Hilton’s independent destination-centric luxury brand, LXR Hotels and Resorts, has expanded into Asia-Pacific with the opening of Roku Kyoto – its first property in Japan.
As the hotel beds down in its maiden Japanese location, HM connected with Hilton’s Vice President Luxury and Lifestyle, Nils-Arne Schroeder, to learn more about the brand and its ambitions to expand further in the region.
What did Hilton see in Kyoto as being an ideal home for the LXR brand?
Found in the world’s most alluring destinations, LXR Hotels & Resorts is a collection of independent, bespoke hotels that are distinguished by an unrivalled commitment to personalised attention and luxurious, yet locally immersive, experiences for guests. Full of character and individuality, each has a unique story, and remains true to the heritage and culture of the destination, providing a luxurious base for exploration for the discerning adventurer.
Kyoto is considered the cultural capital of Japan and one of the world’s most beloved travel destinations. Being the imperial capital of Japan until the middle of the 19th century and home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites, Kyoto’s rich history and unique culture is filled with intriguing charm and wonder, making it the perfect destination to introduce the LXR brand in Asia Pacific.
How is the Japanese market evolving to the point where luxury brands are starting to pop up in greater numbers?
Japan is a strategic market for Hilton, and we have indeed seen a growing interest and demand in luxury hotel brands in the market.
The Wealth Report 2021 by Knight Frank indicated that Japan showed one of the highest increases in ultra-high net worth individuals despite the pandemic. As local restrictions ease in Japan, we have witnessed a strong demand in our luxury hotels and expect that domestic demand for luxury travel in Japan will remain high even after international borders gradually reopen.
The new generation of luxury travellers, both domestic and international, will seek more meaningful experiences that inspire them. In addition to travelling more responsibly, they will want to experience destinations authentically, immersing themselves in the different cultures and discovering something new.
In addition to the demand for luxury experiences, Japan’s diverse and picturesque destinations are well-positioned to cater to the rising demand for immersive local experiences complemented by the renowned Japanese hospitality. This sets the stage for the emergence of new luxury hotels like Roku Kyoto, that celebrate the unique Japanese culture, from craftsmen and artisans to chefs and farmers.
Are there any plans to expand the LXR brand to Australia or New Zealand? Which cities would suit what the brand offers?
LXR Hotels & Resorts are world-class properties known for their distinctive character, such as unique-to-market concepts that draw inspiration from and reflect their local cultural context. Each LXR address celebrates the property’s unique heritage and locality to create authentic and immersive luxury experiences for sophisticated global travellers. Every hotel will be evaluated individually based on its own criteria and merit because of its distinctive destination appeal.
We are constantly looking to bring the right brands to the right destinations at the right time. Australia and New Zealand abound with fascinating destinations that would be perfect for the LXR brand, to offer intrigued adventurers a luxurious base to discover the allure of each locale.
What kind of immersive local experiences in Australia and New Zealand would suit what LXR aims to offer its guests?
Australia and New Zealand offer many inspiring experiences that luxury travellers seek –- these include food and wine, nature and wildlife, coastal pursuits, and indigenous culture – to name a few. That might be snorkelling around a secluded island in the Whitsundays or sailing the Bay of Fires; a walk through Tasmania’s pristine wilderness or a private tour from an indigenous guide in the Northern Territory; it could be heli-skiing on the South Island of New Zealand or enjoying a meal whilst overlooking Sydney harbour in the boughs of the Opera House; or incredible cellar-door experiences in Margaret River, the Barossa Valley or the Mornington Peninsular in Australia, or Central Otago or Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand.
The difference that LXR brings to these experiences is an immersive journey that begins and ends with utmost personalised attention. Every element of the LXR experience would be meticulously curated to evoke a sense of curiosity and enables our guests to connect with the destination. For example, at Roku Kyoto, guests can learn about Japanese pottery under the guidance of a local artisan at one of the famous kilns that inherits the tradition of Kyo ware. Guests literally get their hands dirty with painting and hand-twisting using soil from the hotel grounds. The memory of this pottery experience comes alive when the finished artwork arrives at the guests’ home after two months of baking at the kiln.
Which is more important to LXR in terms of finding an ideal home? The history of the building it sits within or the culture of the destination around it?
LXR is synonymous with truly unique travel experiences, where each stay is made memorable through our anticipatory personalized service and exclusive access to immersive local experiences.
Beyond the history of a building or the local culture of a destination, it is important that each LXR property has a distinct identity and story and fulfils evolving expectations of the affluent yet adventurous traveller who prioritises a hotel’s unique character, unparalleled service and an extraordinary destination.