Popular Ginza boutique hotel closing its doors

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

Popular with foreigners and known for its luxurious service, the small Hotel Seiyo Ginza, in Tokyo’s upscale district, will close on May 31, a hotel manager said Thursday.

Its parent company is selling the building and site.

Opened in March 1987, the 77-room hotel is located in the Ginza Theatre Building, which also houses movie and stage theaters on Ginza’s main Chuo Street.

The hotel has followed the concept of offering refined service typically seen in “ryokan” inns in a Western-style building.

“It was called Japan’s first ‘small luxury hotel.’ We kept the size small, reducing the number of the rooms, like Western hotels,” said Michie Tabuchi, marketing manager at Seiyo Ginza.

Right from the start the hotel offered “personal secretary” concierge services, the first in Japan to do so, according to Tabuchi. It was also the first hotel in Japan, starting in 2001, to employ butlers for all the rooms.

What makes the hotel unique is the percentage of foreign clientele. Tabuchi said about 50 percent of the guests are foreign nationals, adding that they accounted for about 80 percent when the hotel opened.

“Half of the hotel guests are foreigners. We have guests of diverse nationality, including Europeans and Asians. The largest number of them are North Americans,” she said. “It is my understanding that this hotel was built mainly targeting foreigners. So the average size of a room was made fairly large, at 60 to 70 sq. meters, and the bathrooms and storage spaces were enlarged.”

But the parent company, Tokyo Theatres Co., decided last May to sell the building and land for financial reasons, Tabuchi said, adding that there is no plan to reopen the hotel elsewhere.

As the last day approaches, many prominent figures who love the hotel have sent messages of farewell and gratitude to its website, including Finance Minister Taro Aso, former baseball player and manager Shigeo Nagashima, kabuki actor Matsumoto Koshiro as well as David Rockefeller Jr. of Rockefeller & Co.

Tabuchi expressed gratitude for the customers’ patronage over the past 26 years and vows the service will stay at a high level until the end.

“We’d like to serve customer as usual, in an unchanged manner, till the closure.”