JW Marriott opens hotel in Nara


JW Marriott, part of Marriott International Inc, on Wednesday announced the opening of JW Marriott Nara in Japan. The opening marks the first international luxury hotel brand to open in Nara as well as the debut of JW Marriott in Japan.

Located a short distance from the renowned Nara Park, the hotel is an ideal starting point to visit the many attractions throughout the city. Through locally inspired design, JW Marriott Nara integrates its tranquil natural surroundings into an overall aesthetic that showcases the beauty of the destination.

Nara has long been celebrated as the birthplace of Japanese culture and it was the first capital of Japan back 1,300 years ago.The city sits in an idyllic area in Japan's central Honshu island, surrounded by rolling hills and lush forests. Its beautifully preserved historic temples and Osaka International Airport is approximately 75 kilometers away, making this location easily accessible to both domestic and overseas travelers.Nara today is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site which mirror 20 historic temples and shrines venues, including the iconic Todai-ji Temple, Kofuki-ji Temple, Yakushi-ji Temple and Kasuga-taisha Shrine.The city is also famous for the tame herds of deer that roam freely through its streets.

“We are very excited to celebrate the opening of JW Marriott Nara,” said Rajeev Menon, president, Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), Marriott International. “The entry of the JW Marriott brand into the Japanese market is a very significant milestone for us, marking Marriott International's 50th property in Japan. This debut represents our commitment to our company's expanding presence in Japan to serve the needs of both domestic and international travelers visiting this beautiful region. "

Conceptualized by global design firm GA Group of London, the hotel's architectural elements honor the city's natural beauty and heritage and give the hotel a true sense of place. Timber beams above the lobby space reflect the distinctive features found in the temples and homes of Nara. A linear fireplace in the lobby evokes the city's annual Yamayaki Fire Festival. Behind the reception area, a fabric backdrop depicts the hills that surround Nara woven in gold thread.Throughout the hotel, patterned carpets are reminiscent of the surrounding landscapes, such as the reflections of the rain pools in Nara's hillsides.

The hotel features 158 rooms including 16 luxurious suites featuring warm tones of timber, bronze and leather as found in the traditional homes of Nara.Sculptural representations of deer antlers hang over the sumptuous guestroom beds, echoing the recurring motif of the iconic Nara deer that can be found throughout the hotel.

Dining at JW Marriott Nara becomes a treat for all the senses, with an array of local and international cuisines within exceptional settings. Silk Road Dining is the hotel's all-day dining venue featuring an open kitchen and design details incorporating elements from the ancient maritime Silk Road, of which the city of Nara was the final destination.Specialty restaurant Azekura offers three distinctive styles of Japanese cuisine – teppanyaki, sushi and kaiseki – in a contemporary space inspired by the artifacts of the eighth-century Emperor Shomu's treasure house. Flying Stag is the hotel's lobby lounge and bar, where a large abstract sculpture of a stag becomes a striking focal point on the wall.

Within the hotel's landscaped grounds, JW Garden is a plant-filled space where guests can harvest fresh herbs and greens to be incorporated into their menu choices and craft cocktails at the bar.A luxurious Executive Lounge, set away from the more social areas of the hotel, offers a comfortable space in which to catch up on work or enjoy a quiet chat over drinks and light snacks.

The hotel offers a 24-hour fitness center and indoor swimming pool, as well as a luxurious Spa by JW. The Spa, in natural timber and stone, reimagines the peaceful calm of the nearby temples and features an inviting menu of treatments including massages, facials and therapy baths for the ultimate in relaxation and rejuvenation.

JW Marriott Nara is set to become the preferred venue in Nara for meetings, weddings and other events. A Ballroom and four customizable meeting rooms lead off from the main lobby via a dramatic Grand Staircase, and collectively offer 640 square meters of event space.Along with a dedicated events team to ensure a seamless occasion, the hotel also offers a bespoke “JW Wellness Break” program during meetings, which provides participants with mindfulness exercises and activities to re-energize and enhance focus.

“JW Marriott welcome travelers with 'The JW Treatment,' our brand philosophy which affirms that true luxury is created by people who are passionate about what they do,” said Jennie Toh, Vice President-Brand, Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “JW Marriott Nara offers authentic experiences with its stunning design, outstanding dining options and elevated service.Through our holistic brand programming, we empower our guests to focus on reclaiming a total mind-and-body wellness as they explore this wonderful destination.

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Used to live in Nara, surprised they allowed it to be built near Nara Park. A real reactionary lot when it comes to change

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Almost a boutique hotel by Marriott standards.

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The Nara Marriott. Nara is not and never was the endpoint of The Silk Road. The Silk Road ends in Tenri at the Isonokami Shrine.

The cost of a room at the Marriott exceeds almost two fold, the beautiful Nara Hotel.

The intrusion of Marriott and other luxury and boutique hotels into Nara, is directly tied to cultivating Chinese tourists and enticing overnight stays. Typically, trips to Nara are day long excursions originating in Kyoto or Osaka. This will have an adverse impact on local business. The Marriott, somehow, is located on the site of the former main police station, near Shin Omiya. This is not in the vicinity of Nara Park, it is Shin Omiya. Which indicates travel by automobile or taxi (God please forbid the entry of Uber or Lyft). Which alters the means and path of travel.

Typically, visitors arrive at JR Nara and walk to the Park along Surugamachi street which has an array of business kowtowing to tourists. Or Kintetsu Nara, which terminates near the Higashimuki Arcade, which before the arrival of Chinese tourists contained locally owned, independent business - now an array of corporate entities and plethora of Drug Stores litter the arcade.

The strategy to entice Chinese tourists and hence corporate hoteliers, to the likes of Nara, originates with the newly embalmed Prime Minister Suga. A 70 year old, ruthless control freak and fixture who belongs in the Sengoku Period.

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Marriott, in Japan, is backed by Akira Mori, the billionaire heiress and head of the Mori Trust. Initially the plan was to demolish the governor's residence in Nara Park and construct a hotel. Instead, somehow, Marriott was able to demolish the Nara police headquarters and build a hotel. The current governor of Nara is pro-development, with outlandish plans to burnish his ego and in opposition to local wants and needs. One of his initial plans was to build a monorail through Nara Park to the top of Mount Wakakusa. As is, there is now a boutique luxury hotel in the south end of Nara Park, nearby Sagiike Pond, which was opposed by the adjacent neighborhood and a large number of citizens in Nara.

Pro-development forces are changing the tenor of Nara and displacing local business and adversely impacting the culture. Mostly to cultivate Chinese tourists. The Marriott is expensive and outside the budget of a typical tourist. It also looks to cultivate convention traffic, which ignores the two existing venues already in place.

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