Five 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.
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 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.
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.