The Japanese hotel industry is growing faster, aiming higher and getting stronger
For the train-loving traveler on a budget…
Opened last December, the Gate Hotel Tokyo in the heart of glitzy Ginza courts mostly an upscale crowd, but their deprecatingly named “Modest” class rooms offer good value for business travelers. The 20m² room comes with a dedicated WiFi router, a Vitra work desk that adjusts to one’s height with the touch of a button and a view of the bullet trains cruising through Yurakucho Station. The terraced private lounge on the 14th floor also overlooks the famous Sukiyabashi intersection. gate-hotel.jp/en/tokyo
For the bathing beauty with a discerning palate…
Visitors to Kansai, attracted by its famed springs, usually have a ryokan stay in Arima at the top of their to-do lists. Historic ryokan Nakanobo Zuien is upping their fine-dining game with a swanky new chef’s dining room that takes in 14 diners a night for an incomparable teppanyaki dinner.
For the technocrat or introvert…
The first Hen-na Hotel in Nagasaki, billed as the world’s first robot-run hotel, captured media attention when it opened in March 2015. The tech-reliant model makes for a comfy stay, and demand for rooms has been brisk. Operator HIS continues to open new locations around the country, with four openings slated for early 2019 in Osaka, Fukuoka and Kyoto. h-n-h.jp
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Travel hack: go hands-free with Ecbo Cloak
Need a place to stash your stuff on the go? Rather than go back to the hotel or risk the uncertain availability of coin lockers at the train station, a new multilingual service called Ecbo Cloak allows you to reserve storage online at convenient locations, including shops, stations, restaurants and post offices. At just a couple hundred yen, the service gives you no reason to lug even a small shopping bag around. cloak.ecbo.io
This article first appeared in the March 2019 issue of Smile magazine.