Tokyo has more luxury hotels than any city I’ve ever been in—and not just landmark properties like the Plaza Athenee in Paris or the St. Regis in New York, which are like rich, dependable aunts who take you in and help you forget that you’re in the middle of hubbub. No, what Tokyo has are ultra-modern hotels with lunar colony-like architecture that tower over the city and appear to have been cut out of anime comic books and pasted into the skyline. They are more like rich cousins in fast cars that drive too fast, but provide an exhilarating ride.
Park Hyatt Tokyo, made famous in Lost in Translation, is the epitome of cool with its Batman towers, relaxed Napa-valley style service, and gentle interiors overlooking the thrilling chaos of the Shinjuku neighborhood. And then there are the Mandarin Oriental with its sexy lounges and proximity to the palace; the Conrad with an eagle’s view of the harbor; and the spanking-new Ritz.
I don’t know how these properties can fill rooms, as the competition is fierce for yen, dollars, Euro, and yuan. In early September, a new Peninsula is going to add to the race.
I interviewed Stefan Moerth, the executive chef at Park Hyatt Tokyo, and Ricco DeBlank, General Manager at the Ritz, to see what they do to keep their properties at the top.