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Japan’s sprawling capital has everything a well-heeled traveler might want, but you’ve got to sleep sometime. Here are 5 of the best luxury hotels in Tokyo to rest your head.
This grande dame has been around in various iterations since 1947, but don’t expect that long history to equate to a stuffy experience. A ground-up rebuild in 2012 brought the property into the modern age, with a new earth-toned contemporary design featuring open-plan rooms and Japan’s only Evian-branded spa.
The number one reason to choose the Palace remains the location: right on the doorstep of the namesake Imperial Palace. The new design makes excellent use of the view, with the lush greenery of the gardens and the majestic promenade between the gates and Tokyo Station visible from nearly every room, many of which feature a balcony, a feature as rare as royal jewels in this town. Breakfast moat-side at all-day dining Grand Kitchen is another stand-out experience.
Ten F&B outlets, including Michelin-starred Chinese at Amber Palace and Ducasse-collaboration Esterre, offer plenty of dining options, while the exclusive Royal Bar recreates the plush elegance of its predecessor with a stunning black lacquer bar and truly exemplary martinis.
Rates from 40,000 yen per night.
Usually you have to travel out of town to experience a Japanese ryokan, but luxury hotel Hoshinoya Tokyo has managed to recreate that soothing world in the heart of the Otemachi business district.
From a lattice-work exterior resembling ancient family crests to the clack of wooden hyoshigi blocks replacing the elevator chime, every element of the design draws from traditional Japanese culture to maintain a serene simplicity while communicating modern elegance. Each floor has just six rooms that share a communal tea lounge, stocked with complimentary refreshments throughout the day. Guests can also join various free cultural events throughout the day such as sake tastings, rakugo performances, and kendo lessons.
Of course, no ryokan is complete without a hot spring, and Hoshinoya doesn’t disappoint. A mineral-rich rooftop bath is cleverly concealed from surrounding buildings while leaving the sky clear for star-gazing.
Rates start at 29,600 yen per night.
The Aman group’s first urban property manages to bring their trademark luxury to the city skyscraper. Located on the top six floors of The Otemachi Tower, just steps from both metro, train, and shinkansen lines, the hotel offers panoramic views of the city, including a heart-stopping sunset glimpse of distant Mt. Fuji to the west.
The immense lobby, which rises some 30 meters through the middle of the hotel, creates an astounding expansiveness from the moment you step out of the elevator. It also mirrors an engawa, the wooden skirt around an old-fashioned Japanese house that separates indoors from out. This strange combination of humble traditional architecture and soaring urban spaces continues in the rooms, where natural materials like washi paper and hinoki wood meet floor-to-ceiling windows and deep-soaking tubs.
The spa and pool are among the largest in the city, with a comprehensive treatment menu that also includes acupunture.
Rates start at 75,000 yen per night.
This relative newcomer to the Tokyo scene is an excellent choice for foodies, as it’s home to French fine diner est and offers priority reservations for new hotspot SÉZANNE at Four Season’s sister property in Marunouchi. The two Michelin-starred restaurants, helmed by Guillaume Bracaval and Daniel Calvert respectively, offer up drastically different takes on the marriage of Japanese terroir with French technique.
Art Deco bar VIRTÙ, a confection of brocade murals and stained glass, is one of the most beautiful sipping spots in town, with the twinkling lights of downtown outside competing with refined Japonism interiors for most appealing view. The menu of vintage French spirits and rare cognacs also bears close examination.
The Denniston-crafted design eschews many of the standard Japanese touchpoints in favor of a more subtle sense of locality. Some elements are easy to spot, like modernist ikebana and free-form calligraphy in the lobby. Others are more inconspicuous, like the city map concealed in the glimmering silver lines of haku wallpaper, but the overall effect is uniquely Tokyo.
The Japanese-style communal bath, sauna, and pool are best enjoyed at sunset, when the fading light turns the rooms rosy gold and nearby Tokyo Skytree switches on its evening illumination.
Rates start at 45,000 yen per night.
Sister property to hipster boutique hotel Trunk, this unique property has transformed a former ryotei restaurant and geisha residence in the historic cobblestone alleys of Kagurazaka into a once-in-a-lifetime hospitality experience. Where possible, the original wooden structure has been preserved to remain in synch with the neighborhood feel, but inside, partitions have been removed to create more expansive, multi-use spaces in a spare modern style.
The stylish interiors feature decor and handicrafts from local and international artists. Some draw from a traditional Japanese aesthetic, such as the tatami-floored tea room with open hearth or the cypress soaking tub playfully decorated with tiles depicting erotic shunga woodblock prints. Other features are birthed from the modern neon-lit streets of Tokyo, like an honest-to-god tiny disco complete with mirror ball and sound system.
Trunk (House) hosts just one group of up to four people at a time. A full-course dinner is served in the open kitchen by a private chef, while personal butlers fulfill the expected rolls (concierge, bartender) and some surprising ones (ikebana instructor, tea master).
Rates start at 500,000 yen per night.