Luxury Hotels

JAPAN – 8

Life indeed looks rosy for the CEOs of the 40 member brands of Global Hotel Alliance, GHA, who are meeting 18-21 June 2024 at Tokyo’s conjoined Bellustar Pan Pacific and The Groove Parkroyal hotel, in the Kabukicho Tower, Tokyo. Organised by GHA CEO Chris Hartley and his Dubai-based team, the programme was well thought-out, enlightening, and fun.

One message that came over clearly was the effect of loyalty. At the end of the awards announcement at the gala at Kanda Myojin shrine, various people were recognised by Chris Hartley, above.

Who got the awards? Best brand performance, with a staggering 96% score, was Wharf, with Kempinski runner-up. Most improved brand performance was Outrigger, best new brand was The Set Collection. New hotel award went to Capella Sydney, best green hotel was Hotel Corvinus Kempinski, Budapest. Ultravel Collection’s hotel of the year was Lungarno Collection’s Portrait Suites Milano. GHA Discovery hotel of the year went to Anantara Dubai The Palm. Corinthia won most impressive use of the GHA app and website. NH gave most recognition to other GHA members and Wharf topped customer satisfaction.

The hospitality throughout was notable. Welcomes in bedrooms of Bellustar, a Pan Pacific Hotel, included exquisite seats and beverages, all carefully labelled. The first night was an informal dine-around in Bellustar’s 45th floor venues, and a highlight was a bottle of Opus One, which sadly just was not big enough.

The awards gala was completely catered by one of Japan’s favourite foreign chefs, Jerome Quilbeuf.All suitably paired, and dishes all plates. A tomato and watermelon gazpacho was followed by Nagasaki kue grouper, then braised cheek of Kobe wagyu and finally the chef’s justly famous burnt Basque cheesecake. Entertainment included a hyperkinetic young-male drum session – below – and a display of sword slashing.