I’ve just spent the last five weeks checking into some of Japan’s best hotels, curious to experience first-hand luxury travel amidst covid19. The most recent hotel I checked into was the Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono in Hokkaido. It was wonderful and stress-free, with all the requisite safety measures in place.
With this recent memory in mind, I believe the future of luxury travel will not be as bleak as feared. Once city / provincial/ national borders begin to relax, the top end of the travel market will start checking into luxury hotels again. Holiday destinations amidst nature will be especially popular compared to big crowded cities.
THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL
Why will luxury travel rebound quicker than expected? For one thing, it is now part of human nature to travel and to go on holiday. So not a few travelers with deep pockets will be willing to risk safety to travel again. They will choose to ensconce themselves in properties with space, exclusivity and strict sanitation control.
These clients will happily check into a hotel or a villa almost out of nostalgia for the normal life they once had. Then, of course, there’s also the strong desire to forget about this pandemic even just for a few days.
ABOUT THE PARK HYATT NISEKO HANAZONO IN HOKKAIDO
This was our experience at the Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono. It’s an impressive modern hotel with 11 restaurants and a residential wing.
The jewel in its dining options is the Moliere Montaigne restaurant, the new outpost of Hokkaido’s only Michelin three star chef. Meanwhile, luxury tourists will also love the fact that each oversized suite has its own large hot springs soaking tub with a view of Mount Yotei.
RETURN TO NORMALCY AFTER COVID-19
The chance to temporarily feel normal in a secure location will be the new definition of luxury. However, it will come at a price. Many will pay a premium to relax in lodgings with more chairs than guests, and yet complete services available.
This experience of normality amidst safety will be so precious. So I predict a stampede among the wealthy once borders are relaxed and it’s moderately safe to travel again. In this sense, top luxury hotels like the Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono in Hokkaido are well placed for this market.