to create something subtle and tranquil, yet truly luxurious.
The newly renovated hotel will feature three destination dining outlets, as well as a lounge and bar, an ESPA spa and full leisure facilities including a pool and gym.
Okinawa is the most popular tropical resort in Japan with more than 5.7 million visitors to the region last year and The Ritz-Carlton, Okinawa is expected to set new levels of excellence when it opens in April.
Toyoko Inn Group Continues to Grow in 2012
Toyoko Inn’s fundamental concept is “a modern Japanese inn” aiming to offer relaxing comfortable and clean rooms at reasonable rates. With hotels throughout Japan, from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south, it is possible to travel the length of Japan just staying in Toyoko Inns! The group continues to grow in 2012. On 30 January, Toyoko Inn Tokyo Akiba Asakusabashi-eki Higashi-guchi opened in Tokyo with rooms from just 5,950 yen (£49). On 27 March, Toyoko Inn Tokyo Shinagawa-eki Konan-guchi Tennozu will open with rooms from 5,980 yen (£49) and Toyoko Inn Tokyo Tachikawa-eki Kitaguchi is scheduled to open on 17 April with rooms from 5,450 yen (£45). Please click here for the full list of Toyoko Inns in Japan.
Other Hotel Openings in 2012
It’s common in Japan for hotels to not launch the English-language versions of their websites until soon after they open. Here we’ll list some other new hotels opening in Japan this year with their Japanese websites and let you know their English-language URL’s once they become available:
* Via Inn Shinjuku –opening in Tokyo on 8 February 2012
* Domy-Inn Premium Shibuya Jingumae – opening in Tokyo in April 2012
* Rihga Royal Grand Okinawa – opening in Naha, Okinawa in June 2012
* Fresa Inn Ningyocho – opening in Tokyo in November 2012
One you might have missed in late 2011...
THE Kyoto Royal Park Hotel
The Royal Park Hotel Group opened Royal Park Hotel THE Kyoto on 8 October 2011, along with another "THE Series" property in Fukuoka that was opened in July 2011. THE Series aims to provide the most knowledgeable concierges and interiors that present local cultural elements for an utmost relaxing stay. For their Kyoto location the hotel chose the heart of the cultural centre of Kyoto, surrounded by the famous Gion district where traditional geisha dancers stroll, and historic cobble stone alleys with hidden restaurants. Find contemporary luxury mixed into the historic city of Kyoto.