Tokyo is a byword for futuristic design and modernity. It’s a pulsating metropolis of neon nebulas and buzzing crowds, bustling businessmen, Kimono-clad women and fashionable teenagers on streets lined with stalls selling everything from electronics to eels. But look beyond the shimmer and the shine and you’ll discover the history of a settlement that stretches back to the Stone Age. This thread that tethers Tokyo to the past can be traced via the ubiquitous sushi bars and Tsukiji market, for Tokyo spent much of its life as a fishing village.
Fires, floods and earthquakes interrupted the transition from village to vibrant metropolis, but the city endured and is today Japan’s intriguing political and imperial capital, with a host of cutting edge and classic design and luxury hotels.
The Peninsula is Tokyo’s luxury landmark hotel. This 5-star gem enjoys great views over the Imperial Palace Gardens and Hibaya Park and is both stylish and soothing. Rooms are some of the most spacious, visually stylish and comfortable in Tokyo, with every possible convenience, from bedside curtain controls to nail polish driers, and the spa offers plenty more versions of pampering. The Hei Fung Terrace restaurant and the bar are popular with locals as well as guests, and offer Cantonese specialities and internationally inspired cuisine.
What’s the edge: The Peninsula is a true landmark – international in design, but Japanese in inspiration.
The Mandarin Oriental provides a winning mix of advanced technology and traditional Japanese style. Located in Nihonbashi, the most historic of Tokyo’s key business districts, the Oriental’s rooms are large and luxurious and offer spectacular views, though none as stunning as the view from the Sky Lobby. The hotel’s spa, located on the 37th floor, is in a serene sky-high world too, and like all Mandarin Oriental spas, is superb.
What’s the edge: The extraordinary sense of space and futuristic luxury of the interiors.
The luxury Shangri-la Tokyo is located in the top 11 floors of the landmark Marunouchi Trust Tower in the renowned Marunouchi financial district, next to Tokyo Station. The Imperial Palace and Ginza are within walking distance, while the award-winning CHI spa offers healing treatments inspired by ancient Asian traditions. Immerse yourself in the hotel’s collection of 2,000 artworks by Japanese, Chinese and western artists and savour a traditional Japanese meal at Nadaman.
What’s the edge: The Shangri-la is a tranquil retreat in the heart of the city.
Claska is a conceptual design hotel located in the Meguro area. This modern boutique hotel has just 18 individually designed rooms and comes with an intimate ‘urban retreat’ atmosphere. The rooftop terrace is the place to drink in the views (or a refreshing cocktail) and the hotel has a gallery space for artists to exhibit their latest works.
What’s the edge: Each room is conceptual, cutting edge and effortlessly modern.
The Park Hotel occupies the top ten floors of the Shiodome Media Tower and is ideally locating for exploring; just a few minutes walk from Tsukiji fish market and the shopping district of Ginza. The core of the sleek triangular skyscraper designed by French interior designer Frederic Thomas has been hollowed out, so the well-designed and comfortable rooms are saturated with light.
What’s the edge: Service is taken seriously here, and guests are looked after exceedingly well.