Despite his many successful ventures, Okura had an ambitious dream in which his international entrepreneurial spirit and his sensitivity to and respect for authentic traditions were combined. He wanted to open an international hotel where centuries-old Japanese traditions would meet Western comforts. Rather than only a place to stay, it was to be a luxurious haven. Where guests from all over the world are welcomed by hostesses in traditional kimonos. Where the finest chefs prepare exquisite delicacies and dishes from Japanese cuisine. A hotel where everyone feels welcome. A hotel that lives and breathes omotenashi: the art of Japanese hospitality that is both omnipresent yet non-intrusive and respectful of distance. Okura was a determined man, and he finally achieved his dream at the age of 80. In 1962, the very first Okura Hotel opened its doors in his native Tokyo.
Okura was fortunate enough to see his dream come true – and to see how his guests enjoyed the blend of East and West, the luxury, and the omotenashi. When this pioneer died a year later, his dream did not die with him. Quite the opposite, in fact. The chain expanded throughout Japan and spread its wings into Europe. In 1971, Amsterdam had the honour of opening the second Okura Hotel. And that was no coincidence. The friendly and intense relations between Japan and the Netherlands date back more than three hundred years. Since the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Netherlands has made a significant contribution to Japan’s development by sharing knowledge and through trade and shipbuilding.
And now it is time to celebrate a landmark moment in our history; Hotel Okura Amsterdam has been welcoming guests for fifty years, inspired by the style of Baron Okura, combining authentic Japanese traditions with the finest expression of Western luxury. With great grandson Kikuhiko Okura’s appointment as president of Hotel Okura Amsterdam in January 2020, this family tradition well and truly lives on. Just as the history of Baron Okura lives on through this inspiring story. That is what we call art. The Art of Memories. The Art of Okura.