Japanese homeware retailer MUJI opened the doors of its first ever hotel, MUJI Hotel Shenzhen, in January. The three-in-one development includes the hotel, a MUJI Diner, and a retail store.
Located in Upperhills, a business complex in Futian District, the hotel occupies more than 2,200sqm and has a total of 79 rooms. Room sizes vary from 26sqm to 61sqm and rates per night range from 950 RMB (USD150) to 2,500 RMB (USD397).
MUJI describes the hotel as representative of its “anti-gorgeous and anti-cheap” philosophy, where room rates will remain the same in different seasons as “the services will be unchanged all across the year”.
Designed by Takashi Sugimoto and his Super Potato team, the hotel embodies the brand’s distinctive ‘normcore’ aesthetics through simple furnishings, a hardwood floor and pale grey walls.
Each room offers MUJI products for guests to try out during their stay, including MUJI’s signature wall-mounted CD player, tea sets, and bedding. Guests can also borrow a MUJI aroma diffuser, one of the most popular MUJI products in China, from the reception desk.
The hotel offers wellness facilities as well, including a gym, a conference room, a 24-hour library as well as a MUJI Diner restaurant.
While MUJI is often conceived as a mass-market brand in China, the MUJI Hotel is hardly cheap. Although the hotel doesn’t have a star rating, its price exceeds many of its five-star luxury competitors. For example, the price for one night at Hilton Shenzhen Futian ranges from 1,259 RMB to 2,300 RMB.
“I would rather get an executive room at Four Seasons in Shenzhen for 2,500 RMB,” said Liu Nan from Beijing. An SPG member, Liu said he usually has a budget for premium hotels, but probably not at MUJI’s. “It’s too expensive given the product quality and the room sizes,” he said.
MUJI provides its brand, design and products to the hotel, while operations are managed by the Shum Yip Group. As a brand building exercise, the expansion into hospitality may simply be a means to boost retail sales.
“To bring the atmosphere of life advocated by MUJI to consumers through the physical stores will translate into actual purchases, and the same applies to hotels,” said Naoto Fukasawa, who leads MUJI’s product development. The business of MUJI Hotels will also allow MUJI to collect more user data, which will contribute to future product improvement.
MUJI is scheduled to open the MUJI Hotel Beijing on March 20 this year and another hotel in Ginza, Japan next spring.