JR East picks Taiwan for 1st overseas luxury hotel, sets 2021 opening date
TAIPEI, NNA – East Japan Railway Co. announced Wednesday that its first ever overseas hotel under the Hotel Metropolitan brand will open in Taipei in early 2021, reflecting expectations of strength in Taiwan’s tourism market.
The hotel is targeting visitors from Japan, Europe, the United States and East Asia who visit Taipei for sightseeing or business, Masayuki Satomi, president and CEO of Nippon Hotel Co., told a press conference Wednesday in Taipei. Nippon Hotel Co. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan’s largest passenger railway company JR East.
Nippon Hotel Co. will apply eventually for a rating to recognize the Taipei property as a five stars or higher, Satomi said, on its way to opening more hotels in Taiwan.
The Hotel Metropolitan Premier Taipei will occupy a building that once accommodated the hotel Westin Taipei operated by Taiwan-based Leofoo Tourism Group. The site measures 5,795 square meters with a total of 288 guest rooms.
JR East signed a lease with landlord Cathay Life Insurance Co. for 20 years, and plans to spend NT$600 million ($20 million) on building renovation, a Cathay official said.
“Operating an overseas hotel is a huge challenge for us, but we will apply our know-how to provide top service,” Satomi said. He expected the design to mix “local flavors and luxury.”
Nippon Hotel expects annual revenue of NT$1 billion by five years. “We are confident that we can make it successful,” Satomi said.
The Westin Taipei closed last year after sustained business losses, the company’s financial statement showed.
A joint venture, owned 65 percent by JRE Business Development Taiwan Inc., 30 percent by Nippon Hotel., and 5 percent by Michael Liao, a former head of Howard Hotel Resorts. Suites., will oversee operations and management of the Hotel Metropolitan Premier Taipei.