History Oriental Kobe Present Oriental Kobe

The hotel in 1907, and a view of the dining room of the original Oriental Hotel.

Oriental Kobe

The Oriental's story begins in 1870, shortly after the opening of Kobe Port to foreign ships. The Oriental Hotel was born in Kobe's foreign quarters, an area flourishing under the influence of a confluence of cultures, and described as the most beautiful colony in the Orient. Originally catering exclusively to foreigners, the hotel soon grew in popularity with the locals as well, becoming a symbol of Japanese high society.

The hotel came to be known for its fabulous service with its remarkable attention to detail, as well as its universally adored cuisine. The global popularity of Kobe Beef owes more than a little to the restaurants of the Oriental Hotel.

 

Today's Oriental Hotel has little similarity with the original building. The classic building in the front is the city's museum. The tragedy of the Great Hanshin earthquake brought the hotel's history to an untimely halt in 1995, but the spirit of the original has been carried on by its successor into a new era, beginning in 2010. 

The first advertisement for the Oriental Hotel on the Lot 79 of the Settlement by Van der Vlies & Co. appeared in the Hiogo News, a local English-language newspaper for foreign settlers, on August 3, 1870. The proprietor of the hotel was a former Dutch naval physician Gerardus van der Vlies, who listed it only in the Japan Directory of 1879.
Van der Vlies had transferred to Nagasaki to serve as the proprietor of the Belle Vue Hotel between May 1879 and 1881. In 1880, the Club Concordia, a social club for foreign settlers, was relocated into the hotel. A French chef Louis Begeux served as the proprietor of the Oriental Hotel around 1882, when he opened another hotel with the same name on the Lot 121. By 1884, van der Vlies, again, had served as the proprietor of the hotel in Nagasaki until he died of cancer in November 1885.


Begeux ran Le Restaurant française on the Lot 122 around 1886, which gained a good reputation for French and western cuisine in short time. In 1887, the Lot 80 was acquired for the Oriental Hotel's expansion, where the Main Hall with 18 rooms and a grand dining hall was built. The hotel was listed once again in the Japan Directory of 1888. Its business went well due to Beguex's culinary delights on its food service until his return home to France in 1890.
Other foreign settlers in Kobe chipped in money, and succeeded the management of the Oriental Hotel. However, the business went down due to the hotel's mediocre food service. Then, L. Beguex, the son of Louis Begeux, was called back, and was hired as a manager. Since the hotel regained its reputation for its delighted cuisine and the business eventually recovered. In 1893, the Lot 87 was purchased for the Annex with 3 floors and a basement floor, which accommodated 36 rooms and a billiard room.
Eventually, the Oriental Hotel has been acquired by two British settlers, Arthur Hasketh Groom and Edward Hazlett Hunter, and other foreign settlers in 1897. The hotel was made into a limited company: the Oriental・Hotel, Ltd. C. N. Cross served the first president of the company, and Groom served the president sometime until 1916.

After the war it came to be used as a meeting place for politicians and business magnates to greet foreign dignitaries. The hotel came to be known for its fabulous service with its remarkable attention to detail, as well as its universally adored cuisine. The global popularity of Kobe Beef owes more than a little to the restaurants of the Oriental Hotel. The tragedy of the Great Hanshin earthquake brought the hotel's history to an untimely halt in 1995, but the spirit of the original has been carried on by its successor into a new era, beginning in 2010. The Oriental Hotel's past has been intertwined with that of the city of Kobe itself, and together, they will build a new future. The smiles on the faces of its satisfied guests will continue to tell the true tale of the Oriental Hotel for many, many years to come.

116 Rooms

650-0034 Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo-ku Kyomachi 25, Japan

MAIN DINING by THE HOUSE OF PACIFIC, 17th Floor – Main restaurant
Sushi KANBE, 17th Floor – produced by Sushi Azabu
Steak House Medium Rare, 17th Floor – grilled dishes
The Bar J. W. Hart, 17th Floor – Bar

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Our Select Member Hotel

Oriental Kobe
City: Kobe
Opening date: August 1870
First owner/Manager: Gerardus van der Vlies

Note from the Host

General Manager

Coordinates

Chuo-ku Kyomachi 25
650-0034 Kobe

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