TOKYO -- As hotels across Japan scramble to cater to foreign tourists, posh, new hotels springing up in the heart of the capital are setting their sights on business travelers.
Prince Hotels, a unit of Seibu Holdings, will open its most luxurious hotel in Tokyo's Kioicho neighborhood, where the company's Akasaka Prince Hotel used to operate, on July 27. The new hotel, the Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, will occupy the 30th through 36th floors of a commercial building.
Prince Hotels recently teamed up with American luxury hotel operator Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and was added to Starwood's Luxury Collection, its selection of most prestigious hotels. The Japanese company hopes the views from its newest hotel, which overlooks central Tokyo, will help pull in guests.
The tie-up gives Prince Hotels access to Starwood's vast customer base of about 21 million registered users. Once rival Marriott International acquires Starwood -- the two companies have already gained shareholder approval for the merger -- that number will more than triple to some 75 million, making the new company the world's largest hotel chain. In contrast, Seibu, Japan's largest hotel group, has just 800,000 or so registered customers.
Prince Hotels is aiming for an 80% operating rate for the Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho in fiscal 2018. Room rates will change in response to demand, but regular rates are set between 60,000 yen ($566) and 590,000 yen per room per night.
On Wednesday, Hoshino Resorts opened Hoshinoya Tokyo, a modern take on the traditional ryokan inn, in the Otemachi business district of the capital. Guests enter through a heavy automatic gate made of hiba (a kind of Japanese cypress) sourced from the northeastern prefecture of Aomori and, as visitors to a typical ryokan would, take off their shoes once inside.
There are three types of rooms available, including a 50-sq.-meter sakura (cherry blossom) room. Rates start at 78,000 yen per night without meals.
Foreign hotel chains such as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts are also building luxury hotels in central Tokyo, counting on the growing number of foreign tourists. InterContinental Hotels Group of the U.K. is speeding up the development of luxury hotels across Japan in partnership with ANA Holdings, a Japanese airline.