Ace Hotel to open hotel in Kyoto’s historic Shinpukan building

Ace Hotel, a boutique hotel chain headquartered in Portland, is making its first foray in the Asian market with the opening of a hotel in Kyoto next year. The 213-room Ace Hotel Kyoto will be the main part of the historic Shinpukan redevelopment. With architect Kengo Kuma leading the project’s design, the hotel will incorporate the existing building’s early 20th century architectural elements with contemporary styling. The building is the perfect fit for the hotelier’s brand which focuses on reviving and repurposing older and more character-filled buildings.

Renovation company Intellex joins Kyoto guesthouse market

Intellex’s first guesthouse, located near Kiyomizu Temple.

Intellex, a property renovation giant, announced their entrance into Kyoto’s guesthouse market. The company will start buying traditional machiya townhouses, renovate them and operate them as licensed guesthouses for tourists who want to rent an entire house for the duration of their stay. The project cost is estimated at 480 million Yen (approx. 4.5 million USD) to be spread across five guesthouses.

Their first guesthouse is a 100-year old, 2-storey machiya house located alongside Chawan-zaka, the road that leads up to Kiyomizu Temple. It has a total building size of 111 sqm (1,194 sq.ft) and can host groups of up to 10 guests. Nightly rates range from 36,000 ~ 60,000 Yen and up, depending on the season and number of guests.

Foreign tourists now make up 40% of hotel guests in Kyoto

A survey of 36 leading hotels in Kyoto has found that the percentage of foreign guests has exceeded 40% for the first time since reporting began in 2014. According to the Kyoto City Tourism Association, the share of foreign guests in 2017 was 40.5%, up 3.2 points from 2016. The busiest season for foreign tourists was April, with a share of 50.9%, up 5.3 points from the previous year.

The hotels reported an occupancy ratio of 88.8%, down 0.1 points from 2016. January, which is typically the worst month for tourism, had an occupancy ratio of 75.7%, up 4.3 points from 2016.

Luxury hotel and condominium planned for Ebisu

Nomura Real Estate Development is planning a mixed-use hotel and condominium complex for a 4,000 sqm block of land near Ebisu Station in central Tokyo. Mixed-use hotel / apartment projects are quite uncommon in Japan, with one of the few examples being Mori Building’s Toranomon Hills tower in Minato ward.

Nomura acquired the site in March 2017 for 10.5 billion Yen through a public bidding process. It was previously a government-owned housing complex for civil servants. The government required the buyer to build both apartments and accommodation facilities as a condition of the sale.

HULIC pays 60 billion Yen for Odaiba Hilton

Last December, real estate companies HULIC and Fuyo General Lease acquired the Hilton Tokyo Odaiba hotel for 60 billion Yen (approx. 552 million USD). The seller was US investment firm Elliott Management Corporation.

Aetos Capital acquired the hotel in 2007 from Japan Airlines for 25 billion Yen, before reselling it to Elliott. In 2015, Elliott transferred the operating rights to Hilton Worldwide and the hotel was renamed to Hilton Tokyo Odaiba.

Shikoku Railway Co to develop guesthouses in Kyoto

Shikoku Railway Company (JR Shikoku) is planning to open traditional-style guesthouse accommodation in Kyoto to cater to the growing demand from foreign tourists.

Their first project is a group of three townhouses under construction on a 170 sqm block of land just south of Kyoto Station and 14 minute walk to Tofuku-ji Temple. The total project cost is estimated at 150 million Yen (approx. 1.4 million USD).

Niseko’s luxury hotel and villa boom continues

There is no end in sight to the current construction boom in the ski resort town of Niseko in Hokkaido, with a number of luxury resorts and private villas under development. Spacious homes and apartments can easily fetch upwards of several hundred million Yen (several million USD). Rising construction costs and a labor shortage, however, are putting a strain on developers.

Imperial Hotel up for potential redevelopment?

A nearby acquisition by Mitsui Fudosan has some industry experts suggesting that the1100-room Imperial Hotel near Hibiya Park in downtown Tokyo may be slated for future redevelopment.

The hotel includes the main building that was built in 1970 along with a 31-storey office/hotel building at the rear that was completed in 1983. By the time of the 2020 Summer Olympics, the main building will be 50 years old. With a booming tourism industry, many of Japan’s top hoteliers are expanding, refurbishing or redeveloping their older hotels.

Japan’s first Hilton Curio Collection hotel to open in Karuizawa

Tokyu Land Corporation has entered into a franchise agreement with Hilton Hotels & Resorts to open Japan’s first Curio Collection by Hilton hotel in Karuizawa.

KYUKARUIZAWA KIKYO, Curio Collection by Hilton is the rebrand of the former Kyu-Karuizawa Hotel that was acquired by Tokyu in March 2017. It is scheduled to re-open in spring of 2018. The 39-year old hotel sits on a 5,800 sqm site located 1.2km north of Karuizawa Station. Almost 90% of the 50 rooms are over 40 sqm (430 sq ft) in size.