Japan is always exciting, but there’s an extra tingle of anticipation in the air as it prepares to host the Tokyo 2019 Rugby World Cup next September and the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The four star Park Hotel Tokyo rubs shoulders with other towering competitors, but has a creative difference that has made it a favourite with Westerners and contemporary art fans. It makes an impression from the start as you step from the high-speed lift into the hotel’s 24th floor reception in a light-filled atrium spreading up ten floors dotted with contemporary art, to be greeted by bowing and broadly smiling staff.
Budget or boutique?
Tokyo’s hotels are often expensive but the Park Hotel is well-priced and a fabulous mid-range designer hotel, despite not having the most sophisticated address.
The rooms are on the small side, yet elegant, colour-coordinated, modern, clean and peaceful.
The 31st floor is a floor with a difference (rooms from £240 per night) and fabulous fun. Each room is hand-painted by a celebrated “Artist in Hotel” (a take on an Artist in Residence) who has painted directly on to the walls. The Samurai room by Kenyu Mitsuhashi and the single Edo-Tokyo room by Hidetaka Furukawa depicting the sights of Tokyo over the past 160 years were favourites, as well as the Castle room by Kazuki Mizuguchi, a nightscape with black walls and a white Japanese castle which took 454 days to complete including time to visit castles all over Japan.
I stayed in the queen-sized Lucky Cat room, designed by Hyõgo Mino and loved falling asleep watched over by huge, white, waving cats all over the walls. Guests staying in the artist rooms have access to a unique Art Concierge service, tours of other artist rooms and access to the ART Colours Exhibition gallery on the same floor, along with an exclusive lounge in which to enjoy breakfast with city views.
Wining and dining
Breakfast is not included in the rate. A big Western and Japanese buffet breakfast is served in the ART lounge on the 25th floor. The Tateru Yoshino Bis restaurant serves “casual French food” and the reasonably priced courses and à la carte selections come with fantastic 25th floor views.
The Hanasanshou restaurant is a great spot for a traditional Japanese kaiseki lunch, a multi-course meal including an appetiser served with sake, a simmered dish, a sashimi dish, a seasonal dish and a grilled dish, followed by a rice dish. The evening à la carte menu offers variety, including kaiseki cuisine and more than 50 types of sake. The Society bar serves a wide selection of Scottish whisky, fine wines and excellent cocktails.
Worth getting out of bed for
Located in the Shiodome Media Tower in Shimbashi, the Park Hotel is a three-minute walk along pedestrian walkways and tunnels to Shimbashi and Shiodome stations, and close to buses, restaurants and shops too.
It’s a short walk to the Tsukiji fish market, the world’s largest and busiest, and around 30 minutes from the Tokyo Dome, Ginza and Akihabara. Head to Daikanyama and wander around the bookshops, cafés, listening spaces and wine bars around the “T-site”. Get caught up in the crowds and walk to Shibuya Station to see the crazy pedestrian crossing, known as the world’s busiest, and large department stores.
Room extras on request include special pillows, nightwear, DVD player, Blu-ray player, air purifier, humidifier, trouser press, iron and ironing board and extra blankets.
There are coin-operated laundry facilities, a fitness centre, room service and parking. Some rooms offer additional beds for children.
Guest book comments
The service throughout the hotel is impeccable, with an abundance of smartly turned out staff ready to help in any way possible.
Prices start from approximately £170 per night. Book directly with the hotel for offers and the best rates, including a “Best Rate Guarantee” where if you find a lower rate within 24 hours, the hotel matches it and gives an additional 10% off. The Park Hotel, Shiodome Media Tower, 1-7-1 Higashi Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-7227 (+81(0)3 6252 1111