The Ascott Limited has introduced its second Lyf property in Japan with the official opening of Lyf Ginza.
VIP guests, investors, and local and international media gathered at the colourful 140-room property on Wednesday January 17 to hear from the hotel team and Ascott executives, following its soft opening in November 2023.
Rather than a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony, the opening event saw the unveiling of a custom artwork made from pre-loved children’s toys. The local artist behind the piece described how it represents a longing for connection and a place to call home – a nod to Lyf’s core values of community and connectedness.
Located in one of the city’s top shopping districts, Lyf Ginza follows the opening of Lyf Fukuoka, on the southwestern island of Kyushu, in 2021.
Art and design is a central theme throughout the property with hand painted murals and animated wallpaper adorning the walls and ceilings.
With a selection of room types available, including studio, two-bedroom and 20sqm triple room offerings, guests can enjoy privacy as well as social interaction with other guests as they wish in the shared spaces such as the co-working lounge, street-level cafe and bar Refuel and communal kitchen.
Speaking exclusively to HM, The Ascott Limited’s Country General Manager for Japan, Christian Baudat, said the property celebrates a lesser-known side of Ginza – its art and culture.
“I think what makes it unique is the contrast between the type of property in this location,” Baudat said.
“When you think of Ginza, you think ‘posh’ and ‘upscale’, but behind the hustle and bustle of the station and all the flashy flagship stores, we’ve got the back streets with all of the artists and galleries, and you find yourself in a place which is very much Japan.”
Formerly a capsule business hotel, the property has been completely transformed to meet the needs of the Lyf traveller.
“This is a very good example of a conversion,” Baudat said.
“There are a lot of business hotels around and, as the enterprise category is struggling, it has provided a good opportunity for owners to rebrand. It was done in a way that it works well for the investors and the guest experience.
“From an operations point of view, we’re lean and mean, but we focus on the friendly, genuine touch points.”
The opening comes as Ascott seeks to redefine the ‘coliving’ concept, evolving the brand to be inclusive to a broader demographic and expanding its reach to include unique destinations from CBD laneways to mountainside ski resorts.
Baudat said there is no ‘typical’ Lyf guest, with travellers of all ages showing interest in the brand.
“Lyf Fukuoka was my first introduction to Lyf and I was amazed to see [such a wide range of guests]: young couples, groups of 65-70-year-old Korean ladies, Japanese seniors seeking value for money,” he explained.
“We have a lady in her forties from Singapore who has been staying with us for 20 nights. She came right at the beginning, and she says that she loves the atmosphere.
“We’re not restricting ourselves to under-30 guests or anything like that, we’re inclusive to all types of travellers.”
Baudat said the Lyf concept cannot be treated like a traditional hotel and that it’s the team on the ground is what ultimately makes it a success.
“I remember Lee Chee Koon, our [former Ascott] CEO, said we cannot manage it like a hotel,” Baudat recalled.
“Even if things are not done in the most orthodox of ways, what is important is how the guest is enjoying it. I have to be careful not to get too involved.”
While Lyf is just at the beginning of its journey in Japan, Baudat is confident that there are many more opportunities for this brand in Tokyo and throughout the country.
“Tokyo is such a big metropolis – we can do one in Shibuya, one in Yokohama, in Chinatown – there are a lot of opportunities,” he said.