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Ritz-Carlton Hotel President Simon Cooper
 Optimistic Over New Hotel in Tokyo
By Mai Iida, Kyodo News International, TokyoMcClatchy-Tribune Business News

Mar. 28, 2007 - TOKYO -- Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. President Simon Cooper on Wednesday expressed confidence that his new hotel opening in Tokyo on Friday can win the competition against other overseas luxury hotel chains.

The U.S. company is opening the hotel in a new landmark business and commercial complex called the Tokyo Midtown in the Roppongi district, following the creation in the capital of Mandarin Oriental, Conrad, and Grand Hyatt hotels in the past few years.

In addition, a Peninsula hotel is scheduled to open in September in the Hibiya district.

"We don't think we are vulnerable," Cooper said at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, citing his hotel's "outstanding" location, facilities and service.

"You can't overcome location easily, you can't overcome product easily. So it's very important to have those foundations," Cooper said. On top of that, Ritz-Carlton boasts good service with skilled employees, he said.

Guest room charges at the new hotel will range from 68,250 yen for a 52-square-meter deluxe room to 2.1 million yen for a 300-square-meter suite.

Situated on the former Defense Agency site in the rapidly changing area of Roppongi, the hotel will occupy a 54-story building's top nine floors for its 250 guest rooms, restaurants, bars, health club and spa, and some lower floors for meetings and wedding parties.

Cooper said the hotel business is one of the most profitable sectors in the travel industry, compared with travel agencies and airlines, and that demand has been exceeding supply over the past four or five years.

"That is a time to end (it) this year. We are going to begin to see global supply catch up with global demand," he said, adding that luxury hotels represent one of the strongest segments in the hotel business.

The new hotel will be the second Ritz-Carlton hotel in Japan, following the first one in Osaka in 1997.

The president said he is interested in opening another, in Kyoto, in the future.

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To see more of Kyodo News International, go to http://www.kyodonews.com

Copyright (c) 2007, Kyodo News International, Tokyo

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