083Stories Behind The Scene Part 1: Transforming Hotels Into A “City Square”

2022.1.14 Fri.

In the 1970s, hotels were seen mainly as an accommodation for travelers or frequented only by a limited number of people for special occasions. Keio Plaza Hotel was the first hotel in Japan to advocate a new image for hotels by being a “Plaza” - where a wide range of guests can gather and relax.

In the 1960s, as internationalization accelerated and the world changed drastically, with events such as Tokyo Olympics and the launch of large jet aircraft, Tokyo announced the "Shinjuku Subcenter Plan" on the west side of Shinjuku Station with the aim of creating a model city for a new era.

In response to this redevelopment plan, Keio Plaza Hotel’s first CEO, Sadao Inoue walked with shoes muddied in a Susuki grass field around the site of the Yodobashi water purification plant whilst incepting the future image of the city.
Since there is always a “city square” in the development of countries around the world, Sadao Inoue set out with the idea of making Keio Plaza Hotel function as a "square" and thus making the whole city vibrant.

On 5 June 1971, “a city square (Plaza) that brings everyone together” can be found on newspapers advertising Keio Plaza Hotel’s opening day and in business magazines. Many celebrities spoke about Keio Plaza Hotel’s unprecedented “Plaza” with high hopes; “There is no such place as liberating as a city square” - Taro Okamoto, Painter. “For the first time, a place for everyone is being created in a city where there once wasn’t a place for everyone.” - Ikuma Dan, Composer.*

With the intention of becoming “the heart of a dynamic new city” at the time of our opening, Keio Plaza Hotel has aimed to be a plaza for countless encounters and unforgettable memories. A place where people of all ages, nationalities, and race come and go. This “Plaza" philosophy that has been passed down through generations, is also the basis of our hospitality and remains unchanged even half a century after our opening.

*Source: "KEIO PLAZA HOTEL TOKYO 1971" (Issued June 1, 1971)