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Great Escapes // Tokyo's Chic Hotels

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Mandarin Oriental
The Jet Setter: Easily one of Tokyo’s most stylish hotels, the 179-room Mandarin Oriental on the top floors of a Cesar Pelli-designed tower in the Nihombashi business district packs plenty of panache to please the global glitterati. For starters, there’s its location a few doors down from the flagship Mitsukoshi department store and a short walk from the posh Ginza district. Sleek yet understated interiors offer a modern take on traditional Japanese motifs, and amenities such as the (Michelin-starred) eight-seat restaurant specializing in molecular gastronomy and a spa with sky-high views are undoubtedly of the moment.
Mandarin Oriental
The spa at the Mandarin Oriental.
Mandarin Oriental
A stunning view at the Mandarin Oriental.
Mandarin Oriental
Molecular gastronomy at the Mandarin Oriental.
The Peninsula Tokyo
The Modern Lady (or Gentleman) Who Lunches: There’s something just so wonderfully put-together about The Peninsula, a 314-room gem located on the edge of Ginza, opposite the Imperial Palace. Enter through the revolving door and you’re immediately confronted by a lovely blend of old and new world in the lobby, with its dramatic wood paneling and fabrics made by a popular kimono designer. It’s where Tokyo’s elite go to see and be seen. Upstairs in the guest rooms, it’s much of the same, thanks to the muted, earth-toned palette and bedside electronic panels that control virtually everything.
The Peninsula Tokyo
A deluxe suite living room at The Peninsula Tokyo.
Park Hyatt

The Pop Culture Fiend: You know it from its dazzling turn in Lost in Translation (this wouldn’t be a story on Tokyo without mentioning Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film), but there’s more to the 177-room Park Hyatt. The Hollywood star is Tokyo’s original, international luxury hotel, and it’s still the only five-star digs in the frenetic Shinjuku district—the perfect base for someone who wants to experience the crazy, neon-lit side of Tokyo. Thankfully, things calm down considerably when you get off the elevator on the 41st floor of the tower, designed by late Japanese starchitect Kenzo Tange. After being led through the intimate lobby to check in, you’re escorted to a guest room that is among the city’s largest. And for downtime, there’s the 47th-floor glass-roofed swimming pool.

The dining room at the Park Hyatt, photo courtesy of Hyatt Hotels

The Cool Kid: Tokyo is home to some of the most fashionable people on the planet (just take a walk along Omotesando Dori to experience a living runway), but there was a shocking lack of design-forward boutique hotels—until the Claska opened in the trendy Meguro design district in 2003. It positively drips cool, from the 18 rooms in four different schemes (our favorites: Tatami (pictured), with minimal furniture and tatami mat floors, and the four eclectic D.I.Y.’s, each imagined and built by one individual designer) to its onsite art gallery and dog-grooming salon.
The Art Lover: One of Tokyo’s newest hotels, the 200-room Shangri-La resembles an art gallery as much as a hotel. In a stellar location on the top 11 floors of a tower in the city’s Marunouchi business district, and adjacent to Tokyo Station, the Shang showcases more than 2,000 pieces of original artwork by some of Asia’s most talented artists. The hotel is all about eye candy, Japanese-style: flower arrangements by Danish flower artist Nicolai Bergmann; the hotel’s kaiseki restaurant, Nadaman, with designer Andre Fu’s avant-garde spin on traditional nature motifs; and the lobby’s dramatic, three-story, computer-controlled chandelier.
Shangri-La Bell Staff
The hotel’s best feature, though, might be the bell staff: They will even escort you through the labyrinthine Tokyo Station, bags and all, and see you comfortably seated on one of the country’s famed bullet trains.
Grand Hyatt Tokyo

The Thrill Seeker: Just call the massive 389-room Grand Hyatt Tokyo in the Roppongi district Tokyo’s “something for everyone” hotel. Part of the 28-acre Roppongi Hills development, it has its own seven restaurants (from French to steak to sushi), a top-notch spa and expansive gym. And if that’s not enough, you can stroll a few feet into Roppongi Hills, which houses more than 200 shops and restaurants, a contemporary art museum and a megacinema. Of course, it wouldn’t be Tokyo without a stylish touch, and the Grand Hyatt delivers.

A guest room at the Grand Hyatt, photo courtesy of Hyatt Hotels

Before Chinese cities such as Shanghai flexed their five-star muscles, there was Tokyo. Today, the gleaming metropolis has its share of designer temples—and even better, time has given the city’s luxury landscape an air of sophistication that its other Asian brethren sometimes lack. In Tokyo, lodgings are kitted out with the world’s most high-tech toilets, incredible service and lobbies built up in the sky. Here is our guide to finding the perfect bed, whatever your taste.

By Elizabeth Woodson

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