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When 120-room hotel opens in 2021, will include sake bar, Onsen-style bath feature

COURTESY: CEDARTREE HOTELS - Cedartree Hotels, an American subsidiary of Kyoto-based Urban Hotel Systems, is building a 120-room hotel in Hillsboro. Designed with features that honor Japanes culture and design, the project is the company's first U.S. venture.

A Japanese company with six hotels in the Kyoto area has selected Hillsboro as its point of entry into the U.S. hospitality market.

Kyoto-based Urban Hotel System's American subsidiary, Cedartree Hotels, is currently building a 120-room hotel that will cater to mainly business executive clients along Northwest Cornelius Pass Road near Highway 26. When completed, the hotel will bring a unique experience rooted in Japanese culture and hospitality to the Hillsboro area, according to general manager Allen Chen.

Urban Hotel System has been operating hotels around Kyoto since 1992. Toyoho Sugimoto, whose family owns Urban Hotel System, formed Cedartree Hotels in 2018, intending to establish a U.S. presence. Sugimoto and Chen had worked together for about five years at another company before the two decided to work together on the hotel venture.

Chen said he and Sugimoto both felt the Pacific Northwest was the right initial location for several reasons. For one thing, the Pacific Northwest's landscape and atmosphere evoke a similar sense to those found in Japan.

"We thought providing a Japanese-style hotel really matched the people here in the Pacific Northwest," Chen said.

The Hillsboro site specifically offered a location close to companies that attract the level of business executives that Chen and Sugimoto wanted to serve with their hotel concept.

Cedartree's Hillsboro hotel will take up four acres of a six-acre lot between Northwest Cornelius Pass Road and Northeast Wagon Way in a light-industrial area that has seen a flurry of business-related growth in recent years. The hotel is rising just down the road from Intel's Ronler Acres campus, and Nike's campus, in unincorporated Washington County, is just a few miles away.

"We'll be a business hotel right in the center of business is Hillsboro," Chen said.

The Hillsboro hotel will have an identity separate from Urban Hotel Systems' hotels in Japan. While rooms in Japanese hotels are small due to limited space, the rooms in the Hillsboro hotel will be comparable to those found in other standard American hotels, Chen said.

Other aspects will pay tribute to Japanese culture and design, an approach that Chen said will bring a unique experience for guests. In addition to a Japanese garden, for example, the hotel will feature an indoor bathing pool and an outdoor Onsen-style soaking area.

Access to the indoor and outdoor water features will be limited to hotel guests. However, the community will be able to access the hotel's 68-seat restaurant and a sake bar, which will be called Kiyomizu. The public also will have access to tea ceremonies, flower arranging classes, and other cultural events the hotel will hold in the Sado Room, a traditional tatami room. Tatami rooms are fixtures in traditional Japanese interior design.

The hotel also will contain a total of 2,500 square feet of conference space spread across four rooms. The largest room, to be named Sakura, will be able to accommodate more than 100 people for large-scale gatherings and events.

Portland-based SERA Architects designed the four-story building, which will feature wood on the exterior. Robert Evans Co., the general contractor, broke ground on the project in October of last year. The foundation slab is slated to be poured this month, Chen said. The building is expected to be completed in early January of next year and up and running for guests during the first quarter of 2021. Chen anticipates hiring local staff but is still determining the exact number of people who will be employed.

The Hillsboro hotel likely won't be Cedartree's only U.S. hotel. However, Chen said there are no other projects currently planned.

"(This project) is our main focus right now, to really launch this brand here in Hillsboro," Chen said. "We have talked about expanding, but right now, there's nothing specific."

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