Bringing to the World a New Urban Spa on the Theme of Wellness
An urban spa will come into the world through the Umekita 2nd Project. Mr. Seki Hiroyuki, president and representative director of La Suite Co., Ltd. that operates Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland and Kobe Minato Onsen Ren, talked about the particulars of a new Urban Spa on the theme of wellness in the interview.
Operating Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland, certified as Japan’s first Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH), La Suite opened Kobe Minato Onsen Ren in 2015, a natural hot spring ryokan and day spa facility whose source originates 1,150m beneath Kobe Harbor. As a core tenant of Umekita 2nd Project South District’s commercial zone, it will open an Urban Spa with an area of approximately 6,000 square meters, the largest in the Kansai region.
“It will become a focal point for promoting wellness, not a leisure facility like the so-called ‘super sento’ luxury public baths. Ren is a ‘Spa-based Health Promotion Facility’ certified by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. There are just 23 locations in Japan (December 28, 2020, present), and this is the only one in the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe area. The newly born Urban Spa here will aim to be the first certified in Osaka Prefecture, and will make further advances based on the know-how amassed to date at Ren.”
At the newly planned Urban Spa, there will be three pillars set out on the theme of health. One is the “Hot bath zone”. At the natural hot spring that uses a source originating 1,150m beneath Kobe Harbor, planning is underway for a health promotion program in alliance with balneology specialists and universities. There are expected to be programs specializing in health and beauty for different conditions such as curing metabolic syndrome or high blood pressure, and improving immune strength, while bathing in the hot spring.
The second pillar is the “Exercise zone”. The plan is to install a 25m, proper fitness pool with cutting-edge images and acoustics using AR. The fitness club machines too will work by AI, and automatically offer a program to suit the person.
“The AR and VR business makes rapid advances. It evolves at immense speed. Technology in mind at present won’t necessarily be usable at the time of opening. We intend to operate flexibly and always be aware of the latest technology. We will also build the Infinity Pool that looks down on the abundantly green Urban Park. This is an outdoor heated pool that can be used 365 days regardless of the season, with plans for a jet massage using the flow of water. By using the flow of water, there is much less strain on the body compared to using pressure, and can be recommended for those even with backache and muscle stiffness.
Lastly is “Healthy eating”. Ren, too, offers healthy food based on Japanese cuisine. It also specializes in a menu for health and beauty, and offers a menu suitable for conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
“I hope to create a spa facility that will become a base for wellness tourism and, in extension, medical tourism that draws attention around the world. Of course, we are targeting foreign visitors too, not just Japanese people. In front of the spa is a MICE facility hosting international conferences and trade fairs, so it is a convenient location with a scheduled direct train connection with Kansai International Airport. We are planning for overseas visitors to Japan to be able to receive medical checks at the same time as enjoy the hot spring. Eventually, we are aiming to create somewhere as a base for visiting Japan for wellness tourism in Osaka, and a reason to visit Japan for the next generations”.
The plan is to provide a highly satisfactory service, easy to use on a wide range of levels, and loved by many people from whatever country.
“I hope to create a space where adults can relax. We originally started in the hotel business, so we can naturally respond with service in multiple languages. Also, Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland’s general manager Hiyama Kazushi is the first in the country to receive the Yellow Ribbon Medal in the restaurant service business, and is also a first-generation Maitre d’hotel contest champion. At the hotel, with Hiyama at the helm, we have a line-up of staff with an incredibly high sense of hospitality, who provide a heart-felt service to each of our guests in our 70 rooms. So the ground is already prepared for providing this high-quality service of a top-class hotel at the newly born Urban Spa. I am certain that the surrounding facilities will cooperate together with Umekita 2nd Project District for the entire town to become Japan’s landmark health city”.
A line-up of cutting-edge equipment and a new Urban Spa rooted in the Japanese spirit of hospitality, will cooperate together with the entire town to lay the foundations of a wellness city for living healthily and happily.
After graduating from the Department of Architecture, Waseda University, entered Taisei Corporation. In 1999, became independent, opened an Office of Registered Architect. In 2005, established La Suite Co., Ltd.; in 2008, opened Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland; in 2015, opened Kobe Minato Onsen Ren. First-class architect, first-class building operation and management engineer, certified building administrator, real estate notary.
photos: SADAHO NAITO text: AKIKO WAKIMOTO