My apologies, this is a bit of a belated guest post/review from my sister who stayed at the Tokyo Station Hotel in Tokyo, Japan in December 2015.
December 9, 2015
The Tokyo Station Hotel just celebrated their 100th birthday on November 2, 2015. At a century old, the hotel is full of life and grandeur. Decor is classic modern, upholstered with minimalist art deco motifs with warm lighting design throughout the hallways. All rooms have tall ceilings (3 – 4 meters) — a rare luxury in Tokyo — and it is located at the heart of the business and Marunouchi shopping districts. Further, it sits right above the Tokyo Station stop, making traveling around the city convenient and hassle free.
To ready itself for the next century, the hotel underwent a massive renovation project from 2006-2012. Although rooted deep in history, the service and energy throughout the hotel exudes excitement and humble pride. Upon arrival, you are greeted by a bellboy/girl who will kindly escort you to the check-in counter. If you have the good fortune of meeting Duty Manager, Mr. Kamata, he will make sure that you are taken cared of and provide practical suggestions to your itinerary.
There are plenty of dining options at the hotel – ranging from haute cuisine to elegant bars and casual dining. We thoroughly enjoyed our evening cocktails at the lobby lounge (with live harp music) and at Bar Oak where we were served by a bartender who has worked at the hotel for over half a century – he started at the tender age of 19!
We would be repeat guests at the Tokyo Station Hotel for the service, comfort, and location. However, it is important to note that for the amount of money one would spend per night (rooms range from ~ USD$250-2,000), basic amenities like the usage of gym and sauna facilities are not included and will cost each guest an additional USD$20+ per session. While this is rather disappointing, one could easily go for a run around the Imperial Palace grounds across the street.
Other than highlighting our experience at the Tokyo Station Hotel, we would like to share our dining excursions, notable sites and the new Murakami exhibition at the Mori Art Museum.
Restaurant Sant Pau, a Catalan restaurant in Tokyo has two Michelin stars. Its original branch in Sant Pol De Mar, Catalonia (60 km north of Barcelona) has three Michelin stars and is one of the few restaurants of its caliber to have a female chef who was not trained professionally. Our experience was superb and we will let the photographs speak for itself ~
BEARD is a farm-to-table restaurant located in the residential neighborhood of Meguro. If possible, try to get reservations at the counter where you can watch chef Shin Harakawa prep and cook. Harakawa speaks English and will kindly answer any questions you may have about the neighborhood, travels, and of course, food! Like his personality, the space is warm and inviting. Each dish was fresh, simple and made with many layers of texture and flavor – very delicious!
(I too have had to fortune of dining here for brunch, and it truly is delicious, quaint, and homey.)
Like every big city around the world, Tokyo is decorated with twinkling lights this time of year. They call this the “Illuminations,” which are decorated on tree lined streets around major shopping areas. One of the highlights include the light show at Tokyo Midtown and the light sculptures around the Marunouchi shopping district.
Last but not least, a feast to your eyes! Check out the Murakami exhibit (showing until March 6, 2016) at the Mori Art Museum! The star of the show is a painting titled “The 500 Arhats,” which stands at 3 meters high and 100 meters long, making it one of the largest paintings in the world. Murakami created this painting after the 2011 Tsunami / Earthquake that struck eastern Japan. He wanted to address life, nature, social turmoil and religion. This is one of his best works yet. Much time was spent researching Buddhist literature and paintings. A must see if you have a chance to visit the museum!!
Happy Travels in 2016!