SIX stars isn’t an official hotel rating, but if Capella Niseko delivers on its promises, it will deserve the tag. In the process it will launch Niseko into stellar international ski destination status.
Capella, the ‘world’s first six-star hotel and resort management company’, announced in April plans for a luxury resort – comprising an 80-room hotel and a mix of 100 villas, townhouses and condominiums for private sale – set on 13 hectares at Annupuri.
The team that will carry out the plan illustrates this is no ordinary project. Capella founder, president and CEO, German Horst Schulze, quit school at 14 to start work in the hotel industry. He later worked for Hyatt, Hilton and most notably served as vice chairman of Ritz-Carlton. He is respected as a world leader in the service industry.
The Capella philosophy is ‘the guest determines the experience at all times’. "The staff will operate as if they had a sixth sense," Shulze says. Capella will look after every element of a guest’s stay, such as "giving each guest the kind of pillow he wants. You can’t do that in a 300- or 400-room hotel."
Chief designer will be none other than Ando Tadao, one of the world’s most acclaimed architects. Despite never having received formal training in the field, Ando’s work has influenced a generation of architects. His trademark is the use of architectural themes that follow the natural forms of the landscape, so it will be very interesting to see his interpretation of the Niseko environment.
Project master planner is American Ben Wood, of BenWood Studio Shanghai. Wood’s defining work is Xintiandi, a luxury Shanghai shopping and entertainment district which appears to be an original old Shanghai streetscape, but is actually a completely new creation.
It’s expected Wood will similarly create Capella Niseko with an authentic traditional Japanese atmosphere, ‘incorporating Japanese architectural principals and aesthetics, employing materials like wood and screen, and interlinking paths, spaces, corridors and courtyards’.