Andaz’s signature blend of luxury and locality is immediately evident as you step into the lobby of its latest opening in Tokyo. More than 50 storeys up (the hotel fills the top seven floors of the second highest building in the city), Hokkaido walnut wood and rice paper panels remind guests that while they may be standing at the top of a giant column made of steel and glass, they’re also in Toranomon, the historic centre of Tokyo and the old home of the Imperial Palace.
Check-in is easy enough. Instead of a reception desk there’s a giant wooden table where you sit with a drink while staff-members armed with iPads collect your bags and record your dining plans. The options? If you don’t want to leave the hotel, Andaz Tavern’s delicately prepared modern-European cuisine hits the spot every time (the akagi beef chateaubriand is spectacular). Alternatively, go exploring; Tokyo has one of the most vibrant culinary scenes in the world.
The 164 rooms (including eight suites) continue the seamless marriage of Japanese design and modern luxury with green tea-coloured carpets, more Hokkaido wood and – best of all – circular bathtubs. Really, though, no interior design feature could ever compare to the view. With Tokyo Bay and Tokyo Tower to the south, Shibuya to the west and Chiyoda to the north, there’s plenty to gawp at no matter what side of the hotel you stay on.
Fifty floors above the melee, the slow, steady creep of Tokyo traffic has a strangely calming effect, but if you really want to relax, there’s the spa, which has all the lotions, potions and treatments you could ever wish for. Don’t be put off by the “Blend Bar” (a sort of fruit and veg shop manned by robed, smiling masseuses) – just get a massage. It will be just what you need, especially after a day spent fighting the crowds in central Tokyo.
Despite its historic roots, these days Toranomon is quiet and corporate, with few things worthy of a tourist’s itinerary. It doesn’t matter, though, because it’s so well connected. With the Ginza subway line just a five minute walk away, you’re within easy reach of Hairajuku’s bubblegum wackiness and Shibuya’s famous crossing (you know, the one in all the pictures that looks like Piccadilly Circus times ten). That said, when it comes to evening entertainment you’ll find it difficult to tear yourself away from the hotel’s rooftop bar that attracts a glittering mixture of hotel guests and affluent Tokyoites. There’s also a chapel on the roof (perfect for a Shogun wedding. Sorry).
Andaz – the boutiquey arm of luxury hotelier Hyatt – gets its name from an old Hindi word meaning “personal style”. Since the first one opened in London in 2007, it claims to have “offered an environment free of barriers, where ideas are exchanged and encouraged”. It’s up for debate whether low-level lighting and minimalist, locally sourced décor is enough to promote the exchange of ideas. One thing is certain, though – it makes for a wonderful holiday.
King Room at Andaz Tokyo from about £380 (standard rate) or £327 (advanced purchase rate), including breakfast, taxes and service charge.
Call 0845 888 1234 or visit andaztokyo.com.
To book a table at Andaz Tavern, call 0081-03-6830-7739 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
KLM flies to Tokyo Narita via Amsterdam with a choice of 15 departure points in Britain, as well as direct flights from Amsterdam to Fukuoka.
Fares start from £583 (return). See klm.com.
For more information about travel in Japan, visit seejapan.co.uk.