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Ultraluxury Resort Boom in Japan

Alan Woinski
October 30th, 2023 at 7:40 AM EDT

Skift Take

  • Asian ultraluxury resort companies are expanding into Japan to cater to wealthy overseas travelers and take advantage of the weak yen, with Soneva Holdings planning to open resorts in Japan by 2027 and investing 100 billion yen in new properties.
  • Foreign investment in Japanese hotels increased significantly in recent years, with 2022 seeing a sixfold increase compared to the previous year, and an expected total of 128.5 billion yen in investments in the first six months of the current year.
  • International hotel brands like InterContinental, Wyndham, Marriott, Hyatt, and Accor are actively expanding their presence in various regions, including India, Vietnam, China, Thailand, and Australia, offering a diverse range of accommodations and amenities.

Nikkei Asia published an article on how Asian ultraluxury resort companies are expanding into Japan to tap demand from wealthy overseas travelers and to take advantage of the weak yen. The article mentioned Soneva Holdings planning to open resorts in Japan as early as 2027, already signing a contract to purchase a remote island in Okinawa prefecture with plans to acquire land in Myoko, Niigata prefecture, in central Japan. The article said Soneva sees an opening in the market as there are few ultraluxury villa resorts that offer the privacy that wealthy customers prefer. The company is also interested in traditional Japanese inns. Soneva will invest 100 billion yen overall in the next five years to develop new properties. Jones Lang LaSalle said investment by foreign companies in hotels in Japan totaled 162.5 billion yen in 2022, up sixfold from the year before and 90% of 2019 levels. They expect this year to beat that number with investments reaching 128.5 billion yen in the first six months. Japan’s Oraga Research Institute expects 17 foreign luxury hotels with 3,765 rooms in total to open in Japan this year. Nomura Research Institute Thailand said projects in Japan are seen as being cheaper than in other countries, including both land and buildings and infrastructure like water, electricity, and transportation. Asian capital is also entering the market in partnership with Japanese companies with the article referencing Rosewood Hotels & Resorts opening a resort on the Okinawan island of Miyakojima next year, signing a contract to manage the Mitsubishi Estate-owned property. The Japanese government approved a plan for fiscal year 2023 to 2025 for promoting nationwide tourism. It remains to be seen if all this interest results in overbuilding in some areas like some of the concerns are already.

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and DS Group announced the grand unveiling of InterContinental Jaipur Tonk Road following a transformation from Crowne Plaza to the InterContinental brand. The renovations resulted in the third InterContinental in India, located near the airport and Delhi-Mumbai Expressway.

M/S Saryu Ratna Hotel & Resort announced the signing of a franchise agreement with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts for a new hotel development at Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh – India under the midscale lifestyle Ramada Encore by Wyndham brand. Expected to open in 2026, the hotel will have a modern design and feature 62 contemporary rooms and a host of amenities, including a lobby lounge, all-day dining restaurant and bar, health club, spa, a rooftop swimming pool, a large banquet hall, meeting rooms and a business center.

Marriott International followed up their recent government meetings in Vietnam with the announcement of the signing of agreements to operate three new luxury resorts in the country. The signings mark the expected debut of two new brands into VietnamRitz-Carlton Reserve and The Luxury Collection on the tropical paradise of Hon Thom Island in Phu Quoc. Marriott also announced Vietnam’s third JW Marriott Hotel set for Trang An, the serene UNESCO World Heritage destination in northern Vietnam. The JW is expected to open in 2028, developed by BITEXCO Group which also owns the JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi. The luxury retreat is planned to have 150 rooms and suites plus a collection of 35 one and two bedroom villas with options for private pools. Plans include two restaurants and two bars, a café and lobby lounge, two pool zones, Spa by JW, a fitness center and 850 square meters of event space. The Luxury Collection Resort, Hon Thon Island is owned by the Sun Group and is slated to open in 2029 on the northwest coast of Hon Thom Island. There will be 305 rooms and suites, two pool areas, a kid’s club, activity center, fitness center, and a spa with seven treatment rooms, whirlpools, saunas and steam rooms. Six restaurants and bars, and 1,690 square meters of event space rounds out the planned amenities. The Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Hon Thom Island is anticipated to open in 2028 with 40 pool villas. Plans include two resort pools, a spa, salon, fitness center, three restaurants, three bars and a 300 square meter event space. The resort is also owned by Sun Group.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced the opening of Hyatt Regency Changshu Kuncheng Lake, one of the highest hotels in Changshu and the first international hotel brand there. The hotel is located just a one hour drive from Suzhou, Wuxi, and Shanghai, designed as a modern reflection of Yushan Mountain’s cultural heritage infused with Bosideng’s dynamic spirit of creativity and innovation. The Hyatt Regency property offers 289 guestrooms and suites ranging from 430 square feet to 1,722 square feet. The hotel offers two bedroom suites and the Presidential Suite on the 33rd floor. The 36th to 38th floors include the hotel’s four distinct dining venues. Other amenities include a 24 hour fitness center, an indoor swimming pool and over 25,994 square feet of versatile MICE space.

Hang Lung Properties announced the pre-sale of its first hotel-branded project, Grand Hyatt Residences Kunming under its premium serviced residences brand, Hung Lung Residences. Grand Hyatt Residences Kunming in China seamlessly connects to Spring City 66 and is a collaborative effort between Hang Lung and Hyatt. The Residences is located in Panlong District, the central business and commercial hub of Kunming. The Residences sit above the 332 room Grand Hyatt Kunming hotel, occupying the 28th to 57th floors of the 249-meter tall building and houses 254 apartments.

The Regent Hong Kong will finally reopen on November 8th. The all-new Regent Hong Kong includes 497 rooms, 129 suites and a new 3,500 square foot duplex Presidential Suite. The hotel’s latest addition is Personal Haven, a personalized space available across the hotel where guests can enjoy the comfort of a window-front daybed and an oasis-like bathroom, complete with stunning views of Victoria Harbour. Other facilities include the Pool Terrace, Fitness Club, Regent Club and Regent Ballroom. The hotel is Tsim Sha Tsui also offers a selection of dining options including Lai Ching Heen, The Steak House, Harbourside, Nobu, and Qura and The LobbyLounge.

Accor announced its first property under the Handwritten Collection brand in Thailand: Andaman Beach Hotel Phuket – Handwritten Collection. The hotel is located just 250 meters from the beach in one of Phuket’s most vibrant neighborhoods – Patong. The hotel has 157 rooms, each featuring a balcony offering views of the Andaman Sea or swimming pool area. There is a diverse offering a culinary and bar experiences and more.

Patong, Thailand was the location of the grand opening of the M Social Phuket. The hotel is located just steps from Patong Beach, surrounded by trendy bars, shops and restaurants. The hotel includes 418 Social Rooms and Suites with Phuket’s first AI voice-controlled assistant in all rooms. There are two restaurants and two pool bars and the Rhythm Ballroom for all events. M Social Phuket is the sixth M Social hotel globally and Millennium Hotels & Resorts inaugural hotel in Thailand.

TFE Hotels has commenced construction on the Hannah St. Hotel located on Melbourne’s Southbank. The $150 million hotel will house 188 rooms across 10 levels of the 62-story Queensbridge Building, Melbourne, Australia’s newest residential tower near the Crown complex. The hotel will feature its own neighborhood bar, restaurant, and terrace and offer guests exclusive access to the Queensbridge Building facilities with a rooftop lap pool and coworking spaces. The hotel is under construction and is scheduled to open in September 2025.

Alan Woinski
October 30th, 2023 at 7:40 AM EDT

Companies: Accor, Crowne Plaza, Handwritten Collection, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Residence Club, IHG Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, M Social, Marriott International, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Ramada, Regent, Ritz-Carlton, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, TFE Hotels, The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Locations: Changshu, Delhi, Hong Kong, Jaipur, Japan, Kunming, Melbourne, Okinawa, Pho Quoc, Phuket, Shanghai, Uttar Pradesh

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