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Japan hotels prep longer-stay sites for experiential travelers

Mitsui Fudosan's new brand will highlight regional character

Mitsui Fudosan's new luxury hotels, seen here in this rendering, will offer a taste of local cuisine and culture.

TOKYO -- Japan's hotel industry is designing more options for guests who plan longer stays, in response to a shift among foreign visitors and others toward experiential travel.

Mitsui Fudosan intends to operate a new high-end hotel brand geared toward visitors who want to stay in one place seeking an experience, not just a vacation, while real estate operator Cosmos Initia looks to enter the business with hotels offering longer-stay accommodations including kitchens and dining areas.

Tourists visiting Japan no longer are satisfied spending just a day or two and seeing only a city's central area. They want to stay longer and make forays into outlying areas. Also, Japan's own seniors increasingly are interested in experiential vacations.

Conventional accommodations alone fail to satisfy either group, so hotel operators are diversifying their offerings to capture this demand.

Mitsui Fudosan on Friday announced the new brand called Celestine Hotel, which will offer locality-specific amenities and events for guests. Each hotel will be designed to fit its locale and feature satellites of the region's most established restaurants. Events will include presentations of traditional performing arts.

Room rates will be around 30,000 to 35,000 yen ($266 to $311) per night, or halfway between a luxury foreign chain operating hotels on behalf of Mitsui Fudosan and its Mitsui Garden Hotels chain. The company expects guests to stay an average of four nights, with foreign visitors comprising half of the clientele, similar to the other leading urban hotels.

Mitsui Fudosan plans to begin with three Celestine Hotel properties by spring, including locations in Tokyo and Kyoto. The hotel near Kyoto's famous Kiyomizu-dera Temple will have 157 rooms, and guests will be expected to take off their shoes. The location in Tokyo's Ginza district will have 104 rooms, and the 14th floor at the top will feature outposts of some of Tokyo's bars and lounges.

Cosmos Initia, a Daiwa House Industry group company, expects to have five longer-stay hotels operating in Tokyo and Kyoto as early as 2018. The rooms will feature kitchens and dining rooms, and some will be large enough to accommodate three to five people.


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