Remember the film from not so long ago: Lost in Translation? Well it was filmed in the Park Hyatt hotel in Tokyo. The bar is still in the same place, with a view of the whole city. At night it is truly magical, and in the daylight you can see Mount Fuji with its perfect cone-shaped peak. This really is an exceptional hotel, where the refinement and quality are unrivalled. The guest rooms are situated between the 42nd and 52nd floors - in other words you'll have Tokyo literally at your feet.
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The Park Hyatt hotel is located in the Shinjuku district next to the City Hall, designed by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. A 10-minute walk through the gardens will take you to the Shinjuku underground station, where the moving walkways help you get around quickly. Warning: Shinjuku is the world's biggest underground station. There must be at least sixty different exits! Always make sure to check the number of the exit you need, otherwise you could be walking around in circles for a long time! That said, the Japanese are very obliging and will go out of their way to help foreigners.
The airport bus (Limousine Bus) arrives directly at Shinjuku station. In addition to City Hall, Shinjuku is also home to several department stores (Isetan, Mitsukoshi, Takashimaya). The adjacent district, Kabukicho, comes alive a night. The underground will take you directly to the avant-garde Harajuku district, to the Omote Sando, the local version of the French Champs Elysées. A shuttle bus runs every 20 minutes from the hotel to Shinjuku station.
The hotel's 178 guest rooms are very large, even in the first category, at a minimum 45m2, and the large windows provide plenty of natural light (guests can request a room with a view of Mount Fuji). The rooms are decorated in beige, with elegant black wenge wood furniture, a glass desk, a lounge area with armchairs, the latest high-tech television, and free Wi-Fi Internet access. The bathrooms are huge, and are fitted with a sunken bathtub, a separate shower stall, and Japanese toilets, of course, complete with numerous buttons to activate the jets of water at various angles among other things...The electric blinds create a total 'blackout' effect, a nice touch to avoid getting 'lost in translation'. A minibar, tea and coffee-making facilities, bathrobes and slippers are all included in the amenities. Among the various room categories, and not to mention the splendid suites, note that the Corner rooms have the added advantage of offering two different views of the city.
Next you'll come across the stunning glass atrium: a Hyatt hallmark featured in all the hotels in the group, in smaller or larger versions. In view, the gym with its high-tech machines (obviously!), and a gorgeous indoor swimming pool overlooking the city. The Spa is, as is often the case in Hyatt Hotels, top quality, and even more so here in Japan. It's expensive, but you certainly get your money's worth, so we hear. The restaurant and bar area is completely separate from the guest room area - a great idea in our opinion. As you pass the restaurant, with the steak house on the left and the bar on the right, you'll find reception, all intimate and cosy. From here on the decor is identical: shades of Matcha green tea mixed with subtle tones of greige (grey-beige). Incidentally, a painting by the artist Chagall stands here on an easel.
The hotel is renowned throughout the city (which has more Michelin stars than Paris) for its restaurants. The most Western of them is Italian-themed, and is where the buffet breakfast is served. The Japanese restaurant, Kozue, serves only the finest foods, and as for the steak house, it's an absolute must! Kobe beef at its best - the bill too! On the bar side, you'll recognise the jazz-style bar from the film: the New York Bar. On the last floor is another bar with a nightclub, where both the view and the clientèle are breathtaking. Room service is available 24/7, as you'd expect.
The hotel reception is on the 41st floor, although the lifts with their exotic wood floors will take you there in no time. The staff here are simply outstanding. It's very rare to find a hotel where the service is so intelligent; staff are always available but never overbearing. Japan: a country with perfection in its genes. The Park Hyatt hotel: the epitome of perfection.
The Peninsula Hotels is originally a Chinese chain, but being used to attaining excellence in terms of quality in the hotel industry it just had to branch out to Tokyo, where the very best awaits visitors. The hotel opened in 2007, after 25 years of careful searching for the best location. A mix of the finesse of Japanese crafts and modernism, their Japanese masterpiece is not far from being the perfect hotel.
Warning: this is the top of the top! In terms of comfort, view, style and service. It's magical. Unfortunately, the price is less delightful! Although you might have to break the bank or win the lottery to stay here, it is one of the best hotels in the world. The M.O (as the Mandarin Oriental is known by those lucky enough to have stayed there) occupies the top floors of an ultra modern building, the only one in the district, overlooking all of Tokyo. When you hear that reception is on the 36th floor and that the guest rooms below continue down to the 30th floor, you'll understand that this is an upside-down hotel of sorts. Certainly an exceptional hotel in any case.
It's not what you think: there are no Japanese women in tiny bikinis ready to welcome guests. 'Strings' refers to actual string, of course. In this case it refers more specifically to the strings of a musical instrument, a balance of tension and relaxation. The architect was instructed to create a calming environment: mission accomplished. The renovation works carried out in 2008 on this old hotel have been a model of perfection, even if you won't come across many Japanese at the Strings, seeing as the hotel is mostly popular with Western tourists. Part of the excellent Intercontinental chain, the hotel has a yield policy (optimising prices) that will often get you a great deal in Tokyo.
It's not the size of this ochre brown building located at the heart of the Shinagawa district that impresses, but rather that it is a lovely place surrounded by gardens, cherry trees and manicured lawns. It is also not overly large. Its kitsch side actually adds to its charm. The only real reasons you need to stay here are that you will be very comfortable and the rates are very reasonable for a hotel in this category. Another reason for visiting it.
A beautiful 37-storey tower right in the middle of this slightly out of the centre but pleasant area. The architecture and the shiny marble hall probably won't do much to impress you, but it should be noted that the 1,000 guest rooms inside come at very reasonable prices and levels of comfort.