Dec 16, 2015
Escape the frantic pace of the busiest capital in the world in these luxury retreats.
Has it only been a decade since the Mandarin Oriental made its debut in Tokyo’s bustling Nihonbashi district? Time flies when you’re defining five-star luxury. Attention to detail is one of the hotel’s touchstones, from the flawless service to the fabrics used through the property – designer Reiko Sudo enlisted some of Japan’s most talented weavers to produce original, arresting materials for the hotel. Rooms are adorned with isegata, the rare paper used to produce kimono patterns. Dining and wining are both key areas with the hotel boasting Michelin-starred eateries as well as Sushi Sora, a 38th-floor sushi bar combining traditional Edo-style sushi and magic views of the surrounding city.
Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower, 2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku
This slick hotel in the Shiodome Media Tower really puts the art in travel. Selected digs in the 273-room property have been decorated by contemporary artists such as Naoki Takenouchi, who combined 108 woodcut prints with swirls of ink applied by hand to represent Fujin, the god of wind, and Raijin, the god of thunder. For art of a different variety, head to Hanasanshou for kaiseki (an ultra-seasonal tasting menu) or Yoshino Bis for modern, accessible French cooking. The hotel’s 10-storey atrium fills the lobby with natural light while attentive service puts paid to any notions of elitism.
Shiodome Media Tower, 1-7-1 Higashi Shimbashi, Minato-ku
Is a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) still a ryokan if it’s housed in a bold, futuristic space? This contemporary property raises an intriguing question. Named after and inspired by the traditional andon lantern, this steel box-like building has little in common with both the conventional ryokan model and the old-school neighbourhood it belongs to, but remains true to the Japanese hospitality ideals. As well as the hotel’s own spa-bath (replete with a bold, colourful tile mosaic from Mie Ishii), guests can also visit a number of local bathhouses. Clever lighting lends texture to both the walls and floors of the cosy rooms while the hot breakfast served on the rooftop terrace helps guests start the day right.
2-34-10 Nihonzutsumi, Taito-ku
A collaboration between designers Tony Chi and Shinichiro Ogata, this soigné hotel in the Toranomon Hills tower is a celebration of contemporary Japanese design and culture. Hokkaido walnut features extensively throughout the 164-room property. Lamps made out of washi (origami paper) gently illuminate the spa. In-room partitions inspired by Japanese fusuma/shoji allow guests to arrange and personalise their quarters. Then there’s the scenery: the Andaz occupies levels 47 to 52 of the Toranomon Hills tower and boasts commanding views of landmarks like the Tokyo Tower and Imperial Palace. Soak up those high-rise panoramas from in-room couches or make camp in the hotel’s rooftop bar.
Toranomon Hills Tower, 1-23-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku