Rosewood Plans To Open First Flagship Brand Hotel On Japan’s Miyakojima Island In 2024

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Rosewood Hotel Group CEO Sonia Cheng, asserting that “the future of the industry is bright” despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, described her company’s plans to introduce its brands to Japan in a recent email interview with The Japan News.

The Hong Kong-based group will open a hotel under its flagship Rosewood brand on a beach in Okinawa Prefecture and a resort run by its New World brand in a ski area in Hokkaido.

Set to open on Miyakojima island in Okinawa Prefecture in 2024, the Rosewood Miyakojima will be part of the flagship Rosewood Hotels & Resorts line, which operates 27 properties in 16 countries spanning Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and the Caribbean.

“Rosewood Hotel Group has spent the last several years planning and pursuing an ambitious yet thoughtful [worldwide] growth strategy,” said Cheng.

Regarding the first introduction of its “ultra-luxury” brand to Japan, the CEO said, “With its diverse geographical offerings and highly unique history and heritage, Japan has always been of great interest to the Group, but it was important to ensure that our timing and approach was aligned with our larger goals and vision.”

According to the hotel group, the Rosewood Miyakojima’s 55 villa accommodations will feature private pools, landscaped gardens and unobstructed sea views. Japanese real estate company Mitsubishi Estate Co., which will build and own the Okinawan hotel, has appointed Rosewood to manage it.

“We were thrilled to be presented with the opportunity to partner with Mitsubishi Estate to bring the Rosewood experience to the beautiful country in the right way,” Cheng said.

The hotel industry has been struggling amid the COVID-19 crisis. However, Cheng is not pessimistic about the industry’s future and is willing to invest. “I am very optimistic about the future of travel and expect to see an incredible surge in travel activity over the coming years.

When this time comes, Rosewood will be ready to welcome legacy guests and first-time guests alike, not only back to the places they have long loved, but to new areas of the world, as well,” she said.

■ CEO: Future of travel industry bright

Speaking about COVID-19’s impact on the business environment for the hotel and travel industry in coming years, Cheng said: “The benefits of travel and exploration have become abundantly clear over this last year and a half.

The places we explore influence how we act and feel, facilitating personal growth and transformation while also nurturing the relationships we have with one another. With a refreshed appreciation and demand for these experiences, the future of the industry is bright, and we are excited to support travelers by delivering exceptional opportunities for them to explore destinations both foreign and familiar.”

As for COVID-19’s current impact on customer service, Cheng said: “To further meet the needs of travelers during this time, our properties across the globe have introduced new and innovative ways to serve our guests.

From curated private picnic lunches to outdoor spa treatments to the option for contactless check-in, room service and housekeeping, our properties have been constantly evolving and expanding their offerings to ensure our guests’ comfort levels are top of mind.”

In the April announcement, the hotel group revealed a plan to include four restaurants and bars in the Miyakojima hotel, serving island-raised beef, local spirits and craft beer.

Cheng didn’t elaborate on the amenities and services, saying “We are still in the development phase.” But she stressed the resort will utilize a “supreme beachfront setting as the stage for many of our dining and event venues.”

The architecture and interiors of the new hotel are being designed by the Netherlands-based Studio Piet Boon, with Japan’s Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei Inc. providing local architectural expertise and support to realize the hotel brand’s concept of “a sense of place.” Cheng said that “extensive use of local materials” would be part of that effort.

She said the company chose Miyakojima, where tourists can enjoy aquatic adventures such as snorkeling at Japan’s largest coral reef, because the island “strikes a rare balance of offering super supreme seclusion while still being easily accessible by regional travelers.”

The hotel will be a short drive from either of the the island’s two airports, which have direct flights from major cities in Japan.

In April, the company announced plans to open its New World La Plume Niseko Resort in Hokkaido in 2023, expanding its New World Hotels & Resorts line of contemporary properties into Japan.

In contrast to subtropical Miyakojima island, the company’s World Hotels & Resorts brand hotel will be located in a popular snow resort area. “The resort will occupy nearly nine acres of lush forest land and serve as an outdoor oasis with unparalleled access to premier skiing and golf,” Cheng said of the Niseko area hotel.

As for a strategy to increase customer awareness of the Rosewood brand in Japan, Cheng said she would draw on her experience in the Chinese market.

She pointed out that her hotel group “currently has 23 existing properties in Asia, 13 of which are in Greater China, and 15 projects in the pipeline across the continent, including properties in India, Vietnam, the Philippines and, of course, Japan.”

She emphasized that “for each hotel and resort we bring to life, we identify like-minded, visionary partners who know the destination and develop trend-setting properties that speak to both the local communities and international travelers.”

“We’re excited to be entering into Japan with Rosewood Miyakojima and New World La Plume Niseko and look forward to exploring additional opportunities to expand further in the country and around the world as we continue pursuing strategic global growth,” Cheng said.


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