Palace Hotel Tokyo, a 290-room heir to some of the city's most exclusive real estate, recently opened in Marunouchi as the anchor to a $1.2 billion mixed-use development. Perched on a stunning, moat-side setting by the Imperial Palace, the Palace Hotel's 10 new restaurants and bars include Japanese, Chinese and French dining venues with designs on Michelin stars.
In a country not otherwise known for its spa culture, the hotel also is cutting the ribbon on the first ever evian SPA in Japan. However, Palace Hotel Tokyo's ownership, management and service standards are Japanese through and through.
"There is only one Tokyo, and there will only be one experience like the Palace Hotel," said Takashi Kobayashi, the company's president. "From the Aji stones at our entrance to the linens in our guest rooms, from the omotenashi at first encounter to the general management, we're celebrating an unfiltered appreciation of our country's culture."
Its 12 categories of accommodation range from deluxe rooms, at 45 to 55 square meters, to suites that start at 75 square meters and extend to 255 square meters. Most of the rooms feature open-style bathrooms with separate soaking tubs and showers, and more than half of the rooms and suites have open terraces and balconies. And for good reason. Every guest room in the house features views of Tokyo's Imperial Palace gardens as well as the surrounding skyline beyond.
Uniquely Japanese touches to the rooms include the 300-thread count Imabari bed linens and bath towels from Ehime prefecture, and Maruyama Nori teas manufactured in Tokyo's Tsukiji district. The hotel's published room rates start range from $625 and climb to $8,800 for premium suites.
Palace Hotel Tokyo is shooting for the stars - Michelin stars - with several of its 10 restaurants and bars. "Our goal with each of these restaurants is not simply to complement our guests' accomodation experience," said Kobayashi "but to create several, new dining icons in this city -a constellation of opportunity, if you will."
On the hotel's sixth floor, the original Palace Hotel's French restaurant, Crown, first opened in 1964, returns as a collaboration with Patrick Henriroux, who has maintained a two-star reputation at La Pyramide in Vienne, France for more than 10 years.
Also on the sixth floor, Michelin two-star Chef Shinji Kanesaka conducts operations at Sushi Kanesaka, one of a quartet of dining options under the Wadakura banner. Named for one of the six moats surrounding the Imperial Palace, Wadakura also offers up a tempura bar called Tatsumi and Go, an area dedicated to teppanyaki. Likewise, Go references the Imperial Palace's 'moat' and Tatsumi is named for the ancient imperial watchtower visible from the restaurant's main dining area.
On the fifth floor, Amber Palace plates up Shanghainese and Cantonese cuisines, leveraging the culinary expertise of the Chugoku Hanten Group, the same operator of Tokyo's two-star Michelin restaurant, Fureika.
Occupying 1,200 square meters of space on the fifth floor, the hotel's evian SPA will be the first ever in Japan - and a future must for wellness in Tokyo. Its five treatment rooms, one spa suite and separate ladies' and gentlemen's relaxation lounge form the heart of the city's most ambitious new spa. Its gentlemen's spa area features a heated bath, reclining bath, cold plunge and dry sauna, and the ladies spa area includes a heated bath and marble sauna.
However enticing its natural surroundings, the hotel also claims prime frontage on Tokyo's renowned Marunouchi business district as well as proximity to the Nihonbashi financial centre.
Eight multi-purpose rooms comprise the hotel's meeting facilities in addition to a formal boardroom that seats 28 and two smaller meeting rooms. The signature flourish in the main ballroom is a 7-metre tall by 22-metre wide window overlooking the Wadakura moat and the Imperial Palace gardens.
Transit from the hotel into the heart of Marunouchi - and Tokyo - is brisk business. The hotel is an approximate eight-minute walk to Tokyo Station, the city's main terminal. Closer still, Otemachi Station - one of the city's largest subway interchanges - is a mere two-minute stroll.
Narita and Haneda International Airports are 60 and 15 kilometers away respectively. Marunouchi Naka Dori - one of the area's principal thoroughfares and tantamount to New York City's Madison Avenue - is just a stone's throw away while the famous Ginza shopping district is a leisurely 25-minute walk.
The new hotel succeeds two previous hotels, the Hotel Teito and Palace Hotel that occupied the same site from 1947 and 1961, respectively. Each was razed to make way for its successor. Palace Hotel Tokyo is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.