Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Peninsula Tokyo

17 Mar 2008 by Mark Caswell
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Opened in September 2007, the Peninsula Tokyo is the eighth property by the luxury brand (the Peninsula Shanghai is due to open in 2009). It is also the first free-standing luxury hotel to be built in Japan’s capital for over a decade – the majority of hotels in Tokyo form part of mixed-use buildings and often involve getting a lift to the main entrance, so it was refreshing to enter the 24-storey Peninsula from the ground floor. The lobby features a huge bamboo sculpture depicting a dragon lying over the universe, a centrepiece concave chandelier with 1,313 light bulbs, and a mezzanine level with grand piano entertainment. You should also keep an eye out for “the Void”, a large black hole decorated with light sculptures running vertically through the centre of the hotel (viewable through windows by the lifts). It is the result of a curious planning law, which says a certain amount of the property must remain unused. WHERE IS IT? Adjacent to the Imperial Palace and Hibiya Park, with views of both. The hotel is connected to Hibiya subway station via the basement, and also has an entrance onto Marunouchinaka-dori, a tree-lined shopping street with high-end brands such as Tumi and Emporio Armani. The famous Ginza district is a few minutes walk from the hotel. HOW MANY ROOMS? 314, including 16 Superior rooms, 251 Deluxe and 47 suites. ROOM FACILITIES Interior designer Yukio Hashimoto has managed to incorporate traditional elements from Japanese culture, while retaining a modern feel to the rooms. The latest technology sits alongside wooden lattice motifs, Ajiro ceiling panels made of hand-woven cedar wood, and granite and cherry wood décor in the bathrooms. Superior rooms measure 51 sqm, with Deluxe rooms starting from 54 sqm, and all have a king-size bed, sofa, coffee table, dining table, large workdesk, 42-inch plasma screen TV, DVD player, Lavazza coffee machine, safe, minibar, and separate bath/rain shower. Deluxe rooms and above have a separate dressing room with a valet box, while Superior rooms have a smaller dressing area within the hallway. Technology is something Peninsula takes very seriously – the group employs 20 full-time staff to research and implement new technology in its hotels, and it shows. Free wired and wifi internet access is standard in all rooms, as is internet radio, which offers a choice of 3,000 channels and is programmed to the guest’s country of residence upon arrival. There is also as a fax machine, which doubles as a printer, and two telephones – a Skype-enabled wired phone and a mobile phone, which can be used anywhere in the hotel (connecting directly to the room’s line), and to make outgoing calls anywhere within the Tokyo metropolitan area. Other in-room features include air conditioning with humidifier, electronic weather panel, multi-pin sockets, a bedside panel controlling nearly all the in-room technology, and a flatscreen TV in the bathroom, while as for the Buck Rogers-style self-flushing toilet – its myriad of functions need to be used to be believed. RESTAURANTS AND BARS There are five eating options at the hotel, ranging from the Peninsula Boutique and Café on basement level one, to Peter on the 24th floor. The latter is named after a long-serving Peninsula employee, and serves “internationally inspired cuisine” in plush purple, wood and steel surroundings with 360-degree views of Tokyo – signature dishes include Sendai beef brisket confit and Hokkaido Zuwaigani crab. Hei Fung Terrace on the hotel’s second floor serves Cantonese dishes, and features a chef’s table in a private room overlooking the stoves and the kitchen’s fish tank. Back in the basement, the Peninsula partners with Tsuruya, a kaiseki-style Japanese restaurant. Guests can also watch the hotel’s pastries and chocolates being made on this level, through large windows looking into the kitchens. Finally, the appropriately named The Lobby has all-day dining, as well as a popular afternoon tea offering. BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The main function rooms at the hotel are located on floors three to five, although there is also the Banquet room on the 24th floor, with a capacity for 60 diners, and the Seven Seas Pacific Aviation lounge, dedicated to the history of Japanese civil aviation. The largest function room is the Grand Ballroom, with space for 250 guests for a reception. Other rooms range from 150 theatre-style down to ten for a boardroom meeting, with views of Ginza or Marunouchinaka-dori. The business centre is located on the basement level, and has wired and wireless internet access. LEISURE FACILITIES Peninsula has partnered with Espa for its spa facilities, with eight treatment rooms located on the sixth floor, as well as the Thermal Suite, consisting of steam rooms, dry saunas, aromatherapy showers and ice fountains. One floor up, there is a gym and a 20-metre pool with views of the Imperial Palace. VERDICT Beautifully decorated, particularly in the lobby area, with in-room technology that is comprehensive without being confusing. An excellent, well-located hotel, and if you really want to arrive in style, there’s always the hotel’s fleet of Rolls-Royce Phantoms for hire. PRICE Internet rates for a mid-week stay in early April started at JPY54,500 (£266) for a Deluxe King (room-only). CONTACT 1-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku; tel +81 362 702 888; tokyo.peninsula.com. Mark Caswell
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