Joshikai jamboree: Girls check in for a night out

July 7th, 2010 by Sandra Barron

No boys allowed. Hotel slumber parties for women only.

No boys allowed. Hotel slumber parties for women only.

Recently hotels across Japan have started offering special packages and huge discounts for weekday guests.

Having visions of a romantic getaway? That’s not exactly what the hoteliers have in mind. These deals are strictly for joshikai, women’s get-togethers. Credit for this trend should go to the second coming of those New York City ladies who brunch (“Sex and the City 2” made almost ¥1.3 billion in Japan in less than a month) and marketing aimed at encouraging single women in their late twenties and thirties spend their disposable income. According to Yahoo Value Insight, there’s been a significant jump in the number of restaurants,  spas and hotels offering women-only services this year.

Some hotel packages have special themes. All the slots for the “Sex and the City” package at the Royal Park Shiodome Tower sold out. Rooms on this plan come with clothes inspired by the movie for playing dress up and taking pictures. The Sweets Stay at a triple room in the Akasaka Excel Hotel includes room-service delivery of a whole cake with seasonal fruits.

During office-party season in March and April, the Shinagawa Prince Hotel had a mid-week package for about half the regular price per person based on the selling point that it’s near the train station. “You work hard, why not enjoy a little luxury and then roll right into work the next day?” the campaign suggested.

The Royal Park Hotel in Nihonbashi has a Summer Skin Care package. A stay comes with a gift pouch of skin treatments including bath salts, and the room has three special este treatment machines from Panasonic’s NanoCare line: the Night Steamer, Ion Steamer and, er, a hair dryer. They also have a “woman traveler desk” set up in the lobby.

Tokyo Disney Resort has a package for mothers and adult daughters, with a choice of several nearby hotels and entrance to the park.

The Westin in Ebisu now has a Ladies’ Executive Plan that comprises a dinner, including the hotel’s own branded beef from molasses-fed cattle; use of the executive club lounge; and a luxe room with touches, like a marble vanity, meant to appeal to women.

At the cheaper end of the spectrum, Super Hotel City Kumamoto, way down in Kyushu, will guarantee two rooms next door to each other so groups can hang out and enjoy the on-site natural hotspring all together. They don’t mention too many fancy amenities, but prices start at under ¥2,500 per person per night.

Nozomi Hattori, a 37-year-old librarian living in Tokyo, spent a night at the Westin in Ebisu with two girlfriends. They got individual spa treatments at the hotel’s Le Spa Parisien, then ordered room service and watched DVD’s. “It wasn’t too expensive, but it was luxurious,” she says. “I felt like a celebrity.”

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