InterContinental Hotels Group’s boutique lifestyle brand has debuted in Japan with the opening of Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora. Located in the mountainous precinct of the Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan’s first Hotel Indigo brings the brand’s strength as a neighborhood storyteller to guests with unique experiences that explore Gora’s history, its breathtaking vistas, local culinary delights, and hot springs culture.
Introducing a new way to explore Hakone Gora
Hakone Gora is a town of two tales: a century-old town cherished by Japan’s intellectuals and socialites as an escape from the bustling cities since the Meiji-period, while opening the gateway to vibrant nature, pastel-colored onsens, contemporary museums and digital art for a modern getaway.
Located just 1.5 hours from Tokyo, the mountainous town is accessible by the Hakone Tozan Railway which opened in 1919, quickly cementing the town as a popular travel destination. Over its 100-year history, stories collected from along the Hayakawa river where the hotel now resides, from Gora’s ancestors and visitors who came to the town to find new life among the cherry blossom hot spot.
Today, these stories from the Hotel Indigo neighborhood experience where guests can immerse themselves in history through the hotel’s artwork and design, local menus, onsen experience, and cultural workshops.
The Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora experience
Design is an integral part of the guest experience, drawing inspiration from the neighborhood to influence its interior. Ancient patterns from local Yosegi-zaiku woodwork have inspired wood patterns throughout the hotels’ lobby, parquetry woodwork decorating the ceilings and guest rooms, while contemporary artwork brings to life Hakone’s nature through ukiyo-e paintings, fireflies, fallen leaves, and mountainous landscapes.
The hotel features 98 rooms and suites, with each room offering its own natural hot spring bath in-room or open-air bath on the balcony. Nostalgia and novelty sit at the core of the design, with playful bed headboard artwork from Studio Cafe SHIMA that reflects the early Showa-period scenery of Gora. Quirky motifs can be found throughout the photography, including a courier man dressed in traditional costume holding a ‘selfie stick’; a classic bus painted with the Yosegi-zaiku pattern; soccer players; and a UFO or drone mid-flight.
The epicurean entertainment of “fire” and “water”
The hotel’s restaurant and bar philosophy have been inspired by the elements of Japan. Riverside Kitchen & Bar is the signature dining destination that brings to life the ‘fire’ element with its large firewood oven centerpiece and innovative menu from Executive Chef, Patrick Morris. The restaurant uses locally sourced ingredients such as Ashigara meat and fresh seafood from the Odawara markets. ‘Water’ is embodied through the Bar & Lounge philosophy, a stunning lounge with cocktail specialties including the Mikan Mimosa made from fresh Odawara oranges and classic drinks such as the ‘INDI五’ (Indi Go), a craft beer brewed in collaboration with Kamakura Beer.