Looking to escape the bustle of stressful urban life, even if only for a weekend? Prince Hotels and Resorts have got you covered. Operated by the Seibu Group with 42 locations spread throughout Japan and eight properties in Hawaii, China and Taiwan, the Prince Hotels group is Japan’s largest and synonymous with resorts, relaxation and ultimate comfort.
With “Prince” in the title, you know you’re in for a luxurious experience — whether you’re stopping in the heart of Tokyo for business, hitting the powdery slopes of Hokkaido for winter fun or golfing in sunny Kyushu. Here’s a look at three choices in Tokyo and Nagano that offer the perfect excuse for an indulgent stay.
1. The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho
Standing on the former site of the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho opened in the summer of 2016 and occupies floors 30 to 36 of Tokyo Garden Terrace. Kioicho, a district of Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, has been revitalized to inject a hint of modernization into an area that was once home to several families of the Tokugawa shogunate.
The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho pays homage to this rich history through a masterful blending of Western and Japanese aesthetics to create upscale accommodations that will make you feel as if you’re on top of the world. Each room overlooks the city, offering views of Tokyo Skytree and the Marunouchi area. Equally impressive are the views from the gym and the skyline swimming pool. You may be caught up in the Monday to Friday corporate grind, but at least The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho allows you to “fake it until you make it.”
2. The Prince Villa Karuizawa
If you’ve got a bit more leeway in your schedule, hop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen and escape to Karuizawa, a mountain resort town in Nagano Prefecture. Only an hour away from Tokyo’s metropolis, Karuizawa offers a reprieve from city life in all seasons. From mild and pleasant summers to gorgeous fall foliage and hot springs, as well as ski slopes and ice rinks in the colder months — this town makes for a pleasant change from city life. The Prince Hotels and Resorts in the area are sure to make your stay a rewarding one.
The Prince Villa Karuizawa offers all the amenities you’d expect in luxury accommodations but with a twist — the hotel itself is actually a collection of charming cottages tucked away in a forest. Take advantage of the natural beauty of Karuizawa by going for a bike ride, golfing, strolling in the bird garden or taking a nature tour — all services and facilities provided by The Prince Villa Karuizawa. This hotel is entirely non-smoking, further enhancing your nature retreat experience.
3. Karuizawa Prince Hotel East
Karuizawa Prince Hotel East offers several types of rooms each designed to meet specific needs. It offers standard twin rooms (remember, this is a Prince property — so “standard” is anything but!), cottages for groups and family bungalows with separate bedrooms designed for children. If you have a pet, a few of the cottages are even dog friendly!
Created with the surrounding forest in mind, Karuizawa Prince Hotel East offers guests a whimsical and natural atmosphere for ultimate relaxation. Take advantage of the five adjacent golf courses and ski resort at Prince Snow Resorts Karuizawa or cycle to nearby Kumobaike Pond and Karuizawa Ginza shopping street. Also not to be missed is the Forest Hot Spring, a lavish onsen facility exclusively for guests that boasts indoor and outdoor baths offering spectacular views of Karuizawa’s innate beauty.
The Karuizawa resort has a variety of outdoor activities on the agenda for guests to choose from. The resort is located next to a small ski resort and most of the lodgings located on the grounds are close enough that you can ski directly to your doorstep. The hotel also features a zip line, forest walks, hiking trails and bicycle rentals. The cycling is top notch in the area, packed with great trails and nature that will leave visitors with a taste of what the Japanese countryside is really like.
You can’t come all the way to Karuizawa without stopping by Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza for some retail therapy. Both Prince Villa Karuizawa and Karuizawa Prince Hotel East are conveniently located within a 10-minute walk of one of Japan’s largest outlet malls. Always bustling with activity, it’s an expansive complex of nearly 200 shops spanning five sectors. You can find designer brand goods, household items, trendy restaurants and much more. Take a moment to sample the selection of locally produced beer, wine and cheese — all of which make great souvenirs, too.
Prince Hotels and Resorts can be found all over Japan, and its operator, Seibu Group, recently launched a membership program that affords guests special discounts and offers at affiliated locations. The Prince Club emi Card is only available for visitors to Japan and is worth checking out if a trip here is on your bucket list.
No matter if you’re looking for a sophisticated and atmospheric night in the city or yearning for a city getaway on the weekend, there is a huge selection of Prince accommodations to ensure your stay in Japan comfortable and memorable.
Check out the Seibu website for more information.