Friday, January 22, 2010
Variety Friday: Lotte "Sweet Stay" Hotel
Several weeks ago, I learned (via The Japan Times) that Lotte is opening a hotel. This in and of itself is not a shock since most Japanese companies are conglomerates with their hands in a lot of pies. Companies that make food often also have other types of related or greatly divergent businesses.
The hotel will be located in Kinshicho in Tokyo, and will not be far from Shibuya, the National Sumo Stadium (Ryogoku Kokugikan), and a Disney resort area. A web site for the hotel is located here. As far as I can tell, it is largely a pretty normal hotel with a few specialty rooms featuring Lotte's Koala's March cookie mascot. The site, what little there is at the time that I'm writing this, calls the hotel a "premium business hotel". There is something a bit odd in the pairing of the image of an elegantly appointed business hotel and cheesy use of cutesy Koala images in theme rooms. It's as if they couldn't decide if they want follow the Hilton hotels or the often tacky love hotels so they just decided to do a little of both.
According to the Nikkan Sports news, there is going to be a chocolate café ("Chocolate Factory Charlotte") and shop, a Korean restaurant and a room specifically advertised to provide a view of the Sumida fireworks. The sense is that the hotel is meant to attract women, though this flies in the face of the idea that it is supposed to be a "premium business hotel." Yes, there are business women in Japan, but there aren't that many of them and even fewer are involved in the types of work that requires travel.
Of course, this being a snack blog, I was interested in tracking down the Koala's March room and finding what it was supposed to look like. You have to comb Japanese news sites to see if Lotte's PR people released any images and I found one on the "My Com Journal" news site. (Note: When I wrote this post, the hotel's web site was just one page with one picture. Now, a full-fledged site is up with more pictures.) Frankly, it looks like the sort of room you'd put together for a 5-year-old to stay in and it appears to be designed for an adult and two children. There is a "common room" with a regular-looking bed and space and the Koala's room. The entire area is meant to accommodate three people. I don't think Lotte is offering these rooms as any more than a token publicity stunt as there are 213 rooms and only 2 of them have the Koala's March theme.
The odd thing about Lotte's entry into the hotel market in Japan is that this is their first one. They already have hotels in South Korea, but are late to the domestic market. The hotel will open on April 6, 2010. If my husband and I can make our way there, I think it'd be interesting to pay a visit to the café and the chocolate museum which are mentioned in the .pdf that Lotte offers with information on the shop itself.