InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)’s boutique lifestyle brand has debuted in Japan with the opening of Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora.
Located in the mountainous precinct of the Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan’s first Hotel Indigo brings the brand’s strength as a neighbourhood storyteller to guests with unique experiences that explore Gora’s history, its breathtaking vistas, local culinary delights and hot springs culture.
Hans Heijligers, chief executive officer of IHG’s Japan operating company, IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan, said: “The opening of Japan’s first Hotel Indigo marks a tremendous start to 2020 at a time where Japan is seeing worldwide interest and curiosity from travellers across the globe following the Rugby World Cup and as we lead into the 2020 Olympics.
“Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora represents a bold new direction for boutique hotels in Japan, and we are delighted to witness its growth into diverse neighbourhoods across the country.”
Paul Tsuji, general manager of Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora, said: “Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora offers a refreshing new way to explore the Gora neighbourhood.
“From the hotel design to restaurant and bar concepts and local partnerships, each guest will experience the art of storytelling through Hakone’s century-old history to its modern, adventurous spirit.
“We are delighted to open our doors today and invite both first-time visitors and locals to experience the neighbourhood with new curiosity.”
The Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora experience
Design is an integral part of the guest experience, drawing inspiration from the neighbourhood to influence its interior.
Ancient patterns from local Yosegi-zaiku woodwork have inspired wood patterns throughout the hotels’ lobby, parquetry woodwork decorating the ceilings and guest rooms, while contemporary artwork brings to life Hakone’s nature through ukiyo-e paintings, fireflies, fallen leaves and mountainous landscapes.
The hotel features 98 rooms and suites, with each room offering its own natural hot spring bath in-room or open-air bath on the balcony.
Nostalgia and novelty sit at the core of the design, with playful bed headboard artwork from Studio Cafe SHIMA that reflects the early Showa-period scenery of Gora.
Quirky motifs can be found throughout the photography, including a courier man dressed in traditional costume holding a ‘selfie stick’; a classic bus painted with the Yosegi-zaiku pattern; soccer players; and a UFO or drone midflight.
Introducing a new way to explore Hakone Gora
Hakone Gora is a town of two tales: a century-old town cherished by Japan’s intellectuals and socialites as an escape from the bustling cities since the Meiji-period, while opening the gateway to vibrant nature, pastel-coloured onsens, contemporary museums and digital art for a modern getaway.
Located just 1.5 hours from Tokyo, the mountainous town is accessible by the Hakone Tozan Railway, which opened in 1919, quickly cementing the town as a popular travel destination.
Over its 100-year history, stories collected from along the Hayakawa river where the hotel now resides, from Gora’s ancestors and visitors, who came to the town to find new life among the cherry blossom hot spot.
Today, these stories form the Hotel Indigo neighbourhood experience where guests can immerse in the history through the hotel’s artwork and design, local menus, onsen experience and cultural workshops.