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John McMillen, agent business co-ordinator in our Boulder office, had the enviable task of exploring the finest luxury hotels in Tokyo. It’s a hard job but someone’s got to do it.
Luxury hotels in Tokyo
Whether you’re splurging for a special occasion, or making a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan, Tokyo has a multitude of amazing hotels, but which to choose?
This rundown should help you find the ‘one’. It is not an exhaustive list, and to rule out any bias on our part, they are listed in order of their opening.
The Palace Hotel (1961 with 3-year renovation completed in 2012)
With 23 storeys, the Palace Hotel overlooking the Imperial Palace grounds has a monolithic stature, but the unassuming customer service and relaxed atmosphere is without airs and graces.
The lobby is alive with excited holidaymakers and locals on business, but it remains calm and tranquil. A lovely fragrance drifts through the reception area; take time to appreciate the meticulously tended bonsai and Japanese maple, and the painstakingly arranged ikebana flowers.
The bedrooms will leave you wanting for nothing. I would heartily recommend booking a room with a balcony – these are a rare feature of luxury hotels in Tokyo. You are only around the corner from the subway so, if you can tear yourself away, it’s a great base to get around town.
Park Hyatt Tokyo (1994)
Talk about a Tokyo hotel with a reputation! Having really withstood the test of time, this place continues to shine. If you are longing to be near the action of buzzy Shinjuku – with its fantastic food, drink, nightlife, shopping, and parks – there is no question, the Park Hyatt should be your top pick.
There are unparalleled views of the city and Mount Fuji from the top of the Shinjuku Park Tower, and world-class restaurants and bars, fantastic concierge, and funky art. Perfect for those who want their own Lost in Translation experience.
Four Seasons Marunouchi (2002)
With 51 rooms and 6 suites, and just one restaurant, bar, and lounge, this hotel is particularly personal and homely; you’ll never be overrun by other guests or find yourself clamouring for space in their workout room (overlooking the Tokyo Station area, no less).
With convenient access on the south side of the station, helpful staff are happy to escort you to and from your train. The rooms and corridors are simple with subdued colors – a welcome contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city. With a well-connected concierge at your side, you’ve got it made.
Mandarin Oriental Tokyo (2005)
For foodies out there, I’ll cut to the chase – you need to stay here. Their’s is the only roof in Japan that has – count them – 3 Michelin-starred restaurants. I don’t want to discount eating at any of Tokyo’s thousands of other fabulous restaurants, but dining at some of the city’s finest restaurants before strolling back to your room for a nightcap overlooking Tokyo is pretty special.
With rich wood flooring, and gold and orange accents throughout the hotel, it’s so serene that you may not want to leave… Don’t get too comfortable, there’s lots to see in Tokyo!
Ritz Carlton Tokyo (March 2007)
For those with more conservative tastes in décor, I would recommend the Ritz with its muted grey, black, and white walls, splashes of gold furnishings, and polished wood.
With great views and a killer club lounge, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the town. Midtown that is – a new shopping, art, and creative space development in Roppongi directly attached to the hotel and Roppongi Station. A perk for the art and/or shopping lover to wander around multiple levels of stores and exhibits alongside local couples, families, and like-minded visitors. If you don’t get your fill of shopping here, you are just down the street from Roppongi Hills and the Mori Art Museum.
Peninsula Tokyo (September 2007)
The ultimate location. Enough said. The Peninsula is at the corner of the Imperial Palace, Hibiya Park, and the north side of the Ginza district as well as directly connected to the subway and only a short ride away from Tokyo Station. With lots of lovely places within walking distance though, it feels like you’re already at the centre of the cosmopolitan scene in Tokyo.
The lobby is hopping with visitors to the restaurant, and there’s live music daily from early afternoon through late evening. Bedrooms are equipped with creature comforts like a walk-in closet, in-room check-in, scene lighting in the bathrooms, double sinks, and a butler box in the closet so staff do not have to disturb you with the laundry or shoe shine service. Your comfort is top priority here.
Andaz Tokyo (June 2014)
Swap the city for the tranquility of the Andaz; a realm of clean lines, white and solid color feature walls, and natural wood grains and stone. The hallways, bedrooms and even the elevators are dotted with vibrant art, and the lobby has a grand multi-story ceiling. Staff are dedicated to making you feel at home, beginning at the lobby where all drinks are complimentary.
Aman Tokyo (December 2014)
In a word – minimalism. The Aman captures the Japanese aesthetic sense of empty space, with a grand lobby reaching to the sky, and sparsely furnished and decorated rooms. Black, white, and hinoki wood being the only tones. The minimalism can make it feel surreal as you walk around the the hotel; you are not in Japan, you are not in the West, you are in Aman Tokyo. But look out of the window and spot stunning views that bring you back to the capital; with access to the subway from the basement, the city is yours to explore.
Hoshinoya Tokyo (2016)
As far as luxury hotels in Tokyo go – or in the world for that matter – this is unlike any other . You’ve landed on the perfect pick. Every minute detail has been considered and planned to the nth degree at the Hoshinoya. From its kimono-patterned decorative and functional façade (it shields the rooms from surrounding buildings); to the rounded edges of the ceilings in its corridors; to the natural woods, papers, stone, and tatami used in every space. It is like you are in another world.
While it does pay homage to traditional ryokan, you still have all the comforts of a top hotel, including comfortable low beds and seating in the rooms; a lounge with 24-hour staff on every level; complimentary snacks and drinks; and flexible dining. You can also join in traditional cultural activities in the evenings and mornings.
Try out a real hot spring on the top floor – the water is pumped up from 1000m below the hotel!
We would love to help you find the perfect hotel for your vacation in Japan. That said, all of these luxury hotels in Tokyo are wonderful and each offer a unique and unforgettable experience. Perhaps you’ll just have to come back to Japan multiple times to try them all… Get in touch.