Hyatt, Starwood make moves to open Japan hotels in 2015

Hyatt is trading places with one of its Regency properties. The company recently sold the Hyatt Regency in Toronto to InnVest Real Estate Investment Trust for $140 million, and now Hyatt Hotels Corp. is setting its sights half way around the world for a new Regency property in Japan.

According to Multi Housing News, the new Hyatt Regency Naha in Okinawa is being built under a Hyatt affiliate's franchise agreement with PHR Okinawa Hotel Management, a subsidiary of Ken Corporation. The 294-room hotel will have four F&B outlets, meeting space, a fitness center and an outdoor swimming pool. The property is expected to be open by the end of 2015, and will be Hyatt's first hotel in Okinawa.

“The Hyatt Regency brand is designed to keep people connected and energized, and we feel this hotel will be a perfect fit for the city of Okinawa and the travelers that we know will visit this destination," Ratnesh Verma, SVP, real estate and development, Asia Pacific, Hyatt, told 4Hoteliers. "Japan continues to see a rise in inbound tourism, and we look forward to welcoming guests to Hyatt Regency Naha, Okinawa.”

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As evidence of this interest in Japan, Starwood Hotels & Resorts will be opening its first Luxury Collection hotel in the country in March 2015. According to Asia Travel Tips, Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto will have 39 rooms and is being developed on part of the grounds of the Tenryuji Temple, a World Heritage site.

The Japan News reported that a weakened yen and looser visa restrictions are helping boost the number of foreign visitors to Kyoto, which is opening up more opportunities for foreign hotel operators in the region. Kyoto surpassed 1 million foreign visitor stays overnight for the first time in 2013, and though foreign hotel chains have had difficulty finding building sites in Kyoto due to strict zoning regulations, developers are chiseling away at available sites.