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The Luxury Hotel Insider:Exclusive luxury hotel deals, features and special rates from the luxury hotel experts at Five Star Alliance.

Named one of Tripbase's Best Luxury Travel Blogs for 2011, below are Five Star Alliance's newest articles featuring exclusive information on luxury hotels worldwide including special offers and deals at the world's best hotels.


Featured Journeys: Luxury Tour of Japan

In this edition of Featured Journeys, we're going on a Luxury Tour of Japan. The country's four main islands (Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku) are connected via a network of railways. For this journey, we recommend beginning in Tokyo, then using the country's network of trains to reach Kyoto and Osaka. Japan's shinkansen (bullet trains) operate local and express routes, while long-haul routes referred to as futsū or kaku-eki-teisha, have green car carriages which are more spacious and similar to business class. 


Tokyo
Kyoto
Osaka

Tokyo

This megapolis offers a study of contrasts, from Shiodome's skyscrapers to the trendy Harajuku, and Zen-like gardens that come alove with cherry blossome in the springtime, Tokyo offers a mix of urban settings and traditional gardens. For a spectacular display of Japanese arts, visit the Tokyo National Museum. Be sure to meander the indoor Tsukiji Fish Market--one of the largest fish markets in the world, and go to the 45th floor of the Tokyo Government Office (TMG) for a panoramic view of the metropolis and Mount Fuji on clear days. When it's time for contemplation, head to Hama Rikyu Garden with fish ponds, moon-viewing pavilion, and teahouses. From the garden's pier, visitors can board the ferry to Asakusa, filled with traditional homes and narrow streets that were once the pleasure quarters of the old Edo. The area, sometimes referred to as shitamachi (old town), is also home to the Buddhist Sensoji Temple, dating back to A.D. 628, it is the city's oldest temple, and it is reachable via the Nakimise Dori, a colorful pedestrian lane lined with shops selling traditional products and souvenirs. For electronics, Akihabara is Japan's shopping destination for electronics, appliances, gadgets, and the latest gizmos, while Ginza is Tokyo's upscale shopping district with international boutiques, exclusive restaurants, and department stores. Nightlife options include kabuki dance-drama shows at Kabuki-za, sumo wrestling at Kokugikan Stadium, and Nippon Professional Baseball games from late March to early October. 

Here are a few of the top Tokyo Luxury Hotels:

Aman Tokyo

Suite bathroom at the Aman Tokyo

Perched on the top six floors of the Otemachi Tower, Aman Tokyo combines modernity and tradition. Designed to offer a warm sanctuary, guest rooms and suite feature Washi paper, timbers, and stone furnishings mingled with luxurious fabrics. Located in Otemachi, the property is close to Tokyo Station and the Nihonbashi district. 

Check availability at Aman Tokyo

 

The Peninsula Tokyo

The Pool at The Peninsula Tokyo

Opposite the Imperial Palace and Hibiya Park, The Peninsula Tokyo is steps away from the upscale shopping district of Ginza. From the outdoor terrace of The Peninsula Spa, guests can see the Imperial Palace, or relax in the indoor heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi, saunas, and relaxation areas. Offering five unique restaurants, the property also has a wedding chapel, Japanese ceremony room, two ballrooms, and six function rooms.

Learn more about The Peninsula Tokyo

 

Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

The Lobby of the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

Upon arrival at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, guests are ushered to a private entrance and whisked to the hotel's Sky Lobby on the 38th floor. For a serene experience, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental has heat and water experiences, a crystal steam room for meditation, four treatment rooms, and five private spa suites with views of the city 36 floors below. There's also gourmet dining, and a fully-equipped fitness center with a high-tech gymnasium. 

Check availability at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

 

Explore all Tokyo Luxury Hotels

 

Kyoto

While Tokyo may showcase the futuristic side of Japan, Kyoto offers visitors a glimpse into the country's mysterious past. Featuring thousands of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, visitors can travel back in time to the city's age of empires at the Imperial Palace with moat-ringed gardens and the cypress wood carvings at Nijo Castle. In Gion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, geishas glide through cobblestone alleys past traditional teahouses, and Ryoanji provides a peaceful rock garden setting for meditation. As the craft capital of Japan, the Kyoto Handicraft Center is the place to find fans, wooden combs, and fabrics ideal for hosting a tea ceremony, while department stores are best for kimonos and lacquerwares. Kyoto is also filled with cherry trees, making it an ideal destination during sakara, the cherry blossom season (usually mid-March to mid-April) with Imperial Palace Park (Kyoto Gosho) and the canalside Path of Philosophy (Tetsugaku-no-Michi) both offering ideal places to view the blossoms. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

The Garden Terrace Suite Tatami at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo

Providing scenic views of the Higashiyama Sanju-Roppo, The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto is located on the banks of the Kamogawa River. The property's 134 guest rooms and suites were designed by Remedios Design Studio and feature a blend of traditional Japanese decor, Kyoto craft traditions, and luxurious modern comforts such as private Zen garden terrace decks, traditional tatami mats, and views of the river and Higashiyama mountains. 

Learn more about The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

 

The Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto

The Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto

Receiving guests since 1890, The Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto is perched on a hilltop with 16 acres of Japanese gardens and a wild bird sanctuary. Close to temples and Kyoto sites, there's a light-filled indoor pool with floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light and mountain views, plus a seasonal Lake Biwa-shaped outdoor pool. 

Check availability at The Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto

 

Suiran

Springtime at Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Situated along the river, Suiran, A Luxury Collection Hotel, is located within a historic Kyoto community. Steps away from the Tenryu-ji World Heritage Site, the hotel provides an authentic Japanese experience. There are two restaurants on-site serving local cuisine, plus a spa nestled within a Japanese garden with two treatment rooms featuring open-air baths with healing waters from the Arashiyama hot springs. 

Learn more about Suiran, A Luxury Collection Hotel

 

Explore all Kyoto Luxury Hotels

 

Osaka

Considered the Gateway to Western Japan, Osaka has a history dating back nearly 1,500 years. Over time, the city became an important distribution center, especially for the rice trade. Today, Osaka is the third largest city in Japan, and known as an international and progressive business center. The Osaka Castle was built about 400 years ago, offering visitors a glimpse into the past along with panoramic city views from the castle's observation deck. To learn more about the city, the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living has a replica of the city and a variety of exhibits. One of the city's most recognizable landmarks is the Umeda Sky Building, which has an observation deck, and Universal Studios Japan is a short train ride from the city. Known for its strong food culture, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and udon should be on visitors lists of foods to try.

The St. Regis Osaka

The St. Regis Osaka

Set along the famed street of Midosuji, referred to as the Champs Elysées of Osaka, The St. Regis Osaka provides an ultra-luxe setting with gastronomic discoveries and high end services, including personalized St. Regis Butler Service. There's multiple gourmet dining options, and guest rooms have upscale amenities including pillow menus with 11 options, 300-thread-count-sheets, and espresso machines. Plus, the Family Traditions program offers unique experiences geared toward young travelers.

Check availability at The St. Regis Osaka

 

The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka

Japanese Suite at the Ritz-Carlton, Osaka

Within walking distance of boutique shopping and ancient sites, The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka is located in the prestigious Nishi-Umeda district. Featuring a style reminiscent of an 18th century English manor house, the hotel has a 450-piece art and antique collection. There's Japanese, Chinese, and Italian restaurants, plus a spa, and fitness center with a heated indoor pool, saunas, and indoor and outdoor whirlpools. 

Learn more about The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka

 

Hotel Hankyu International

Hotel Hankyu International

Featuring European-inspired interiors, Hotel Hankyu International occupies the top ten floors and the first six levels of the Applause Tower. Inspired by the 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio, public spaces evoke the feel of Venice and Florence with atrium ceilings, a courtyard with a fountain, and elevators with golden ceilings. Overlooking the city, mountains, and Yodo River, guest rooms and suites have spacious bathrooms with marble floors and large windows. 

Check availability at Hotel Hankyu International

Explore all Osaka Luxury Hotels

 

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The Cafe by Aman at Aman Tokyo is a peaceful oasis on the ground floor of The Otemachi Tower. Nestled amid the Otemachi Forest, a 3,600-square-metre manmade woodlands incorporating fauna from across Japan, The Cafe is flooded with natural light through its floor-to-ceiling windows, and seating is available both indoors and outdoors for lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. The Café is open from 11am to 10pm on weekdays.  11am to 9pm on weekends and holidays.

Aman Tokyo

Book a stay at Aman Tokyo >>


The Presidential Suite at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo has marbled bathroom features, a Jacuzzi bathtub,
walk-in shower, black marble sinks, and a television. There are heated floors and towel racks, and plush
terry bathrobes. The view from the tub includes a glimpse at Mount Fuji.

Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

Book a stay at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo >>


Occupying the top six floors of the recently-built Otemachi Tower, Aman Tokyo is an urban sanctuary high above the atmospheric whirl of tradition and modernity that epitomises Tokyo. A warm and exclusive sanctuary, Aman Tokyo draws its design inspiration from traditional Japanese residential structures. Classic Japanese materials such as timber, Washi paper and stone are blended to great effect with modern technology and luxurious fabrics. Filtered light contrasts with solid elements, creating a subtle interplay of shadow and light fundamental to the design and ambiance of the hotel.

Aman Tokyo

Book a stay at Aman Tokyo >>


Park Hyatt Tokyo features a 26x65 foot (8x20 metre) Sky Pool. Stunning panoramic views of Tokyo and a snow-peaked Mount Fuji can be seen through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls from the surrounding deck chairs. Club On The Park offers classes in aqua exercise and aqua walking which rotate every six months. After a swim, guests may enjoy soothing drinks and light refreshments from the poolside menu.

Park Hyatt Tokyo 

View rates, details, and more images of Park Hyatt Tokyo >>


We at Five Star Alliance work tirelessly to ensure we bring you the best luxury hotels selection and information regarding amenities, location, and highlights so you are confident that the hotel you choose will exceed your expectations and serve your needs. Sometimes, however, you are left with a few questions that go unanswered, and that’s why we’re here. Be sure to explore our new blog series ‘Your Questions Answered’ to find answers to real questions submitted to us by our clients regarding traveling with kids, pets, the best beach hotels, and much more.

Hotel Nikko TokyoQUESTION: We are a family of 5 and looking to stay in Tokyo . What resort offers the best accommodations for our family?

ANSWER: Hotel Nikko Tokyo offers a truly unique view of the exciting Tokyo's urban waterfront from all of the spacious and luxurious guestrooms, which are equipped with spacious balconies and state of the art facilities. For your family, we recommend Ocean View -Connecting Rooms For 4 -6 People. There are also Superior Category rooms offering Partial Ocean View. These rooms offer twin beds or a double bed. Rooms are 40 sqM in size.

At this amazing location, guests enjoy top-class lodging, quality dining, a spa with wide range of programs, full blown convention facility, wedding services, and refined and sincere hospitality. Enjoy the sunset with selected champagne. Feast your palate while you feast your eyes with the spectacular landscape, be it at a traditional Japanese Sushi bar or a cheerful terrace restaurant. Wrap up your day at a quiet bar. All is possible on-site at Hotel Nikko Tokyo. Top quality dining is offered at 10 restaurants and bars in the premises, presenting various styles of cuisines, prepared with fresh and carefully sort-after ingredients, that are guaranteed to make your Tokyo stay memorable. 

Hotel Nikko Tokyo

Indulge yourself in the Spa and fitness facility Zen before and after a busy day of sightseeing with personalized and original spa programs ranging from Shiatsu with the locally-famous Namikoshi methods, to various Thalasso and originally developed Aroma therapy programs which will soothe and revitalize you after sight-seeing or shopping duties. 

All rates are based on double occupancy and extra person charges may apply. Please be advised that the rates, availability, as well as any extra person charges are subject to change depending on the hotel’s policies.

View rates, details, and more images of Hotel Nikko Tokyo >>

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The Peninsula Tokyo
The Peninsula Tokyo
has rolled out an exciting new array of experiential courses for guests wanting to learn first-hand about Japanese culture.  The experiential learning is done through personalized classes, tours, and activities. These new programs have been designed from a local Japanese perspective and highlight key aspects that speak to the Japanese culture, heritage, lifestyle, cuisine, arts, and more. "The Art of the Kimono program is one of the many new classes that the hotel has created. Guests of the hotel get introduced to the Japanese culture and lifestyle by learning about the complexities of putting on the formal kimono During the program guests are professionally fitted and dressed in the traditional Japanese garment. Guests can select the kimono of their choice to try on from the available selection provided by the famous Japanese kimono designer Hatsuko Endo. Guests also have the option to don a traditional Japanese hairstyle and makeup with the opportunity to commemorate the experience with professional photographs at additional cost.

View rates, details, and more images of The Peninsula Tokyo>>

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Palace Hotel TokyoFive Star Alliance's sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor recently had the pleasure of touring the brand new Palace Hotel Tokyo.  Travel Guru Joe Pike (you can read more from Joe here: http://www.thejoepikeblog.com/) offers the following details about his recent stay:
 

Demolishing an iconic hotel isn't always a smart decision for a tourism-entrenched city to make, but when you replace it with a new, luxurious, $1.2 billion, modern chic hotel bearing the same name, it quickly turns into one of the best business decisions a destination can make.

Luxury Travel Advisor toured Wednesday the new Palace Hotel Tokyo, which officially reopened on May 17. It replaced the previous Palace Hotel Tokyo, which opened in 1961, was located at the same site and knocked down in 2009.

Here's what you need to know to pitch one of Japan's hottest new hotels.

The Rooms

All of the rooms face one direction, meaning every VIP, no matter what category they are staying in, gets view of the city.

Luxury Travel Advisor stayed in room no. 2207, a Club Deluxe Room W/ Balcony. Note: not all of these rooms have balconies, so be sure to request a balcony. Without a balcony, the room simply lacks one of our favorite features. There is nothing like seeing the city lit up at night, while enjoying a beverage on the terrace.

The best room here is the Palace Suite, which is the hotel's version of a Presidential Suite. The room is roughly 2,200 square feet. It comes with one bedroom with double beds, but can also connect. There are a lot of powerful colors in this room, including a lot of black and gold throughout the bedroom. Note: This room is a traditional Japanese style room and it's typical for Japanese couples to sleep in separate beds. There is also a very large balcony, 60-inch televisions in both the bedroom and the living and a separate kitchen and dining area. Tip: The dining area can be used for private dinners, including wine and sake pairings.

Restaurants and Bars

All of the restaurants are open to locals, which is why it is very important for advisors to book reservations for VIPs at least two weeks in advance since there is a huge local contingent of businessmen who frequent the hotel's restaurants.

The Grand Kitchen is located on the first level and where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. Nice Touch: There is a small garden area outside that seats roughly 25 guests while another outdoor terrace area can seat up to 40 guests. Tip: Both outdoor areas can be rented out for small groups. The Grand Kitchen serves a number of cuisines from pasta to pizza to paelle. We ordered the "Hirata Farm" Pork Loin with mash potatoes, mushrooms and sage.

The Palace Lounge is a great place to have a cocktail. It has a very living room type feel and feels very homey. The lounge also has a piano with live performances nighty. Afternoon tea is served here from 2 - 4p.m. with more than 45 different teas offered.

The Royal Bar, located on the first floor is a very sophisticated bar with an impressive piece of abstract art occupying an entire wall. Fun Fact: The piece of an abstract dragon is meant to be an ode to the year the hotel reopened.

Wadakura is the hotel's signature restaurant, serving such Japanese favorites as sushi and tempora. It seats up to 118 people but is so scattered that it doesn't feel so large. In fact, there is a separate Tempora bar, called Tatsumi, located within Wadakura. Nice Touch: The restaurant offers nine private rooms, serving anywhere from four to 10 people. Note: We were told these are usually the first rooms to be reserved so be sure to book this at least two weeks in advance as well. Also, located within Wasakura is a separately managed sushi bar as well as Go, an area dedicated to teppanyaki.

The Crown restaurant is the hotel's French dining option. This restaurant has a strong art deco feel with floor-to-ceiling windows, offering an incredible view of the city.

Prive is another impressive lounge. It's very similar to the Palace Lounge except its a bit sexier, a bit more modern chic. Like the Palace Lounge, it also offers tea, but with a more French inspiration. The ambience of this lounge is designed to give VIPs a forest-like feel. Its basically a really chill, relaxed environment. Nice Touch: There is also a small outdoor lounge area with black leather seats and couches.

Amber Palace is the hotel's Chinese restaurant. There are a lot of amber hues throughout the restaurants, hence the name.

The Spa

The hotel is home to the Evian Spa, which takes the name of the famous brand of bottled of water. In fact, Evian water is handed to VIPs along with a fresh towel as they workout in the fitness center, which is open 24 hours a day and offers city views from all of its treadmills. The spa is made up of just five treatment rooms and one spa suite. VIPs who pay for a treatment can use all of the spa's facilities. There is a modest fee to use the pool, however, if VIPs don't have a spa treatment. The fitness center is free for everyone. Note: Club Members, those staying on floors 18-23 and also in some select rooms on the 16th and 17th floors, have free access to the pool regardless of whether they have a spa treatment or not.

Weddings

The hotel is home to a Western-style chapel, which can have up to 12 weddings a day. There is also a Japanese shrine for more traditional weddings, but we were told roughly 80-90 percent of the guests use the Western-style chapel.

Who to Book For

Roughy 60 percent of the VIPs here are business travelers while the remaining 40 percent are leisure travelers. There are roughly 15-20 percent Americans here. We would suggest the hotel for business travelers or couples and families looking for a hotel just 20 minutes away from the famous Ginza shopping district.

 


We at Five Star Alliance are all about the best and most luxurious hotels. We certainly keep up with the happenings in the luxury travel world and take pride in bringing our clients the latest luxury travel news. Keep up with our blog series where we’ll be featuring luxury hotels opening in 2012 to stay on top of the trends and make your reservations at the newest hotspots.

The Palace Hotel Tokyo is set to have its grand opening next month on May 17th, 2012! This luxury hotel is located in the heart of Tokyo and it aims to provide the absolute best of Japan. Its history dates back to the 1947 opening of Hotel Teito, which then became the Palace Hotel in 1961. The Palace Hotel ceased operations in 2009 in preparation for its restoration as the contemporary Palace Hotel Tokyo, and it is now a beautifully renovated luxury hotel equipped with the most modern facilities and amenities. There are 290 guest rooms and suites, each at least 45 square meters in size and all beautifully decorated with comfort and luxury in mind. Guests staying in the Club rooms or suites have access to the private club lounge, and the hotel has a new renowned spa facility, fine dining options on site, and a phenomenal event space that can accommodate up to 1,500 people. Be one of the first to experience this newly redesigned luxury hotel in Tokyo and make your reservations for any time after May 17th, 2012!


There's a very interesting split in the travel industry between business and leisure travelers.  And if you're one of the business types, you know well that you're on the road constantly and the things that matter to you, travel convenience, efficiency, and connectivity, are almost the opposite of what a leisure traveler might want.  If the word 'secluded' ever appeared in a hotel description, you'd cross it off the list immediately.  So I'm here to use some adjectives you might appreciate hearing in describing some of the world's best business hotels.  Today? Tokyo.

Guests may be familiar with the criticallly-acclaimed Park Hyatt Tokyo from its estranged cinematic guests from the film Lost in Translation.  Designed as a modern private residence, the 178 rooms and suites are the most spacious in the city.  Its 24-hour business center gives you unparalleled access to everything you might need, and it is located next to the city's major transportation hub.  The Shinjuku station provides rail and subway access to anywhere in the city. Extensive meeting and business facilities provide spacious room for anything from business meetings to conferences.  And you can wine and dine your clients at the New York Grill, number one for the past five years in Tokyo's Zagat Survey.  The Park Hyatt Tokyo is everything a business traveler looks for, packaged up nicely in one convenient location.  And who knows? You might even have an incredibly dysfunctional but endearing relationship with an American transplant while you're there.


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