Despite tourism being on hold, luxury hotel brands continue to push ahead with developments in the historic city of Kyoto. Various heritage protection bylaws, a planned tax on holiday homes, and even a global pandemic are not enough to slow investor demand from funds and wealthy buyers both domestically and abroad.
Three factors are contributing to the sustained demand – the charming city’s impeccable brand recognition, surplus funds available to institutional investors, and a surge in luxury-branded hotels. Condé Nast Traveller ranked Kyoto in top spot as the Best Big City in the World in 2020, while the 2021 Michelin Guide Kyoto has 110 starred restaurants, seven of which have earned three Michelin stars. It’s not hard to see why tourists and holiday home buyers have their sights on Kyoto.
As of the end of March 2021, there were 679 hotels and ryokans in Kyoto City, up 23 from last year and the sixth year in a row to see an increase.
The Higashiyama district on the eastern side of Kyoto, home to famed locations such as Gion and Yasaka, will also be home to the Kyoto Higashiyama Six Senses and Kyoto Higashiyama Banyan Tree when they open new hotels in 2024. Six Senses is right across the street from the Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto.
In November 2020, Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto opened up on the eastern side of Nijo Castle. The presidential suite goes for ¥1.3 million (US$11,800) per person per night. And nearby, Shangri-La is opening an 80~100 room hotel on the northern side of Nijo Castle in late 2024.
US$10 million for a luxury apartment
Opened in 2016, the 180-room Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto includes 57 condominium-type units that were offered for sale in the Residence wing. These apartments include living and dining spaces and are equipped with kitchens and washing machines. There are currently 13 of these units available for purchase from ¥460 million to ¥1.19 billion (US$4.2 ~ $10.9 million). The apartments range in size from 83 ~ 190 sqm (893 ~ 2,044 sq.ft).
The luxury hotel boom kicked off in 2014 with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto. It was followed by Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto (2015), Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto (2016), Park Hyatt Kyoto (2019), and Aman Kyoto (2019).
Source: President Online, June 2, 2021.
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