Enjoy splashes of Japanese charm in the world-class spa, imperial views and carefully designed interiors
City | History & culture | Spa
As the historic commercial gateway to Japan, Tokyo’s leafy Marunouchi district has been something of a trade hub for almost half a century. Its name translates roughly to ‘inside the circle’, in reference to the moat of its Imperial Palace location. Indeed, the hotel itself looks out over the waters and onto the palatial gardens; you can walk through its traditional, curved gates to explore the 19th century residence and the ruins of the original Edo castle. It’s the perfect foil to the city’s bustle. This being the seat of financial power, you’ll also find high-end shopping to rival Parisian boutiques and New York’s Madison Avenue along with world-class restaurants and fine art museums. If you’re heading further afield, the ruthlessly efficient Tokyo train station is a ten minutes’ walk away, as is the Otemachi subway station, served by five lines.
With rooms that start off at 45 square metres in size and balconies – themselves a standout feature in Tokyo – that look out over the Imperial Palace gardens, Palace Hotel is relaxed and airy in the face of the city’s infectious intensity. Decorated in neutral, elegant tones, the effect is decidedly contemporary with chic, automatic curtains and en suite bathrooms – complete with rain showers and soaking tubs – separated from the bedroom by a glass panel. There is a blind available. The tub-side picture windows of the larger Grand Deluxe rooms are particularly delightful while ultra-luxury suites come with the best views and separate living areas, even looking onto the palace itself.
This being Tokyo, food is taken very seriously. Its signature, semi-formal Crown restaurant – just having celebrated its 50th anniversary – serves classic French treats refined with Japanese culinary aesthetics while a moat-side open kitchen serves European favourites in a more relaxed, communal setting. Wadakura (named after the palace’s defensive waters) is really four restaurant offshoots rolled into one. There’s the lightly crisped tempura of Tatsumi, the mouthwatering teppanyaki at GO, Kanesaka’s just-caught sushi and the multi-course affairs in the main dining room. Lastly, watch as old world China comes alive in the Amber Palace where dark wood panelling and traditional musical instruments are the backdrop to Cantonese delights by the same people behind Michelin-starred Fureika.
A true rarity in Tokyo, the hotel occupies the entire building from the ground up; common spaces are refined and quiet. The Palace – as its sometimes affectionately known – was newly opened in 2012 so you can expect cutting edge facilities. There’s a pastry shop that serves delicacies on par with the crepes on offer in the nearby Marunouchi Brick Square along with afternoon tea lounges and live Jazz nights in the champagne and cocktail bar. Finish your day in the excellent spa where you can indulge in a full range of treatments or make use of the sauna, plunge pool, swimming pool or fitness centre.
Stay here on these holidays
This curated rail journey brings you on bullet-train sprints between Japan’s rich past, taking in ancient castle towns and tea ceremonies in Kyoto. You’ll also enjoy private, tailor-made tours everywhere from Tokyo to Hiroshima as you stay in luxury hotels and traditional ryokan inns.
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