Travel

Berjaya to build US$318m Four Seasons hotel in Kyoto

TOKYO, Sept 19 — Malaysian property-to-retail conglomerate Berjaya Corp is building a Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Kyoto at a cost of about 25 billion yen (RM 971 million), tapping demand for high-grade Western hotels in Japan’s ancient city.

Berjaya said in a statement that Malaysia’s RHB Bank Bhd is financing the hotel, which will have 186 rooms. It did not say when the project would be completed.

Four Seasons Hotels would be the third five-star-class hotel in Kyoto, which caters to more than 40 million tourists every year. Despite its position as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, Kyoto now only has a Hyatt Regency ranked five-star.

Kyoto city imposes height restrictions on buildings to protect a view of the city surrounded by mountains, which has made it difficult to develop upscale hotels, which are typically high-rise, analysts said.

But Tomohiko Sawayanagi, managing director for hotels advisory firm Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, is positive about the outlook for five-star accommodation in the city.

“I see a big potential for those five-star hotels to succeed in Kyoto because there is a steady leisure demand for high-class accommodation,” Sawayanagi said. “Kyoto already has some high-grade Japanese-style inns called ryokan, so the market for luxury accommodation already exists.”

Kyoto is host to some global companies such as Nintendo Co and Wacoal Holding, so there will be overseas business visitors in Kyoto as well, he added.

Berjaya joins Japanese home builder Sekisui House, which is now building a four-storey Ritz-Carton in the city to be opened in 2014. A Morgan Stanley real estate fund owns and manages Hyatt Regency Kyoto. — Reuters

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