A stylish Tokyo hot spot
178 Rooms / 21 Suites
Zip up to the wood-filled 38th-floor lobby of Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo to discover a stylish hot spot. Walk past the long black stone table topped with an oversized sea-urchin-like sculpture and the floor lanterns with shaggy white shades to descend the stairs to the 37th floor, where a trio of stacked fireplaces at Sense Tea Corner lights up a dramatic wall of fire. It counters a dim, sexy plum and gray lounge area across the way that rests above a black shallow pool with a spiraling water feature.
It will be hard to pry your eyes from the chic décor, but you won’t want to miss the views of the city skyline — on clear days you can even see Mount Fuji — out of the floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the hotel. You’ll even get to take in the view at the many fantastic restaurants and the must-visit spa.
When dreaming up the design for the Tokyo hotel, LTW Designworks wanted to respect the local culture and connect it to the neighborhood. To do this, it simply looked to the hotel’s past: The property used to be a kimono shop owned by next-door neighbor Mitsukoshi department store. That spawned the idea of filling everything from the rooms to the elevators banks with fabric. Japanese textile specialist Reiko Sudo (whose work can be seen in New York’s MOMA and London’s Victoria & Albert Museum) helped create and source exclusive fabrics for the endeavor. Every guest room bears a unique framed isegata, a rare forming sheet used for dyeing kimonos, and they have oblong fabric lanterns made with handcrafted washi paper.
To give the design a subtle Japanese feel, the team also sought inspiration from the forest that covers 67 percent of the country. It infused the spaces with touches of nature — the stone-and-timber rooms come with bamboo flooring, light wood squares make up a headboard and a gathered tan fabric resembling tree bark covers the walls and ceiling.
Perched on the 30th to 36th floors of the Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower, the spacious guest rooms look out over Odaiba island, the Sumida River, Tokyo Bay and Tokyo Skytree to the east, and the Imperial Palace, Ginza and Tokyo Station to the west. Grab the provided binoculars and spread out in the dark brown curved sofa and ottoman to gaze at the scene outside.
Though, you may opt to take in the view from the bathroom as you get ready (just slide the vanity mirror to the side and open the wooden blinds behind it). The gray granite bathroom is another standout with a roomy shower equipped with both a regular and rain-shower fixtures, a standalone sunken tub with a TV and an electronic Toto toilet.
The amenities are wrapped up like presents in the rooms at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo. Peek inside the bathroom’s black box to pilfer razors, cotton swabs, hair bands, toothbrushes, emery boards, a brush, body milk lotion and a large tube of chapstick from Apivita, bottles of minty moutwash and bath salts packets in scents like lavender and juniper. At the sink, you’ll find natural soap made with chamomile and a generous-sized tube of gentle facial cleanser, also from Apivita.
Open the black lacquer boxes at the foot of the bed to reveal a thick white short-sleeved button-down pajama top and matching bottoms, a tan-and-black patterned yukata (a kimono-style evening robe) and one of Mandarin’s signature fans. To get you in sleep mode, housekeeping drops off a pillow menu and some Lohas Fragrance, made of essential oils and natural grain alcohol distilled from Japanese barley yeast. Pour the tiny bottle into the accompanying dish to let the calming lavender scent drift throughout your room.
The Food and Drinks
The Tokyo hotel knows how to do fantastic food (after all, it did devise having legendary Copenhagen restaurant Noma do a pop-up there). French fine dining at Signature takes a detour to Asia, thanks to Japanese ingredients, under chef Nicolas Boujéma (formerly executive chef of Pierre at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong). Fresh fish fans line Sushi Sora’s 350-year-old Japanese cypress counter to watch chef Yuji Imaizumi craft traditional Edo-mae sushi, a style dating back to the Edo period that stresses simple, measured but elegant preparation. Locals book up to three weeks in advance to score dim sum reservations at authentic Cantonese restaurant Sense, while those with adventurous palates try to snag one of the eight counter seats at innovative Tapas Molecular Bar for a culinary journey through a seasonal mash-up of modernist and Japanese cuisines.
In a city whose bars typically cater to men, Mandarin Bar stands apart with its team of all-female bartenders. The bar sought to create an ambience that makes solo women guests feel welcome to sit and enjoy a Mandarin Sunset (Japanese pear sake, sparkling sake, fresh passion fruit, lemon juice, green apple and housemade grenadine).
The relaxing spa wows with treatment rooms that overlook the city. For the most luxurious experience, upgrade to the spa’s Matsukaze Suite, which lets you soak in an infinity bath while peering out of two walls of windows. It’s a heavenly view.