Japan's second gateway, Osaka, will welcome a new five-star property before year-end, and at least two more major deluxe hotel groups are said to be actively seeking sites there.
A 160-room St Regis Osaka is due to open in October 2010 in the prestigious Midosuji district. The St Regis is the first five-star international brand to open in the city for five years.
Located at the corner of Midosuji Avenue and Honmachi Street, the new Starwood property will be in the heart of Osaka's central business district. The area is home to major corporate offices and is a major luxury retail centre. This will be Starwood's first St Regis hotel in Japan.
Other facilities at the hotel include three restaurants, a Remede spa and more than 420sqm of meeting space.
However, it is understood from Osaka tourism officials that both the Peninsula group and Four Seasons are looking at sites in the city. Both groups already have properties in Tokyo.
Asako Shiomi, MICE manager at Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau, said the new interest was a result of growing recognition of Osaka's importance within the wider Kansai region of western Japan as well as greater openness by the local market to non-Japanese brands.