At Fuji Speedway Hotel in Japan, the room comes with a racetrack
Get the adrenaline pumping with a few laps around the speedway before indulging in the Mt Fuji-view onsen.
As soon as guests approach Fuji Speedway Hotel, basking in the presence of Mount Fuji in Oyama, Japan, its namesake racetrack makes its presence known.
The ripping sound of race cars fills the air and vibrates the bones as professional drivers take laps in vehicles that can top 180 mph sprinting down the straightaway. It’s directly behind the new property, and viewable from its patios and balconies.
The hotel, a member of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt Hotels Corp., was developed by Toyota Group, which has owned Fuji Speedway since 2000. It aims to make the racetrack and surrounding area a year-round destination, while intertwining the thrill of racing with the indulgence of a luxury hotel.
“Mr. Toyoda wanted to show how motor sports are beautiful and exciting,” says Natsuko Arai, Fuji Speedway Hotel’s director of sales.
She’s referring to Akio Toyoda, the current president of Toyota Motor Corp. and grandson of Toyota Motors founder Kiichiro Toyoda.
The property was a passion project of Akio Toyoda’s, something he not only pushed for but also got down into the nitty-gritty of, ensuring every detail matched his overarching vision.
“It’s all him, he led the design, and it’s obviously very car-driven and in tune with the location and everything that embodies it,” says Katie Johnson, the vice president and global brand leader for Hyatt’s Independent Collection properties.
“This historical speedway, the cars, you see it reflected in everything, from the artwork to the flooring and lighting, the design of the rooms. It’s all with the backstory of racing and the history and fascination of the automobile world.”
Fuji Speedway opened in 1965 and currently hosts at least eight major events throughout the year, including popular Japanese circuits such as Super GT and Super Formula, as well as endurance championships such as 6 Hours of Fuji.
Race days aren’t the only ones with action, though, as drivers practise on the track on a daily basis. From one side of the hotel, guest rooms look down onto the track itself and watch cars weave around the circuit throughout the day.
The other side of the property offers its own special source of inspiration, with stunning views of Mt. Fuji; Japan’s tallest peak is but miles away, or about an hour’s winding drive.
Pushing the bedside button to open the room’s curtains and reveal an incredible Fuji-san sunrise makes for an awe-inspiring start to the morning.
The racetrack isn’t just for viewing, of course. Guests are encouraged to head out there themselves, with the property arranging for behind-the-scenes tours along with real racing experiences, allowing travellers to live out their F1 fever dreams on the speedway.
Guests can bring their own vehicles onto the track, with a nominal fee, to tool around for a couple of laps. Alternatively, several tiers of rentals are available, including options such as a GR Yaris RZ High Performance or a GR Corolla RZ Morizo Edition, as well as vehicles with either automatic or manual transmissions.
“We try to create these magical moments of inspiration, and it’s all sensory,” Johnson says. “I love the sound of the race cars here, and everything you see and touch connects to that story.”
“When you first view the racetrack or step out onto it, it’s a ‘pinch me’ moment, and there’s nothing else like it.”
The fun doesn’t stop there. The hotel houses a professional-grade racing simulator that guests can reserve for complimentary 30-minute sessions.
The simulator takes drivers onto a virtual Fuji Speedway, offering immersive 180-degree views via a set of three flat screens, along with a full racing seat, gearshift box, steering wheel and vibrating suspension system.
It’s all replete with a thunderous, throaty engine delivered via surround sound speakers and subwoofers. Users can practise for their time on the real track, or correct their mistakes after a session.
The hotel is also home to the Fuji Motorsports Museum, which occupies the first two floors. The space showcases 40 vehicles spanning vintage to modern racing eras.
Elsewhere, every piece of décor and art across the property is racing-inspired. Logos take the shape of the speedway itself, glimmering engines and vehicle parts are on display, and racing posters adorn the walls.
Yet none of it feels forced or kitschy; it seamlessly blends with the hotel’s contemporary style.
Beyond the racetrack, Fuji Speedway Hotel is home to Omika, a multistory spa and wellness centre, including an indoor lap pool as well as a traditional onsen, with indoor and outdoor hot baths, a cold plunge pool, and sauna. (Racing takes more of a physical toll on drivers than you’d think.)
Mt. Fuji plays a presence here as well, not only with direct views of the revered peak from the baths, but also with the use of its mineral-rich waters.
On-site dining options include a robata grill restaurant, an Italian restaurant and a bar with cocktails and a deep collection of Japanese whisky and spirits.
For the most well-heeled racing enthusiasts, five villas function as luxe hideaways within the 120-room property. Each offers a glass-doored garage to store, and showcase, a vehicle that’s perhaps intended for the track, along with spaces for entertaining and a dog-friendly, fenced-in grassy yard.
Rooms start at about ¥40,000 (AUD$446) per night. Raceway experiences start at about ¥3,300 (AUD$37) with your own car, or ¥5,300 (AUD$59) with a performance rental.
This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here
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