IHG to bring 2023-launched Garner brand to Japan

Pictured is [L-R]: Abhijay Sandilya (IHG Hotels & Resorts), Sam Lau (Axe Management Partners), Elie Maalouf (IHG Hotels & Resorts), Gary Kwok (Axe Management Partners), Kenneth Macpherson (IHG Hotels & Resorts).
IHG Hotels & Resorts has announced the signing of a letter of intent to launch its midscale conversion brand, Garner, in Japan later this year.

Following the brand’s launch in August 2023, with its first hotel opening soon after that in Seattle, this milestone marks the first LOI signing for a Garner hotel outside of North America.

Plans for brand growth

IHG launched Garner in 2023 with plans to bring 500 hotels into the brand’s portfolio over the next 10 years, and 1,000 hotels over the next 20 years.

IHG entered into this agreement to debut Garner in Japan in the second half of 2024 with Axe Management Partners. The agreement will see IHG launch three conversion hotels under this brand in Osaka. Together, these hotels will add 500 additional rooms to IHG’s growing estate in Japan.

Elie Maalouf, CEO, IHG Hotels. & Resorts, commented on the partnership: “The first Garner LOI signing outside of North America is a significant milestone for the brand, and one we are very excited about.”

“Japan is well-known for its high-quality domestic midscale hotels, and we think Garner is the perfect brand to help take them to a global stage with IHG’s powerful systems, world-class technology, market leading operations support and award-winning IHG One Rewards loyalty programme.”

“I’m proud to be here in Japan to mark this announcement, and would like to thank the ownership group for their confidence in the future of Japanese tourism, as well as for their faith in IHG and the new Garner brand.”

Gary Kwok, Founder and CEO, Axe Management Partners, added: “We are excited to partner with IHG, one of the world’s leading hotel groups, to launch the new Garner brand outside of the US.”

“There is no better place to embark on this journey than Japan, a place where omotenashi exceeds all guest expectations. We have great confidence in the Garner brand and are determined to deliver an experience that will truly impress domestic and international travellers.”

Three hotels to rebrand

Before rebranding as Garner hotels, these three properties in Osaka will undergo refurbishment. This renovation will encompass improvements to the guest arrival experiences, common areas and guest rooms.

Each property will reflect the Garner ethos and deliver on what guests value most in terms of comfort and convenience, along with services such as complimentary fresh coffee in the lobby. Guests of these hotels will also be able to benefit from the IHG One Rewards loyalty programme.

These three hotels are all well-located in the centre of the city, placing guests in easy reach of areas such as Midosuji shopping street and Dotonbori entertainment area. Also nearby is the busy Honmachi Station providing connections to other parts of Osaka. Kansai International and Itami airports are one hour away and Yumeshima Island, where the 2025 World Expo will be located, is only a 25-minute journey from the properties.

Commenting on the new partnership between IHG and Axe Management Partners, Sam Lau, Founder and Managing Partner, Axe Management Partners, said: “This partnership further demonstrates our confidence and commitment in the long-term prospects of the Japan real estate market and hospitality sector.”

“We foresee this strong market trend will continue, and will further deploy capital in hospitality and other sectors across asset classes, to add to our global portfolio.”