ATONA, Hyatt’s New Japanese Ryokan Brand

ATONA, Hyatt’s New Japanese Ryokan Brand

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Hyatt has just announced the details of its newest hotel brand, and it’s one that I’m excited about.

Hyatt launches Japanese ryokan joint venture

Hyatt and Kiraku have entered into a strategic joint venture, which will see the launch of the ATONA brand. This will be a collection of modern-style hot spring ryokans (Japanese-style inns) in Japan, targeting global travelers.

“ATONA” is described as an expression of deep connection, a combination of two old Japanese words that mean “me and you.” Development plans are expected to be revealed soon, and the first property should open in 2025.

Hyatt and Kiraku will each own 50% of the joint venture, and will leverage their strengths to develop the new offering. The ATONA brand will be managed independently by a team of hospitality experts who have an understanding of both Japanese culture and international hotel standards.

Here’s how the ATONA concept is described:

The ATONA brand will express the unique charm of each region’s architecture, design, cuisine, activities, and hospitality through the ryokan experience. Centered around the onsen (hot spring), a treasured part of Japanese culture, the ryokans built by the joint venture will feature a modernized style that will serve as the base of each guest’s journey in Japan. Set amongst breathtaking landscapes, each will offer new experiences and discoveries both within and beyond the ryokan that are special to its locale.

The ATONA brand experience will offer bespoke experiences and warm Japanese hospitality away from the bustle of everyday life, inspiring guests to feel the deep wisdom hidden within nature and a peaceful place to reconnect with oneself.

Hyatt is opening a new hotel brand in Japan

This hotel concept sounds like it could be great

The details about ATONA are limited as of now, but the concept sounds exciting to me. All too often we see the major hotel groups just launch the same cookie-cutter concepts, while this is something new, at least for one of the “big players.” A few thoughts and questions:

  • Even though this is a joint venture, it sounds to me like these hotels will fully be branded as Hyatts, which is to say that I’d expect full World of Hyatt participation, etc.; after all, one of the things that Hyatt brings to the table here is the international customer base
  • It’s not entirely clear how premium this brand will be, and where it will fall in Hyatt’s portfolio; will these be upscale, luxury, or what?
  • The press release emphasizes multiple times how this is targeting “global travelers,” so I suspect this will be a bit watered down compared to the traditional ryokan experience; that’s not necessarily a bad thing, since it means that maybe the beds and furniture will be comfortable (by international standards), and maybe the experience won’t be that rigid (as it can sometimes be in a ryokan)
  • For me personally, this is the most exciting new brand concept that Hyatt has unveiled in years; to me this has more appeal than Hyatt’s entire multi-billion dollar Apple Leisure Group acquisition
It’s exciting to see Hyatt get into the ryokan business

Bottom line

ATONA is Hyatt’s newest hotel brand, and it will consist of a collection of modern-style hot spring ryokans. The first property is expected to open in 2025, though beyond that, details are very limited as of now. We don’t know where the hotels will be, or what exactly they’ll be like (other than the general concept). I’m excited to learn more about this brand.

What do you make of Hyatt’s new ATONA concept?

Conversations (10)
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  1. Eskimo Guest

    I always feel the charm of Japanese ryokans is they are independently owned and not too large.

    Let's see how it goes but it feels like calling AirBNB rental a 'homestay'.

  2. Andrew Diamond

    Interesting. With hotels, execution is everything.

    I had high hopes for Alila, but can tell you from my most recent stay in Alila KL, the reality can kill every bit of marketing magic and positioning the brand may try to convey.

    Now, Malaysia isn't Japan by any stretch, but Japan has shown a special type of apathy for tourists that I never expected. Will be interesting to see how this pans out.

    1. Tigris Guest

      Sad to hear the Alila KL was a disappointment. Recently stayed at the GH KL & it was very nice. Also stayed at the both the Alilas in Bali and they were awesome! Based on the phones of Alila KL on Hyatt's website, I was looking to book a stay there next year. Can you share what's the disappointment of Alila KL was?

    2. Andrew Diamond

      @Tigris, I ended up moving to the GH KL for the rest of the trip after 2 nights. Agreed that property was much nicer.

      Cons:
      * Walls are paper thin. I reserved two rooms and one of them was next to a staff breakroom. They got there at 4am and stayed until 10pm, we heard every sound they made.
      * The construction material were not particularly durable. Visible wear and tear on nearly...

      @Tigris, I ended up moving to the GH KL for the rest of the trip after 2 nights. Agreed that property was much nicer.

      Cons:
      * Walls are paper thin. I reserved two rooms and one of them was next to a staff breakroom. They got there at 4am and stayed until 10pm, we heard every sound they made.
      * The construction material were not particularly durable. Visible wear and tear on nearly every surface.
      * Multiple leaks on the top two floors (not in my room, common areas.)
      * "Living room" has definite hygiene concerns. Aside from no utensils to pick out snacks from the shared jars, every coffee machine had active warnings about the milk being too warm. (!)

      Pros:
      * Views are as incredible as the photos promise.

    3. tigris2iii New Member

      Thanks for the valuable feedback Andrew! Yikes, that one pro isn't enough to make up all those cons! Here's hoping PH KL opens on time next year for my booking or I'll stick with the GH KL!

    4. TN Churner Guest

      I stayed there a few months ago. Booked directly into a suite. The room was gorgeous but there were so many issues with my stay. For some reason they were showing three rooms under my name instead of 2. That took a while to resolve. Then they said the second room wouldn't be available until 6pm (thankfully they had it ready by 4pm). At breakfast they had no kids menu and said breakfast was only...

      I stayed there a few months ago. Booked directly into a suite. The room was gorgeous but there were so many issues with my stay. For some reason they were showing three rooms under my name instead of 2. That took a while to resolve. Then they said the second room wouldn't be available until 6pm (thankfully they had it ready by 4pm). At breakfast they had no kids menu and said breakfast was only included for two guests per room. I didn't make a fuss about because the breakfast platters were huge and our daughter probably would have shared with us anyway, but I did point to the Globalist Benefits in the WoH T&C when replying to the feedback email after the stay. The nail in the coffin was them charging the cash rate on top of the points booking that I had made on the second room. It took weeks to get this resolved and they were dragging their feet until I threatened a chargeback.

      I gave some very detailed feedback and criticism and didn't get any replies from the hotel.

      A real shame because the property is beautiful and the surrounding neighbourhood is very interesting. The hotel is also connected directly to a train station.

    5. KATA Member

      I think it's important to look at Alila as a brand of extremes. Certain Alilas, like the Villas Uluwatu, Ventana Big Sur, Napa Valley, as well as other high-priced Alilas, are undeniably wonderful hotels... certain others, especially those in South East Asia (like Kuala Lumpur, Solo, Ubud, and until recently, the original Alila Jakarta) are pretty lacklustre hotels located in terrible locations.

      Alila in itself was never meant to be an ultra-luxurious brand, the...

      I think it's important to look at Alila as a brand of extremes. Certain Alilas, like the Villas Uluwatu, Ventana Big Sur, Napa Valley, as well as other high-priced Alilas, are undeniably wonderful hotels... certain others, especially those in South East Asia (like Kuala Lumpur, Solo, Ubud, and until recently, the original Alila Jakarta) are pretty lacklustre hotels located in terrible locations.

      Alila in itself was never meant to be an ultra-luxurious brand, the original hotels were rebadged Chedi and Serai hotels destined to be 4 and 3-star hotels by Adrian Zecha.

      That was, until Alila Villas Uluwatu opened, bringing the international spotlight to Alila as an ultra-luxurious eco-hotel brand. But one should bear in mind that Alilas Villas were supposed to be the premium version of Alila, like Park Hyatts are to a Hyatt Regency.

    6. jdawg Guest

      Why the lack of love for Alila KL?
      Agree the location is a bit random, but the hotel is pretty nice, no?
      I do second the very large dispersion in quality of alila's though - Alila Ubud I thought was very average

  3. William Guest

    Good, give the Hoshino and the Fufu groups a run for their money. Always like more competition!!

    1. KATA Member

      Agreed! I've never liked Hoshino to begin with, particularly not Hoshinoya and their grimly-designed hotels. I just think the timing is especially curious given how Ryokan Azumi recently opened.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Andrew Diamond

@Tigris, I ended up moving to the GH KL for the rest of the trip after 2 nights. Agreed that property was much nicer. Cons: * Walls are paper thin. I reserved two rooms and one of them was next to a staff breakroom. They got there at 4am and stayed until 10pm, we heard every sound they made. * The construction material were not particularly durable. Visible wear and tear on nearly every surface. * Multiple leaks on the top two floors (not in my room, common areas.) * "Living room" has definite hygiene concerns. Aside from no utensils to pick out snacks from the shared jars, every coffee machine had active warnings about the milk being too warm. (!) Pros: * Views are as incredible as the photos promise.

1
KATA Member

I think it's important to look at Alila as a brand of extremes. Certain Alilas, like the Villas Uluwatu, Ventana Big Sur, Napa Valley, as well as other high-priced Alilas, are undeniably wonderful hotels... certain others, especially those in South East Asia (like Kuala Lumpur, Solo, Ubud, and until recently, the original Alila Jakarta) are pretty lacklustre hotels located in terrible locations. Alila in itself was never meant to be an ultra-luxurious brand, the original hotels were rebadged Chedi and Serai hotels destined to be 4 and 3-star hotels by Adrian Zecha. That was, until Alila Villas Uluwatu opened, bringing the international spotlight to Alila as an ultra-luxurious eco-hotel brand. But one should bear in mind that Alilas Villas were supposed to be the premium version of Alila, like Park Hyatts are to a Hyatt Regency.

1
TN Churner Guest

I stayed there a few months ago. Booked directly into a suite. The room was gorgeous but there were so many issues with my stay. For some reason they were showing three rooms under my name instead of 2. That took a while to resolve. Then they said the second room wouldn't be available until 6pm (thankfully they had it ready by 4pm). At breakfast they had no kids menu and said breakfast was only included for two guests per room. I didn't make a fuss about because the breakfast platters were huge and our daughter probably would have shared with us anyway, but I did point to the Globalist Benefits in the WoH T&C when replying to the feedback email after the stay. The nail in the coffin was them charging the cash rate on top of the points booking that I had made on the second room. It took weeks to get this resolved and they were dragging their feet until I threatened a chargeback. I gave some very detailed feedback and criticism and didn't get any replies from the hotel. A real shame because the property is beautiful and the surrounding neighbourhood is very interesting. The hotel is also connected directly to a train station.

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