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Disaster claims first Tokyo hotel closing

Mercure Hotel Ginza Tokyo

In the days since the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked northern Japan, the country has received no mercy from the elements. A subsequent tsunami rinsed coastal areas of structures and human life and now the area is at risk of radiation from nuclear reactor meltdowns.

The earthquake’s magnitude was revised upward 14 March by the United States Geological Survey.

Amid the crisis, there is news the Tokyo hotel industry has survived and continues to serve its community. will provide updates as more information becomes available.

Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo

The hotel management released the following statement 21 March: “Following the natural disasters in Japan on 11 March and the resulting logistical difficulties and hazards, Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo will not be accepting any new guests until further notice. Bookings will resume as soon as the energy supply and normal hotel operation can and has been restored.

“We appreciate your understanding as our thoughts remain with the people of Japan during this incredibly challenging time.”

Many operations in Tokyo are getting back to normal, said Megumi Ishida, sales manager in Tokyo for STR Global vie e-mail. However, because Tokyo is damaged by cancelled inbound travelers, (hotel) performance will be worse than usual.

Many Tokyo hotels offered banquet rooms for stranded travelers and employees to spend the night, according to Fumi Yanagihara, director of hotel development for the Palace Hotel Tokyo. The Palace Hotel Tokyo is currently closed for planned reconstruction unrelated to recent events, but the company is answering e-mail inquiries.

“Immediately after the earthquake and until late morning the following day The Peninsula Tokyo provided food and shelter to the public at our first floor lobby and third floor banquet areas,” said Mark K. Kobayashi, director of public relations for the hotel. “Hotel guests continued to be accommodated in their rooms and stays were extended for those unable to leave Tokyo at that time.”

Radiation concerns presently are minimal in Tokyo, according to Kobayashi.

“At this time the Japanese government has only issued a warning for people within a 30-kilometer radius of the nuclear plant to remain indoors. Tokyo is 200 kilometers south of Fukushima where the nuclear plant is located,” he said via e-mail. “The hotel continues to monitor the situation and will take appropriate action according to government issued announcements.”

There are at least 37 hotels in Sendai, the city believed to be closest to the earthquake epicenter, according to STR Global’s census data.

What follows are available updates from various hotel companies affected by the natural disaster.

Monterey has two properties in Sendai (Hotel Monterey Sendai and Hotel Monte Hermana). Hotel Monte Hermana had no reported injuries to guests and employees. No future bookings are being accepted and the timing of rehabilitation is to be advised. Its other hotels in Japan are under safe operation. While many international guests have canceled bookings, Monterey’s Tokyo hotels have recorded almost full occupancy because of the high demand over the paralyzed traffic.

JAL Hotels
JAL Hotels has one hotel in Sendai and two hotels in Tohoku (Aomori and Hachinohe). Phones are available for all three hotels, but Internet is still disconnected. Only the Aomori has partial operations while Sendai and Hachinohe have ceased operations and further bookings until further notice. According to an e-mail from STR Global’s Ishida: “It is said many people have been requesting new reservations for JAL City Sendai. The property is doing the best to re-start operations as soon as possible. On the day of earthquake, JAL City Sendai opened the lobby for public. JAL Hotels corporate office has been receiving many ‘thank you’ emails since then.”

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
All Starwood Hotels in Japan are currently operational and fully functional with the exception of The Westin Sendai, which has no structural damage and is operational, but will be closed temporarily in absence of utilities. Guests were all accounted for and safe.

Marriott International
Marriott International said in a statement there were no reports of significant structural damage at any of its hotels. The company operates nine hotels in Japan, including: The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo; The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka; Okinawa Marriott Resort & Spa; Nagoya Marriott Associa Hotel; Renaissance Naruto Resort; Renaissance Okinawa Resort; Renaissance Sapporo Hotel; Atago Forest Tower, Tokyo – Marriott Executive Apartments; and Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Ginza Hotel.

Prince Hotels & Resorts
The company owns 48 hotels in Japan. According to its website, there are no injuries or serious damages reported at any Prince Hotel properties. However, in the Iwate Prefecture the Shizukuishi Prince Hotel and the Shizukuishi Ski Resort are closed.

Accor operates nine hotels in Japan and reported that only minor damage was inflicted on the buildings following the quake, according to a statement. All hotels are operational and have been focused on accommodating guests and employees that were unable to depart because of significant transport disruptions and ongoing limitations.

The three hotels Accor operates in the Greater Tokyo area (Mercure Hotel Ginza Tokyo, Mercure Hotel Narita, Mercure Hotel Yokosuka) are closed to new reservations since last Friday while the buildings were inspected for structural integrity and priority was given to those staying in the hotels and the hotel employees. The hotels have remained operational throughout and two are anticipated to recommence accepting reservations on Wednesday, subject to further updates.

Accor’s hotels outside Tokyo are: Sofitel The Cypress Nagoya, Novotel Koshien Osaka West, Novotel Sapporo, Mercure Hotel Sapporo, Hotel Formule1 Namuza and Hotel Formule1 Isesaki.

InterContinental Hotels Group
The company on Friday afternoon reported that neither guests nor employees suffered any injuries from the earthquake. (See Sendai update above.)

The company has 37 hotels with 11,124 rooms in Japan.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation
At this time, there have been no reported injuries to guests or associates at Hyatt hotels in Tokyo, Hakone, Osaka, Fukuoka, Kyoto, Guam and Saipan, the company said in a news release.

At the eight Hyatt hotels in Japan (Hyatt Regency Tokyo, Grand Hyatt Tokyo, Park Hyatt Tokyo, Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa, Hyatt Regency Osaka, Grand Hyatt Fukuoka, Hyatt Regency Fukuoka and Hyatt Regency Kyoto), Hyatt will waive all cancellation and rebooking charges through 15 March and will work with each traveler to make future arrangements.

Hilton Worldwide
There is no reported damage to any of Hilton’s hotels in Japan, and all guests and team members are safe, according to a statement from the company.

Because of this earthquake, Hilton Worldwide will allow affected guests holding non-changeable or non-refundable advance purchase bookings at any of its hotels in Japan to rebook to another date at no charge or to receive a full advance deposit refund. In addition, all cancellation fees will be waived for affected guests until further notice.

Japan Leisure Hotels Ltd.
The company operates six hourly-rate hotels (or “love hotels”) in Japan. Its largest hotel in Sendai is still intact, but sustained severe damage and was closed. Basic infrastructure, such as gas, water, electricity and telephone services are either sporadically available or not available at all, nor is it currently possible to supply the hotel for normal operations. As a result, the hotel has been shut down, and it is estimated that it will be out of operation for at least a month, the company reports.

Of Japan Leisure Hotels’ remaining five hotels, the hotel at Yamagata was closed for 24 hours, but has recommenced limited operations. As a result of rolling electricity blackouts, the hotel at Isawa may also be affected. The other three hotels are operating normally.

Inquiries to Park Hotel Tokyo, Sakura House and The Peninsula Tokyo were not returned by deadline. The area is under rolling blackout conditions, which may be affecting communications.

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