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It was three years ago that we told you about the unlikely existence of a Japanese resort the size of Monaco that is modeled after a 17th century Dutch town. Built in honor of the shared history between Nagasaki and the Netherlands, it houses an Okura Hotel that is a (liberal) recreation of the central railway station in Amsterdam, which in turn is the only European city that is home to an Okura Hotel.
Not for long though, with the announcement this week that Okura will open another European resort in 2017, if on the bridge with Asia: Okura Spa & Resort Cappadocia, in Turkey. Cappadocia is a region with a rich past (read more about it here) and UNESCO World Heritage Site, “best known for its unique moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches and houses carved from stone”.
The 130-room resort will be built near Mustafapaşa, an historic town, and will not be the only presence in Turkey: Okura is planning hotels in Ankara and Istanbul as well, as part of an overall ambition to grow to 100 hotels worldwide (we included a property on our list for Manila just yesterday).
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Every month, we tell you which hotel openings you need to know about (and which, inevitably, miss their deadlines). While we have a healthy list of arrivals around the world, there are a few places that are either consistently popular or having a bit of a hotel moment, so “new hotels for…” gives you a rundown of the openings you will want to know about for a particular destination. Looking at the first YOO Hotel recently, on its way to tropical Boracay Island in the Philippines, got us thinking about the country’s capital, Manila. Perhaps not a city that surfaces very often on our radar, there are a few big openings in the works that will add nearly 2,000 new hotel rooms over the next five years:
Tokyo’s Toranomon Hills Tower may have only just opened, Andaz hotel and all, but one of the classic hotels nearby is planning its own future skyscraper already: the Hotel Okura Tokyo – famous for its 1960s time capsule lobby – will close next year August for four years of redevelopment.
Come February 2019, a brand new two-tower complex should be finished, which will increase room count from just over 400 to 550, adding office space in the process. Design will maintain “traditional Japanese aesthetics” while bringing in all the latest technological equipment – and looking at some of the room photos on the hotel’s website, they look like they could use some work. Half of the hotel’s grounds will be turned into a green “metropolitan oasis”.
Did you know that fifty minutes outside of Nagasaki, Japan, there is a resort the size of Monaco that is modeled after a 17th-century Dutch town? Complete with windmills, canals, fields of tulips, and an exact replica of the residence of H.M. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, built with special permission from the Dutch Royal family?
Named "Huis Ten Bosch" (after the Queen's residence, which translates as House in the Forest), the resort was built in honor of the shared history between Nagasaki and the Netherlands, dating back to the arrival of a Dutch ship called "De Liefde" (The Love) in 1600.
Centuries later, the resort / theme park was built on reclaimed land, much like parts of the country it was modelled after. Hundreds of thousands of trees and flowers were planted to regenerate the area, with sustainability and environmentalism still a major focus today. You can stroll around cobble-stone streets, or go native and take a bike, stopping by one of the museums before getting a spa treatment on your way to an afternoon bit of theatre.
Before you can step into the preserved 1960s modernist environment that is the grand lobby of the Hotel Okura Tokyo, you first must arrive. For many that means being driven up and around to the hotel's off-the-street- entrance, where there'll be one valet for each door that needs opening, and more still to whisk away your bags.
Anyone who has experienced classic 5-star service at a Japanese hotel can tell you that this is par for the course; the need to touch anything mundanedoors, luggage, room keyscan be erased completely by some attentive hotel staffs, and if you chose to stay at the Okura then you likely already know this.
This attention to detail, which starts at the arrival of your car, continues all the way through to the teacakes served at the hotel's patisserie. Essentially it's the art of perfection at practice.
Remember that time we went to Macau? Yeah it feels like forever ago, mainly because Macau is opening new hotels so freaking rapidly that we've a list so long to check out, it's overwhelming. And today we can add one more for later this year: the Hotel Okura Macau.
Whereas American tourists and other very foreign foreigners to Macau will opt for properties like the Wynn/Encore, Hard Rock Hotel, Four Seasons or the just-opened new Mandarin Oriental, the Okura will target those coming over for a good time from Japan and other parts of Asia. The flagship Okura, after all, is a legendary hotel in the center of Tokyoone which we fell in love with during our recent trip to Japanand the plans for its Macau property are plain bonkers.
Here's what we're talking about:
If ever an episode of Mad Men needs to be shot in Tokyo for some reason, like say...Don Draper takes a business trip to gain a major international account, then this is where they would film that episode. It is the iconic lobby of the Hotel Okura, the Tokyo flagship of a chain that includes other luxury properties like the Okura Amsterdam and The Halekulani Honolulu.
We stopped by here specificially to photograph this beauty, but also to eat some of the Okura's flawless confections we showed you yesterday.