【Special Interview】 The Tokyo Station Hotel x lyf Ginza Tokyo Talking about “Tokyo” hotels ranked in the top 10 of “The World’s Best Cities” 2024

A special interview was held between two popular HafH partner hotels, the The Tokyo Station Hotel located in the Marunouchi Station Building of Tokyo Station, and lyf Ginza Tokyo, which opened in Ginza in November 2023.

We invited Ms. Chitose Yagi, Deputy General Manager Marketing & Sales of Tokyo Station Hotel, and Ms. Eri Inoue, Cluster lyf Champion (lyf General Manager) of lyf Ginza Tokyo . These two hoteliers from central Tokyo with different characteristics talked about hotels in “Tokyo,” which is ranked in the top 10 best cities in the world.

The special conversation was facilitated by Hisae Yanai, Executive Officer of KabuK Style, Inc.

The venue was the Ambassador Suite at the Tokyo Station Hotel.

The Ambassador Suite is located on the 4th floor, the top floor of the hotel, and has a special atmosphere.

[Chitose Yagi Profile]

Assistant General Manager, Marketing & Sales, The Tokyo Station Hotel

Ms. Yagi joined the corporate office of Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in 1996, where she was involved in worldwide hotel reservations and later gained experience in the sales and marketing department. She has worked as Regional Sales Director at Peninsula Hotels, Sales Manager at Strings Hotel Tokyo InterContinental, Director of Sales & Marketing at The Westin Tokyo, and Director of Marketing and Lodging at Hotel Gajoen Tokyo before moving to Tokyo Station Hotel in 2019. as Assistant General Manager Marketing & Sales in 2019.

[Eri Inoue Profile]

Eri Inoue worked for hotels in China, Korea, and Singapore for 12 years from 2005 before returning to Japan. She was mainly engaged in sales & marketing and launching new hotels and rebranded hotels. In June 2021, he joined Ascott Japan Co., Ltd. and assumed the position of lyf champion (manager) of lyf Tenjin Fukuoka. She is multilingual, fluent in 4 languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean. She is addicted to hot yoga while spending her days working and taking care of her 5-year-old daughter.

-First of all, you both have worked in the hotel industry for a long time.

Can you tell us how you came to work in the hotel industry?

Ms. Eri Inoue (Inoue):

When I was a student, I worked part-time at a hotel banquet hall. I found it very interesting to see the teamwork of everyone working together to create the space and how the space was transformed.

Ms. Chitose Yagi (Yagi):

During my overseas experience, I saw a Japanese female receptionist serving customers in a large hotel in London, among a large number of local staff. I was impressed to see her working with people from all over the world with a lively smile on her face. I was impressed by the way she worked with people from all over the world with a smile on her face, and I wanted to take on the challenge of working in an industry where women can be active on a global scale.

-I think hotel trends are changing a little bit with the times.

From the perspective of two long-time professionals, what do you see as the trends for hotels and travel in 2024? 

Yagi: At this time of year, various trend information starts to appear in the tourism industry, and I thought the keyword “a la carte luxury” was interesting.

Due to the recent high prices of commodities, people are usually a bit thrifty, but they are willing to splurge on petite luxuries and unusual experiences here and there. I believe that the free use of hotels, which does not fit into the conventional travel mold, will continue to expand.

Inoue: “lyf Ginza Tokyo” is positioned as a hotel that blends into everyday life, rather than the opposite of luxurious, but it attracts a diverse range of people. There are people who have carefully used old suitcases for many years, and there are also people who come casually and enjoy themselves. I think it’s very freeing.

In the past, the defaults for airplane seats, travel style, and hotel accommodations were fixed, but now the trend is for guests to customize their own travel experience.

Yagi: The concept of a hotel is also becoming more diverse, and it is no longer “price equals hotel class” as it used to be. There are hotels that are reasonably priced but have a high design quality, and the ways to enjoy them are further expanding. The diversification of hotels also leads to the diversification of travel, doesn’t it?

-What do you think about the spread of diversity, which has been mentioned for quite some time?

Inoue: I see that word has been mentioned (laughs). (Laughs.) If I talk about it properly, I won’t be able to finish it in a day. (Laughs) The only thing I can say is that in Japan, people are still talking about it. Overseas, it’s standard and it’s not even talked about.

Yagi: That’s right. We live in an age of 100 years, so I think it is necessary to recognize diversity in terms of age, gender, etc. as a matter of course. And I think it should be fair.

Yanai: Each person has a role to play, and it is important to have mutual respect for that role.

-Thank you very much. Next, let me ask you about your respective hotels. With the expansion of diverse travel styles, is there anything you would like to focus more on as a hotel in 2024? 

Inoue: “Community. The first lyf brand hotel in Japan was in Fukuoka, and since its opening, I have been focusing on creating a community as the manager. Tokyo has a different population and market, and there are people of many different nationalities, so it will be challenging to create a community in a different way than in Fukuoka.

On the other hand, if the hotel does not lead the community, it will become uncomfortable, and this will affect the hotel’s branding.

It is a difficult balance to strike between “selective but open community building. It is a difficult balance, but it is important to stand firm with a quality that can improve our positioning, so 2024 is the year to step up to the plate.

Yagi: In order to become a hotel of choice, it is important to understand and create unique added value, and I believe that quality is only enhanced by the thoughts of those who work there and each effort that is made in unseen places.

Also, selective, in the sense that “the hotel chooses its guests,” the power of design is very important!

-Both hotels are outstanding in design. Do you have any recommendations for how to spend your time at each hotel? 

Yagi: Tokyo Station Hotel is celebrating 108 years in business this year, and along with its history, it has a wealth of stories to tell. There are over 100 photographs and artwork that tell these stories displayed in the corridors of the guest rooms as galleries.

Inoue: Lovely! It’s like a museum.

Yagi: Yes, it is. 40 of them have QR codes on them, which guests can enjoy on their own devices along with audio guides in Japanese and English.

Yanai: The Tokyo Station Hotel also has many projects associated with British brands, such as the Laura Ashley concept room and the Globe-Trotter collaboration.

Yagi: That’s right. The architecture of this station building was designed not by a Westerner but by a Japanese architect, Kingo Tatsuno, and it is an architectural style called “Tatsuno style free classic,” influenced by the British architecture of the time. The current hotel interior was also designed by a British design firm when the hotel reopened 11 years ago.

There are many design ties with England, and there is probably an affinity between the two countries.

-What is your recommendation for spending time in lyf Ginza Tokyo? 

Inoue:We do not recommend any particular way to spend your time at lyf Ginza Tokyo, as we believe that each guest should be free to choose according to his/her own style. You can work or enjoy your time to the fullest. One of the values of this space is that it has a casual atmosphere where guests can casually drop in and spend their time as they please.

Yagi: The space and design naturally select guests, don’t they? There is no need for us to do anything.

Inoue: I feel that the space speaks for itself.

It is not the same kind of hotel where you don’t know where you are when you stay, but you know where you are when you wake up in the morning. You are in a good space! It is very important to be able to feel that you are in a good space.

Yagi:After all, “price is rank” is no longer the key, and the definition of a hotel’s value is becoming broader.

-Finally, is there anything you want to request to  HafH from hotel, or anything you find interesting? 

Inoue: I kind of know what it’s like to be a neighbor at HafH. They are a little bit sophisticated! Like the ones who seem to want to take pictures, or the ones who talk to you. I feel that the overwhelming majority of them have a spirit of sharing, of communicating and telling others about how good the hotel is.

I would be happy to have a chance to communicate with a few more Neighbors. I would like to have a more casual conversation with them, not about customer service, but about what kind of travel style they like. I think it would be fun to have a chance to have more casual conversations with them, and that is something you don’t find very often in other places.

Yagi: At HafH, we also want our guests to enjoy “a la carte luxury” at the hotel using their accumulated coins. We are also pleased that one woman can treat herself, or two women can use the coins for their anniversary, or invite their parents to stay with them as a filial piety.

The coin system is truly unique, even on a global scale, and I would like to see HafH take off further into the world. I am looking forward to it.

Yanai: Thank you very much. We also had a lot of hotel talk in this interview, and I am looking forward to the increasingly diverse forms of travel in 2024.

Inoue: Please enjoy and compare various types of hotels and find your own preferences! I think such a way of traveling is also fun.

Yagi: Hotels and the value of travel will become wider and wider, and stays will become more and more diverse. I think it will be a year in which hotel stays will become even more enjoyable!

The Tokyo Station Hotel

1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

2050-5050 coins | 1-2 people

Click here to add to favorites and make reservations

lyf Ginza Tokyo

2-5-4 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

650-900 coins | 1-2 people

Click here to add to favorites and make reservations

~ lyf Ginza Tokyo Winter Promotion~

Promotion period: stays between December 21, 2023 and February 29, 2024

Promotion Benefit 1: Opening Celebration! Limited number of coins available for a limited time!

The number of coins may change daily.

Promotional Benefit 2: Enjoy your stay with special offer depending on the date of stay.

– Stay until February 29, 2024: Late check-out available on weekdays only! Usual check-out time is 11:00, but can be extended until 12:00 depending on room availability.

– Stay from March 1 until March 14, 2024: You can get “lyf eco-friendly cutlery set” as a gift! (1 item per reservation, per room)

This article was created based on the information available at time of publication.