If you’re looking to curl up in the lap of luxury, Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland will deliver on a silver platter.
The instant you walk in the door, the immense, crystal chandeliers and rich decor let you know you’re standing in the genuine article.
After a quick check-in I’m handed a key, and my partner and I follow the attendant up to our room. We’re here to pamper ourselves with a relaxing stay, and from our first glance at the accommodations, we know we’ve struck gold. Brocade upholstery, a private balcony, and a jacuzzi with an ocean view of Kobe’s chic Harborland await our pleasure.
In fact, La Suite intentionally delivers relaxation for all five senses: stunning views and beautiful interiors; a repertoire of relaxing atmospheric music when you enter your room; damask rose aromatherapy; thick, cushy slippers and leather-wrapped door handles; and food fit for royalty.
A lot of hotels like to wax grandiloquent about their sumptuous appointments, but La Suite delivers on a level which surpasses even the most stringent luxury standards, including those of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, a U.K.-based boutique hotel brand which in 2010 welcomed Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland to their roster as their first non-ryokan luxury hotel in Japan.
Yet part of what sets La Suite apart isn’t just that it’s “fit for a king” — but that it’s even more fit for a queen.
Special gifts for ladies at the registration counter? Check. SC. Cosmetics steam cream with gloves and socks for bed? Check. Ladies only spa? Check. Specialty blow dryers, facial masks, and a rose on the nightstand? Check, check, check.
Even the names of the two top floor suites lay it on the dotted line — Le Roi (The King) and La Leine (The Queen). While both are exquisitely regal, guess which one boasts the most sumptuous experience?
Sorry boys, but this is a “ladies first” establishment.
Not that there isn’t plenty of high-class R&R on hand for those of us without matching chromosomes. The lounge and bar which hosts live jazz every night, and maintains a premiere selection of single malt whiskeys and cuban cigars (seriously, how manly is that?!) will give every guy an attractive option to settle back for a couple hours while the missus visits the aesthetician down the hall.
And being conveniently located in the heart of Kobe’s Harborland, you’ll find no lack of ways to stay occupied. Following the Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, the City of Kobe started taking project proposals for rebuilding the Harborland waterfront commercial district — among them La Suite. Today La Suite stands as a crown jewel in one of the most chic districts in Japan.
The owners had the opulent vision of this hotel from the very beginning, however shortly after the hotel opened, the 2008 stock market crash threw the global financial system into turmoil, and many luxury establishments could read the writing on the wall. Yet even so, the customers kept flowing through the doors at La Suite.
Even with the economy in remission, business never slowed down, and through word-of-mouth La Suite’s popularity grew and grew. Today they average 90% capacity year round, with an abundance of repeat customers In 2014 through 2016, Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland achieved the highest review ranking in Japan on ikyu.com, Japan’s most popular hotel booking website. But to be honest, it’s hardly a surprise.
After all, the bar for indulgence doesn’t get much higher.
And speaking of indulgence, if the opulent rooms at La Suite don’t get you to schedule your next stay, then the food certainly will. Boasting not one, but two separate restaurants on-site — the elegant Restaurant Le Cœur Kobe and Teppanyaki Kokoro — you’ll have your choice between French and Japanese cuisine, each prepared by top-tier chefs. Locally sourced vegetables, fresh caught fish, and of course Kobe Beef, grace the menu at both establishments.
Breakfast, also available in Western and Japanese varieties, comes standard with each reservation. Starting out with a five star breakfast set the perfect tone for the day. In fact, the breads and pastries served by La Suite’s kitchen at breakfast are so delicious, they actually spun off into their own bakery, Le Pan Kobe Kitano, by popular demand.
As we strolled through the palatial garden in La Suite’s courtyard following our exquisite morning meal, we felt not as travelers whiling away a holiday, but as royalty visiting a vacation home.
Photographs & Text by Peter Chordas