Thu, Nov 07, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Japan’s JR Hotels Group to open new hotel on site of former Westin Taipei

FIRST TAIWAN VENTURE:An affiliate of Japan Railways, JR Hotels leased the site from Cathay Life Insurance and is to develop it in collaboration with Howard Hotel Group

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Japan’s JR Hotels Group has inked a deal with Taiwan’s Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽) to open a new hotel on the former site of Westin Taipei (台北威斯汀六福皇宮) that would start operations in early 2021.

The hotel will occupy the building on Nanjing E Road owned by Cathy Life that has remained idle for the past 10 months after Westin Taipei ceased operations in January because of the high rent.

It would be the first venture into Taiwan by the Japanese hotel chain, which plans to target local as well as Japanese travelers.

JR Hotel Group, an affiliate of Japan Railways Group, owns and manages a large number of hotels adjacent to train stations in major cities across Japan.

Its Taipei hotel will be within walking distance of Taipei’s Songjiang-Nanjing MRT station.

The new tenant would be responsible for remodeling the 20-year-old property, to be named Hotel Metropolitan Premier Taipei, a five-star facility with 288 guestrooms, Cathay Life said.

The building has 15 stories aboveground and six basement floors on a 1,756 ping (5,805m2) plot.

The new hotel will have restaurants, banquet rooms, swimming pools, fitness facilities and other modern amenities, the insurer said.

Howard Hotel Group (福華飯店集團), Taiwan’s largest hospitality company by number of hotel rooms, reportedly helped push for the venture, and a joint venture by Howard’s affiliate and JR Hotels’ Taipei branch office would be in charge of drawing Metropolitan Taipei’s business strategy and management, local media said.

The two signed a cooperation agreement in November last year to share resources on sales, membership and employee training, the reports said.

Howard Group owns 20 facilities in Taiwan with a total of 3,200 rooms, while JR Hotels operates 48 hotels with 7,378 rooms near main railway stations.

Howard Group president Michael Liao (廖東漢) was present at yesterday’s ceremony to introduce Metropolitan Taipei.

JR Hotels said that Taiwan’s dynamic market in tourism and retail sales encouraged the company’s expansion into Taiwan.

Other Japanese hospitality companies shared their optimism.

Hoshino Resorts recently opened a luxury resort hotel in Taichung featuring hot spring facilities.

Local developer Hung Poo Real Estate Development Co (宏普建設) is to launch Mitsui Garden Hotel near the Zhongxiao-Xinsheng MRT station next year.

JR West Hotels plans to open Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel in the Ximending area in 2023, according to local media reports.

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