Years after securing land along Interstate-4 directly across from Disney theme parks, a global hotel and restaurant chain co-founded by actor Robert De Niro and a world-renowned Japanese chef is set to enter the Orlando market.
Nobu Hotel Orlando is expected to open by 2025, according to a news release posted on the company’s LinkedIn page.
But the company, which has 14 locations nationwide, including one in Miami Beach, has yet to submit development plans to Orange County for approval and it’s unclear when that required first step will be taken, according to hotel spokeswoman Isabelle Quinn.
“The company has yet to disclose the information, we are not yet aware of the exact timeline,” Quinn, who works as an account manager with public relations firm Fox Communications, told GrowthSpotter in an email.
Renderings of how this hotel will look are also not available at this time, Quinn said.
Details about the product can be found in a news release published in late June — in which the future Orlando location was announced — and on the company’s website.
The Orlando resort will feature 300 rooms including eight stunning villas, a Nobu restaurant, 50 stylish residences, and meeting and event space, the website says.
The chain is known for blending modern luxury living with minimal Japanese tradition. It’s an upscale hotel product that should receive a warm reception in the Orlando market, said Austin LaPoten, vice president of hotel investment sales with CBRE.
“I think this would do extremely well in Orlando,” he said. “I definitely think the brand fits. Overall the type of boutique property and the type of rates that Nobu would demand I think works really well with Orlando. On the luxury end, Orlando’s hotel market has proven to be very successful.”
He noted the success of other high-end resorts in the tourist area, such as the Four Seasons Resort Orlando, where rooms come to about $1,200 to $1,500 per night.
“There used to be this thought around Orlando that it was a rate-cap market, but I think the performance at the Ritz-Carlton and the Four Seasons have proven that to be false,” LaPoten said.
He envisions even more luxury hotels moving into the Orlando market, particularly with the arrival of the newest Universal theme park, Epic Universe. That’s set to open the same year as Nobu Orlando.
The plan to offer Nobu branded residences also builds on the success other hoteliers, such as The Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons, have had with the same concept. J.W. Marriott will also be offering branded residences within its new hotel tower in downtown Orlando.
Nobu’s parent company, AIC Hotel Group — which also owns a number of Hard Rock Hotels —purchased roughly 50 acres of property just north of the Orlando Marriott World Center Resort in 2018 for $32.75 million, GrowthSpotter reported at the time.
The prime real estate in Orlando’s tourism district, east of Disney Springs, was previously held by Great Wolf Resorts, the company known for its large, Great Wolf Lodge-branded indoor water parks.
Great Wolf, at one time, planned to put 800 hotel rooms and a 100,000-square-foot water park on the property, along with a spa, restaurants, and more.
CBRE’s Robert McEwan told GrowthSpotter that Great Wolf decided not to develop it. He got in touch with AIC Hotel Group and arranged the sale.
“We had a relationship with the buyer, and we knew they were looking for land in Orlando, so we brought the two of them together,” McEwan said at the time of the property sale.
The site of the future Nobu Orlando is accessible from Meadow Creek Drive and has frontage to the north on I-4, to the west on the World Marriott Resort’s golf course and to the east by Starwood’s Vistana Resort.
Founded by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro, and film producer Meir Teper, the first Nobu Hotel opened in 2013 as a boutique hotel within Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas.
Since then the brand has opened properties in Miami Beach, Chicago, Malibu, London Shoreditch, Ibiza Bay, Palo Alto, Marbella, Los Cabos, Barcelona, Chicago, Warsaw, Riyadh, and London Portman Square.
Future locations are planned for Toronto, São Paulo, Atlanta, Marrakech and Tel Aviv. Additional locations have been announced this summer, expanding the brand’s portfolio to 30 sites.
The news release in June announced the future opening of the Nobu Orlando as well as a location in the Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana. For these two locations, the company will once again partner with RCD Hotels, a company that specializes in hospitality sales and marketing. That partnership began back in 2016 with the opening of Nobu Hotel Miami Beach and has continued over the years with the introduction of Nobu Hotel Los Cabos in 2019, Nobu Hotel Chicago in 2020, and the imminent arrival of Nobu Los Cabos Residences, the release says.
“The addition of these new mixed-use projects solidifies the mutual long-term investment that we have with RCD Hotels,” Trevor Horwell, Chief Executive Officer Nobu Hospitality, said in the news release. “Our ownership partners are critical in our development and it’s important that we work with like-minded owners who share our philosophy and passion for creating the highest quality product and guest experience for our customers.”
The hotel chain’s only current Florida location was recently recognized as the #1 Best Hotel in Greater Miami Beach by the 2022 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards. It was designed by New York-based architecture firm The Rockwell Group.
“Nobu Hotel at Eden Roc Miami Beach delivers the unique chemistry and perfect balance of luxury and lifestyle,” the company’s website says.”The setting merges the iconic Miami Modern architecture with an intuitive interpretation of Chef Nobu’s signature style. The Rockwell Group drew upon Japanese architecture and the hotel’s oceanfront location to evoke a contemporary Japanese beach house in a setting complete with Nobu private pool.”