Booming Fukuoka gets new hotel options

Visitors to the southern Japan city of Fukuoka - which placed 16th on the list of the "world's most liveable cities" in 2009 - have new accommodation options with the opening of the Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk, the Hilton chain's largest hotel in the Asia-Pacific region.

The hotel was until recently part of the Japan Airlines group but since the acquisition by Hilton work has begun on a $20 million refurbishment scheme.

Close to the waterfront district of Fukuoka, which is booming in terms of tourism and trade thanks to its strategic location as a gateway between China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, the hotel is part of the vast Hawks Town entertainment and shopping complex.

The largest such facility in Kyushu, the most southerly of Japan's four main islands, Hawks Town also incorporates the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome, the home stadium of the Softbank Hawks professional baseball team.

The hotel has 1,052 guest rooms and more than 6,000 square meters of event space, as well as three wedding chapels, making it one of the largest hotels in Japan. Other facilities include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a sauna, meeting and conference facilities and a 4,114-square-meter ballroom. The property is the Hilton group's ninth in Japan.

Describing the Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk as "a very welcome addition to our portfolio," Martin Rinck, president of Asia-Pacific operations for Hilton Worldwide, said, "The hotel's location in the city of Fukuoka is the perfect place from which to attract visitors from China and Korea where Hilton has strong brand presence."

The company is giving itself a head-start on other high-end hotel operators, which are presently under-represented in Fukuoka. Only the Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency operate up-market hotels in the city at present, although that is likely to change with the growing importance of the location.

The city is famous in Japan for its wide open, green spaces amid the urban center and is surrounded on three sides by mountains and opens out to the north onto the Sea of Genkai. Those natural attributes have encouraged the city elders to twin Fukuoka with Auckland, Bordeaux and Busan, in South Korea, among others.

It is also renowned within Japan for a number of festivals, including the Yamakasa festival, which can be traced back more than 700 years and is held over two weeks in July. The centerpiece of the festivities is teams from different districts of the city racing through the street carrying huge portable shrines.

Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk, 2-2-3 Jigyohama, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Japan 810-8650. Tel. +81 92 844 8111. Fax. +81 92 844 7887

http://www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/FUKHIHI-Hilton-Fukuoka-Sea-Hawk/index.do
   
 JR

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