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Japan's first Ritz-Carlton Reserve to land in Niseko

Malaysia's YTL Hotels also opens serviced apartment complex in Hokkaido

Niseko's stellar champagne powder snow attracts wealthy skiers and luxury hoteliers from around the world.

NISEKO, HOKKAIDO -- The chief of YTL Hotels on Thursday said his company will keep bulking up its luxury presence in the booming Niseko winter resort town, which has become a magnet for international capital.

At a news conference, Mark Yeoh, an executive director of Malaysia's YTL conglomerate, said the company will spend around 5 billion yen ($46 million) annually as it adds hotels and other facilities at its Niseko Village resort, located at the foot of the Niseko Annupuri volcano.

Yeoh, who is responsible for YTL Hotels and Resorts, said the high occupancy rates at Niseko hotels act as a strong impetus for further development.

Overseas hotel chains have been flooding into Niseko, lured by the area's stellar champagne powder snow and the growing wave of skiers attracted to it.

YTL Hotels's next addition to Niseko will be a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, the first hotel of this brand in Japan. The luxury inn will open in 2020, and the Malaysian company will follow that up with more hotels under other Marriott International brands.

Mark Yeoh says Niseko hotels' high occupancy rates are driving further development in the resort town.

Yeoh said his company will tailor its hotels to Niseko. He also indicated an interest in working with Sapporo on the city's bid to host the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in 2030. If the bid is successful, some events may be held in Niseko, about 90 km southwest of Sapporo. YTL Hotels would be willing to do research and hold talks with the local government about expanding its facilities in Niseko, Yeoh said.

Hinode Hills, which opened on Sunday, is the fourth luxury property that the company operates in Niseko Village. The six-story hotel has 79 apartments starting at around 60,000 yen per night. Part of the company's Hotel Residence brand, Hinode Hills' units are equipped with kitchens, laundry areas and other conveniences.

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