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By Elite Traveler | August 13 2019
As the 2020 Summer Olympic Games draw closer, Tokyo is positively buzzing. Hotel renovations are underway, new restaurants are opening and, of course, stadiums are being built for the competitions. Whether you are picking a hotel for an Olympic stay, or hoping to visit before the city is inundated with sports fans, you will find the perfect place in our list of the best suites in Tokyo.
One thing’s for sure: No matter where you stay — a palatial penthouse or a minimalist ryokan — you will be won over by omotenashi, the incredible hospitality Japan is known for.
The juxtaposition of commanding city views and garden-inspired decor makes this suite an urban nature-lover’s dream. Despite its location high above the city in the midst of the Nihonbashi district, the outdoors weaves its way through the suite’s locally produced fabrics and unique photographic murals of blue skies and treescapes from Tokyo’s parks.
One wall in the dining room is entirely covered by an image of the sun streaming through trees, and natural elements and decor — such as motifs of birds, butterflies and plants — appear throughout the suite. The bedroom has an origami-inspired carpet, and the ceiling was designed to appear as if you were looking up at the sky, lying beneath trees.
You’ll be tempted to leave the luxury of your suite and dine in one of Mandarin Oriental’s three Michelin-starred restaurants: Tapas Molecular Bar, an eight-seat restaurant where chefs create inspired dishes before your eyes; Signature, a contemporary French fine-dining restaurant; and Sense, which specializes in traditional Cantonese cuisine.
Nihonbashi is one of the city’s oldest commercial districts and is perfect for exploring the local culture and history on foot. Arrange a private tour that focuses on Japanese tradition. Learn about the history of the kimono and how to wear one; go on a gourmet tour tasting local specialties, including mochi (sticky seaweed rice cakes), kintsuba (sweet bean paste) and nori (dried seaweed); or make washi paper with an expert.
Rate: From $16,240 per night
Image: Nacasa & Partners
Situated in the bustling Marunouchi business district, Palace Hotel envelops you in glamorous Japanese flair (think mirrored walls and floor-to-ceiling windows paired with double-height artwork of Japanese flora and sleek, modern decor) and omotenashi from the moment you walk in.
The 290-room hotel first opened in 1947 and underwent a top-to-bottom rebuild in 2012, which saw the addition of seven restaurants (we recommend Wadakura, a comprehensive Japanese culinary experience), three bars, a sweets and deli counter and an Evian Spa (there are only a handful in the world).
To experience the ultimate luxury stay, book the Palace Suite, a 2,260-sq-ft, one-bedroom accommodation (with the option of connecting a suite for a private, two-bedroom residence) awash in earthy tones with hints of aubergine and gold.
Enjoy its exquisite artwork, including Japanese artist Yui Higashibata’s mixed-media canvas hanging in the living room, sculptural furniture and purely indulgent touches, like the wide marble soaking tub that doubles as a hot tub. The suite has a private terrace where you can enjoy an early morning green tea overlooking Imperial Palace Plaza and the Wadakura Fountain.
Dating back to the 700s, the Imperial family watched sumo wrestling, and today, the national sport of Japan still reigns supreme. Tour the Ryogoku Kokugikan arena and watch a gripping match alongside a broadcaster and sumo sportswriter. You can also have lunch with a rishiki (wrestler) and have them tell you about the sport, from the ancient methods they still utilize in preparation to the details of their rigorous training.
Rate: From $9,000 per night
For a traditional Japanese experience with ultra-luxurious, five-star amenities and service, head straight to Aman Tokyo. From the moment the elevators open into the soaring lobby at the top of Otemachi Tower in the financial district, a sense of calm washes over you. That calm continues in your sanctuary, the Aman Suite. The minimalist decor is almost entirely outfitted in light wood, from the floors to the walls and the furniture, punctuated only with gray stone and white washi paper.
It’s an incredibly soothing environment that invites relaxation and contemplation. Even the views are calming. The enormous metropolis feels almost small from suite; it positively towers over the skyscrapers that dominate the city skyline. There’s a strong emphasis on wellness in all Aman properties, and this one is no different.
Despite the hotel’s small size (it has just 84 rooms over six floors), it has the city’s largest spa, which spans nearly 27,000 sq ft and offers dedicated yoga and Pilates studios, traditional Japanese hot baths, a 98-ft pool, well-equipped fitness center and eight treatment rooms offering a wide array of therapies, including traditional Japanese treatments. The wellness theme continues in the suite: There’s an enormous traditional furo soaking tub from which you can enjoy sensational city views.
Learn the ancient art of iaido, a Japanese martial art focused on sword training, in a private class. Your instructor will teach you how to unsheathe a sword in a smooth and restrained way, as well as illuminate the spirit and etiquette of the samurai.
Rate: From $2,700 per night
Image: Kenji Masunaga
As one of the smallest luxury hotels in the city (there are only 57 rooms and one restaurant, the French-Japanese Motif Restaurant), Four Seasons Marunouchi has an understated yet sleek atmosphere with a cozy-chic decor (sumptuous fabrics and warm lighting set the ambience) and jaw-droppingly beautiful floral arrangements from Danish floral artist, Nicolai Bergmann.
The hotel is unexpectedly quiet for its urban location — of course, you’ll find consistent Four Seasons hospitality — but its intimacy lends itself to a relaxed, far-from-the-crowds kind of stay, so you can decompress after exploring the high-energy streets of Tokyo. Occupying the third to seventh floors of the building, the hotel offers quaint views of Tokyo Station and is just a short walk from Ginza and its boutique shopping.
As perfect for families as it is for couples, the Chairman Suite is the ideal place to rest your head. It offers views through floor-to-ceiling windows that fill its expansive living and dining room with natural light each day. There’s a home theater system in the living room, so you can sink into the plush chairs and couches as you watch a movie after a long day of exploring Tokyo’s hidden gems.
An expert guide will take you to Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market, a storied fish market mere minutes from the hotel, that has sold seafood for more than 400 years. At 5am, follow your guide as he navigates the market (it can be overwhelming, as there are more than 2,000 types of seafood), sourcing the best cuts on offer. Learn the local customs and have a chef at the hotel prepare your daily find in traditional Japanese style.
Rate: From $4,500 per night
Images: Small luxury hotels of the world
Aptly named because of its convenient location near Tokyo Station, the hotel was first opened in 1915 (just a year after the train station was built) and celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015. The hotel is hard to miss — it’s a vintage red-brick, period-style building evoking Golden Age glamour, and the interiors reflect its history with vaulted ceilings, preserved period architecture and perfectly polished floors.
It’s one of the few remaining luxury hotels in the city with a traditional feel — in 2006 it was registered as one of Japan’s Important Cultural Properties (the equivalent to the West’s landmark status) — and differs greatly from the city’s omnipresent sleek glass skyscrapers. However, updated 21st-century amenities and semi-modern furnishings perfectly tie the old to the new.
To experience omotenashi at its finest, book the Imperial Suite. On the third floor of the hotel, this one-bedroom suite has a living area with gorgeous canary yellow chairs and curtains, as well as a den and bathroom. Its higher-than-average ceilings make the suite feel even larger than it is (it’s nearly 2,000 sq ft), as do the floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room and bedroom overlooking Gyoko-dori Avenue, the Imperial Palace and the Marunouchi cityscape. There are nine restaurants, lounges and bars in the hotel (and more fine dining steps from the property) to ensure you’ll never eat at the same place twice.
Beneath the opulence of Tokyo Station Hotel lies the modern Spa Tokione. Come for traditional Japanese treatments (may we suggest the Rin facial), and stay for the natural, carbonated hot spring and the man-made hot spring to relax after your treatment — you will almost forget you’re in the middle of a buzzing city.
Rate: From $7,060 per night
With a serene residential feel and prime location near Tokyo Station, the Presidential Suite at Shangri-La is perfect for your Japanese sojourn. A refined and neutral color palette accentuated with rich fabrics, dazzling crystal chandeliers, Chinese antiques, original folded-paper artwork from Yuko Nishimura and touches of bronze fill the 2,896-sq-ft suite.
The dramatic living room has soaring double-height windows overlooking the sprawling Imperial Palace Gardens from your 36th-floor vantage point, and there’s even a set of binoculars for you to admire the view; on a clear day, you can watch the sun set behind Mount Fuji. Take advantage of the in-suite fitness and wellness rooms.
Have the dedicated concierge book you a personal trainer for a session in the private gym, which has weights and a treadmill, then enjoy a sports massage in your treatment room. The one-bedroom suite has other trappings of home, including a 65-in 4K television with soundbar and a fully equipped kitchen. If you are traveling with your family, there’s an option to connect an adjoining room.
Take advantage of the jaw-dropping views and host a decadent dinner in the privacy of your suite. Executive chef Andrea Ferrero partnered with Krug champagne to create a special six-course menu, naturally paired with four different Krug vintages. There’s sushi, of course, and unexpected dishes like lamb loin. The suite will undergo a transformation for the night with Krug-inspired florals, books, decor and music.
Rate: From $18,300 per night
Images: VRX Studios
One glance at Hoshinoya Tokyo is met with intrigue — its monolithic, black exterior in the heart of Tokyo’s financial district dramatically differs from its contemporary urban surroundings and from any other hotel in the city. Access this urban ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn mostly found within Japan’s lush and quiet countryside) through an enormous cypress door, and you’ll immediately be transported to Japan’s yesteryear.
The entrance is a narrow, tall hallway lined with woven bamboo squares as decoration and tatami flooring (a traditional rice mat with sandalwood woven within for a pleasant-smelling aroma). You must take your shoes off upon entry, an indication that this ryokan experience is about as authentic as you can get. Each floor is comprised of six ryokans connected to a lounge area with books, couches and views across the city, called an ochanoma, only accessible by guests on your floor — it has seasonal sake and confectionary available throughout the day.
We love the largest accommodation, the Kiku guest room, which can host up to three. Each room has chestnut wood flooring, a simplistic color palette (white, light wood, black tabletops and gray futons) and traditional Japanese architecture. All windows have paper window screens and gentle lighting to induce relaxation. Upon arrival, you’ll receive a kimono and skincare products — Japanese tradition and etiquette are taken seriously and enforced throughout your stay, making this like none other you can experience in Tokyo.
There’s one dining location in the hotel serving Nippon cuisine curated by executive chef Noriyuki Hamada, which centers around Japan’s seasonal bounty provided by local farmers and fishermen, though you can opt for in-room dining if you prefer.
Hoshinoya Tokyo’s hot spring can’t be missed. On the top floor of the hotel, the indoor/outdoor hot spring has thick, salinated water sourced from 5,000 ft below the earth’s surface. Enter the hot spring from your bath hall (separated by gender) and emerge through a cave-like tunnel to the outdoor part of the bath. From outside, take in the dramatic cityscape and by night, gaze at the starlit sky.
Rate: From $1,000 per night
Images: Hoshino Resorts
The film Lost in Translation was filmed at Park Hyatt Tokyo and while some may come to follow Bill Murray’s footsteps, many come for its metropolitan elegance. Located in the Shinjuku district, it resides on the top 14 floors of a sleek, 52-story, Kenzo Tange-designed tower. From the hotel’s top-floor vantage point (where you’ll find the world-class New York Grill), you’ll see Mount Fuji looming in the distance. And Tokyo’s impressive skyscrapers delight, though we love that every room offers uninterrupted vistas.
The Presidential Suite is divine — spanning 3,121 sq ft, there’s a bedroom, office, private kitchen, dining room, formal living room, private library, sauna and rain shower. We’d be remiss not to mention the Italian marble bathroom with a marble soaking tub that has a whirlpool option, or the grand piano, should you fancy some musical entertainment.
Though the Japanese are design minimalists, this suite is on the more opulent side; however, classic wooden elements, symmetrical decor and grand floral arrangements designed by flower artist Yuji Kobayashi bring a distinct Japanese flair to the space. For guests of the Presidential Suite, the hotel’s executive chef will fill your kitchen with food and beverages each day.
As the temperature rises and Tokyo buzzes with energy, spend a day at Park Brewery, the hotel’s pop-up brewery. Enjoy microbrews from Sankt Gallen Brewery and the hotel’s exclusive Park Brewery Ale. Wash down delicious bites of tapas from executive chef Ronan Cadoral (think fresh seafood and delicious cuts of meat with a distinct Spanish twist) and speak with him about the best pairings. Japanese beer tends to be bitter, so expect powerful-yet-balanced bites.
Rate: From $9,340 per night
The Peninsula Suite feels more like an incredible residence than a hotel room, and its grand foyer sets the tone for the public spaces. The 12-person dining room has a balcony (a rare occurrence in the city) where you can soak up beautiful views of Hibiya Park and the Imperial Palace Gardens.
A modern crystal chandelier dazzles overhead while you take in the glittering city lights. In the enormous living room, there are several seating areas, floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the space with light, a media center and a baby grand piano.
While the suite is perfect for entertaining, its private quarters are equally as impressive. You can admire the views of the gardens from bed, there’s a large master bathroom with marble whirlpool tub (and more windows), a gym with weights and a bicycle, and a separate study.
As you might expect in Japan, the suite’s technology is top-notch and includes everything from mood lighting to a nail dryer and a detailed weather panel. The decor throughout is a study in Japanese minimalism; we love the cherry blossom-patterned washi-paper ceiling panels, and there’s even a room for holding a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
Step behind the scenes in Tokyo’s art world with curator Natane Takeda, who works as a VIP relations coordinator for Art Basel in the city. Her connections will take you into the city’s best galleries and studios, help navigate the purchase process and introduce you to tea houses that artists frequent, all from the comfort of a chauffeured Rolls-Royce.
Rate: $22,500 per night
Images: William Furniss