March 2020 saw the official opening of the Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono Hotel and Residences. Located in the Hanazono resort area of Niseko United, this epic development was the first major brand to coming into the area since Hilton took over operations of the old hotel in Niseko Village. Obviously the timing was extremely unfortunate with the outbreak of the pandemic decimating international tourism into Niseko, but the impact of the brand was felt strongly with real estate sales a total success. In fact, there were a significant number of Japanese investors which is quite unusual for Niseko property and an indication of the power of a global brand (we can talk about the cost of the brand later!).
In December 2020 (again, what timing…) the Ritz Carlton Reserve opened in Niseko Village. Significantly smaller than the Park Hyatt and not available for investment we are yet to see the impact on the overall resort, but the name alone conjures the impression of luxury and opulence. The facilities are not as broad as the Park Hyatt, but guests are able to take advantage of the larger Higashiyama Niseko Village area.
The latest project to launch for sale is the New World La Plume Resort in Niseko. And this one looks pretty special we must say. 11th floor commercial spaces will be an absolute winner and something unique in the area where often restaurants and other communal facilities are stuffed on the bottom floor to maximise sellable rooms. This hotel will have swimming pools (including an epic infinity outdoor pool), onsen and F&B up high in the sky. The final piece of the puzzle is that the hotel will be operated by the New World Resorts & the Rosewood Group. Sales have begun with local real estate agents reporting high levels of interest and many units already sold.
Capella announced their own development near Hanazono late last year, although it is yet to begin, and Aman have also got their project in Moiwa. But nonetheless the arrival of major brands will not only expand the reach of Niseko to new markets but also raise the general level of service in the resort. Coupled with increased investment this can only be a good thing for the area, especially in terms of turning Niseko into a true year-round resort.