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The Pavilions opening in Hokkaido

The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts in Niseko, Hokkaido, will feature 40 rooms with a spa, an onsen and a fine dining restaurant.

Hong Kong-based The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts is ready to break ground on The Ginto Residences in Niseko, Hokkaido this month, paving the way to enhance its elite residential projects across Asia and Europe.

Founder and chief executive Gordon Oldham said the group is investing more than 3 billion baht to develop 31 private villas in Niseko, with 16 plots already sold in phase one to Hong Kong and Singaporean buyers.

Next to The Ginto Residences, the company is developing The Pavilions Niseko, a hotel that will feature 40 rooms with a spa, an onsen and a fine dining restaurant.

"In Niseko, guests will experience world-class winter skiing and summertime hiking. I believe The Ginto Residences will be successful in attracting both upscale Thai and international buyers and travellers," said Mr Oldham.

Japan's tourism authority said the country welcomed 24 million international arrivals in 2016, which it expects to increase to 40 million when the Summer Olympics takes place in 2020.

In 2016, Japan welcomed 901,525 Thai tourists, up from 796,731 in 2015. The number of Japanese arrivals in Thailand has also been rising, ranking fourth among nationalities in 2016 with 1.44 million tourists.

Mr Oldham said hotel residences still draw investment despite growing competition in the market because everyone who owns hotels these days seems to be putting residences on the side. However, as a lifestyle option, he expects hotel residences to have enduring appeal.

"Alternative accommodation is designed for whoever wants to live a lifestyle different from that found in normal hotels and houses," he said.

On the trend of owning hotel residences, Mr Oldham said that they are ideal to provide a big-family experience while luxury real estate also provides buyers with a second home, weekend hideaways and investment opportunities.

"One of the worst things about owning a second home is feeling obliged to go to it. But owning hotel residences is an alternative choice to make use of it to be a real hideaway and place to relax," he said.

Mr Oldham said hotel residences are becoming a worldwide trend and are emerging because people have a connection and confidence in brands, which creates a strong desire to buy into a similar experience with property they own.

"The big difference between owning a luxury second home and a hotel residence is property maintenance, as hotel residences will always be well looked after by the hotel staff even when owners are away," he said.

The Pavilions' footprint in Asia includes Phuket, Bali, and Nepal, while aggressive expansion over the past 18 months in Europe has seen properties added to Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome and a pipeline project in Lisbon.

The Bali property opened in 2000 followed by The Pavilions Phuket.

The Pavilions Phuket Residences comprises a collection of three- and four-bedroom villas and two-bedroom penthouses, located on one of Phuket's highest points, with panoramic views of the island's west coast scenery.

The Pavilions is also creating The Pavilion Residences Lisbon, Portugal, which will mark the luxury residential concept's European debut.

The Pavilions Lisbon and The Pavilions Niseko are scheduled to open in 2019.

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