Kyu Karuizawa is one of the most peaceful hotels ever experienced. The decor, while modern, is juxtaposed against the simple beauty of nature, with a courtyard is filled with trees that blossom from spring to fall. You can feel the tranquil energy as you walk throughout the property. The main attraction of the hotel is the restaurant, Le Signe, which is spearheaded by Executive Chef Soshi Ueno.
Chef Ueno was previously the Deputy Executive Chef of the two Michelin Star Restaurant Beige by Alain Ducasse, Tokyo in the coveted Ginza district of Tokyo. Foodies from around the world flock to the resort just to experience his tasting.
We had a chance to interview Ryosuke Saito, the Senior PR Manager of the hotel and discuss this unique property.
Destination Luxury: Who comes to the resort – can you tell us a bit about your clientele?
Saito: Historically the Karuizawa area has been a popular resort destination for people in a higher income bracket from all over Japan, including closer Metropolitan areas; nowadays it also attracts foreign tourists especially from Taiwan.
Destination Luxury: Who is the interior designer? What is the inspiration?
Saito: The interior is coordinated by ILYA Corporation which has project experiences both internationally and domestically. It has won many awards. The design is the reflection of the hotel’s concept “unpretentious time”.
Destination Luxury: What was the initial idea behind the hotel?
Saito: It is one of Japan’s venerable historic highland resorts and a boutique resort offering premium-quality services and a relaxing ambiance, however, the key identical distinguishing concept is ‘an unpretentious hotel for a socialite’s lifestyle.’ Our customers enjoy a relaxing ‘country house’ experience free from the dress code of the urban life and freedom from the restrictions imposed by the rules of daily life. It’s a place to reset your mind and body in our unpretentious casual atmosphere.
Destination Luxury: What makes the hotel unique?
Saito: Our butler service, for one. The butler will meet all of your expectations during your stay with us in a casual and comfortable atmosphere.
Also, it is a charitable hotel – a stay at Kyu Karuizawa Hotel brings happiness to someone. Kyu Karuizawa wants to make the special time you spend with us a special occasion of happiness for someone else in the world. A portion of sales we receive from your stay will be donated to Room-to-Read.
Destination Luxury: Can you talk a bit about the restaurant Le Signe?
Ryosuke Saito: With Soshi Ueno at the helm, expect mouth watering stylish French cuisine painstakingly prepared with strictly selected fresh seasonal ingredients, amid abundant natural surroundings far from the urban hustle and bustle.
According to Mr. Ueno, “The restaurant name ‘Le Signe’ means ‘a sign,’ in the sense of ‘a good omen or premonition,’ and was chosen with the desire to offer people a wonderful and unprecedented dining experience. We’ll be preparing dishes with the freshest local produce and other choice ingredients from around Japan and the world. We offer people a fresh dining experience cooking techniques and other delightful touches.”
Destination Luxury: What is Chef Ueno’s inspiration? Can you talk about that?
Ryosuke Saito: He is inspired by the nature and terror of the land. He feels emotion, the life of those ancestors and culture built by in each land. The sunlight filtering down through the trees, dry wood and fallen leaves gives him inspiration.
Destination Luxury: Tell us about the Mr. Yamamoto, the Sommelier’s, background:
Ryosuke Saito: Born 1965 in Nagano Prefecture. Mr. Yamamoto has served as manager, Chief Sommelier of Restaurant Mikuni Marunouchi in Tokyo. He acted as chief Executive Sommelier for the entire Mikuni Group and has won awards in many sommelier competitions including the Pommery Scholarship Sommelier Concours. In 2000 he served as a banquet sommelier for the Okinawa Summit, and in 2012 he was appointed Executive Sommelier at the Windsor Hotel Toya Resort & Spa. Mr. Yamamoto has studied under the renowned sommelier Shinya Tasaki.
Mr. Yamamoto also explains, “As a “butler sommelier,” I not only recommend wine but provide total support for our guests’ experience. At the Kyu Karuizawa Hotel, butlers are close at hand to serve the needs of guests from the moment they wake up to when they fall asleep at night, as part of our dedication to offering guests the most completely relaxing stay possible.”
Kyu Karuizawa Hotel is the ultimate destination for foodies and nature lovers. It is the perfect place to relax and unwind in a non-pretentious atmosphere. We were so impressed by attentive service, room amenities and most importantly the powerful energy that flows throughout the property. For more information about the hotel, the restaurant, or to book a room or make a reservations, visit Kyu Karuizawa.