Nobu Hospitality Launches In Europe With A Whirlwind Road Trip

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Nobu Hospitality is ranked among an elite selection of global luxury brands. Founded by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Hollywood legend Robert De Niro and movie producer, Meir Teper, with operations spanning five continents, the Nobu brand thrives in the world’s capitals as the ultimate destination lifestyle experience.

I had the pleasure of accompanying the trio (the three main stakeholders) on a road trip from London, to Marbella, and finally to Ibiza. The purpose of the road trip was for chef Nobu to officially launch all three hotels and conduct the traditional Japanese Sake Ceremonies. The group is well on their way to realizing their ambitious plan of launching twenty new hotels in twenty locations by 2020.

In 2013, the first Nobu Hotel opened within Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas  followed by Nobu Hotel Shoreditch London and Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay in 2017 and Nobu Hotel Marbella in 2018.

Robert De Niro, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Meir Teper & Trevor Horwell (CEO) at the Nobu Hotel in Marbella for the official ‘Sake Ceremony’ marking the official opening of the Nobu Hotel and restaurant in Marbella, Spain.
Robert De Niro, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Meir Teper & Trevor Horwell (CEO) at the Nobu Hotel in Marbella for the official ‘Sake Ceremony’ marking the official opening of the Nobu Hotel and restaurant in Marbella, Spain.

Photo Credit: Justin Kernoghan

After a few days on the road, the group finally get to sit down and have a chat over a cup of tea. Meir explained that after they opened their first hotel in Vegas, the expansion happened at a much faster pace than any of them could have imagined, he says, “Since starting Nobu Hotels, our intention is nothing less than to stir the hospitality industry and change the game. With each property taken from the inspiration of Nobu’s very first restaurant, we are consistently channeling this important signpost on an international level and it will remain the main challenge for Nobu Hotels.”

Robert De Niro, Daniel Shamoon, Chef Nobu, and Meir Teper
Robert De Niro, Daniel Shamoon, Chef Nobu, and Meir Teper

Photo Credit: Fox PR

De Niro, goes on to elaborate about how the whole Nobu Hotels concept came to fruition, he recalls, “Nobu restaurants were asked to be in a lot of places, in hotels and shopping centers. We were asking, if we’re going into those places, why not do this ourselves? If you’re giving credibility and cachet to a place, why? We have something people want, to elevate their brand.”

Nobu Pool-2Photo Credit: Fox PR

Over the duration of the road trip I had the pleasure and honor of attending all three sake ceremonies. The Sake Ceremony originates from the Japanese culture and it was at Chef Nobu’s suggestion that they began to incorporate it for the launch of their new ventures.

Meir has attended the ceremonies since Nobu first started performing them for Nobu Hospitality and shared his thoughts on this sacred tradition, “The Sake Ceremony is a special Japanese tradition that we perform to mark the official opening of the restaurants. It is a custom where a sake barrel is filled with Nobu’s signature sake and we break open the barrel with wooden mallets. The sake is then served to everyone present and a toast is then made to signal good fortune and an official welcome.”

Meir Teper, Chef Nobu, Robert De Niro, Trevor Horwell, Hiro Tahara, Daniel Shamoon
Meir Teper, Chef Nobu, Robert De Niro, Trevor Horwell, Hiro Tahara, Daniel Shamoon

Photo Credit: Fox PR

Striving for more than restaurants and hotels, the Nobu hospitality team is planning to expand with the Nobu Residences project at the same speed. Meir is very confident that they will achieve their goals, “Our vision is to open 20 hotels by 2020, and yes that includes residences too. Other areas we are expanding into include Barcelona, Riyadh, Los Cabos, Chicago, Toronto, Sao Paulo, Atlanta and Tel Aviv.”

180517_Nobu_Event_AR_004[1]Photo Credit: Fox PR

Their mission is to stand out from the crowd, and not to follow in the footsteps of other luxury hotel chains. De Niro is determined that they will remain unique, “What makes the hotels special, is creating a destination restaurant, where locals, tastemakers come to dine and Nobu Hotels is extending that into the night. We also have a clear focus on exceptional quality, great service and charismatic design.”

Chef Nobu chimes in with the last word, claiming that each and every hotel will reflect the characteristics of each location, “At Nobu Hotels, nothing is carbon copy. Each hotel mirrors the personality of that given location. From David Rockwell’s beach-house inspired rooms in Miami to the street art feel of London’s Shoreditch hotel – every property feels like the place that it’s in. It’s the same with the restaurants, we use locally sourced and fresh ingredients and the menu is slightly tailored to reflect its location. In terms of keeping things connected globally we set a standard and we stick to it.”

Robert De Niro & Chef Nobu Matsuhisa at the Nobu Hotel in Ibiza for the official Sake Ceremony
Robert De Niro & Chef Nobu Matsuhisa at the Nobu Hotel in Ibiza for the official Sake Ceremony

Photo Credit: Justin Kernoghan

After spending a few days with this trio it is clear to see that everything they touch turns to gold. Whether it be the movie business or hospitality, they certainly seem to have the x factor that makes them unique and stand out in a saturated market. The respect and honesty in this partnership is clearly visible, and I wish them the very best of luck, and look forward to hearing more about the world domination of Nobu hospitality.

Rates at Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay start at €630 (approx. £550) per night, based on double occupancy. The hotel is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Visit: www.nobuhotelibizabay.com.

Rates at Nobu Hotel Marbella start at €295 (approx. £258 per night, based on double occupancy. Visit: www.nobuhotelmarbella.com

Rates at Nobu Hotel Shoreditch: Deluxe start from £195 and Suites range from £395 – £845. Visit: www.nobuhotelshoreditch.com

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