ATONA, Hyatt’s New Japanese Ryokan Brand

Hyatt just announced the details of its newest hotel brand, and I’m excited to see it.

Hyatt forms Japanese ryokan joint venture

Hyatt and Kiraku have entered into a strategic joint venture that will see the launch of the ATONA brand. This is a collection of modern hot spring ryokans (Japanese-style inns) in Japan, catering to travelers from around the world.

“ATONA” is described as an expression of deep connection, a combination of two ancient Japanese words meaning “me and you”. Development plans are expected to be announced soon, and the first property is expected to open in 2025.

Hyatt and Kiraku will each own 50% of the joint venture and leverage their strengths to develop the new offering. The ATONA brand is managed independently by a team of hospitality professionals who understand both Japanese culture and international hotel standards.

This is how the ATONA concept is described:

The ATONA brand will express the unique charm of each region’s architecture, design, cuisine, activities and hospitality through the ryokan experience. Revolving around the onsen (hot spring), a valuable part of Japanese culture, the ryokans built by the joint venture will feature a modernized style that will serve as a starting point for each guest’s journey to Japan. Set amid breathtaking landscapes, each offers new experiences and discoveries inside and outside the ryokan that are unique to their location.

Offering bespoke experiences and warm Japanese hospitality away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the ATONA brand experience inspires guests to feel the deep wisdom hidden in nature and a peaceful place to reconnect with themselves.

Hyatt opens a new hotel brand in Japan

This hotel concept sounds like it could be great

Details on ATONA are limited at the moment, but the concept sounds exciting to me. All too often we see the big hotel groups simply rolling out the same cookie cutter concepts while this is something new for at least one of the “big players”. A few thoughts and questions:

  • Although this is a joint venture, it sounds to me like these hotels will be fully branded as Hyatts, meaning I would expect full participation in World of Hyatt etc; after all, one of the things Hyatt is bringing to the table here is its international customer base
  • It’s not entirely clear how premium this brand will be and where it will fall into Hyatt’s portfolio; will these be upscale, luxurious or what?
  • The press release emphasizes several times how this is aimed at “world travelers”, so I suspect this will be a bit watered down compared to the traditional ryokan experience; That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it means the beds and furniture might be comfortable (by international standards) and the experience might not be as austere (as it can sometimes be in a ryokan).
  • For me personally, this is the most exciting new brand concept Hyatt has introduced in years; To me, that has more pull than Hyatt’s entire multi-billion dollar acquisition of Apple Leisure Group
It’s exciting to see Hyatt getting into the ryokan business

bottom line

ATONA is Hyatt’s newest hotel brand and will consist of a collection of modern-style hot spring ryokans. The opening of the first object is expected in 2025, but beyond that the details are currently very limited. We don’t know where the hotels will be or exactly what they will look like (besides the general concept). I look forward to learning more about this brand.

What do you think of Hyatt’s new ATONA concept?

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