Adrian Zecha, founder of Aman, alongside Japanese hospitality group Naru Developments, announce the launch of their new brand Azumi. The brand will offer a fresh take on the Japanese ryokan by combining the wholehearted, personal hospitality that characterizes a traditional stay with the best elements of the global hotel experience. The first Azumi property is scheduled to open in the Setouchi Region of Japan in spring 2021 on one of the islands in Setouchi Region (the Seto Inland Sea).
The ryokan, a type of Japanese inn, can be traced back to as early as the 8th century, serving as a waypoint for weary travelers to refuel and rest overnight. While modern hotels have been developed in their numbers, the ryokans still found scattered across Japan continue to preserve a more traditional lifestyle: immersing guests into time-honored customs and hospitality. At the heart of the ryokan is the warm and sincere welcome offered, comparable to a personal invitation from the aruji (head of the house). Azumi will take this cultural framework and infuse it with a quality offering that appeals to the modern, global traveler. The balance between tradition and innovation is integral to all parts of the brand, demonstrated through everything from the design, service, food and beverage, to wellness and cultural programming.
The team has spent time over the past four years with Shiro Miura, a Kyoto architect specializing in Japanese design and architecture, to find the right harmony between traditional design and modernized comfort for the brand. Shiro has brought in artisans, artists, and gardeners to add layers of expertise to the project. The process centers on a respect for established culture and local community, while seeking to adapt and reuse for future generations.
Photo: Courtesy of Azumi