Tried & Tested

Hotel review: The Okura Tokyo

1 Feb 2023 by Hannah Brandler
The Okura

Background

The Okura Tokyo was founded in 1962 and closed in 2015 for a reconstruction by architect Yoshio Taniguchi. Extensive research was carried out to ensure that the new structures remained faithful to the original design, including a recreation of the original lobby designed by the architect’s father, Yoshiro Taniguchi.

The hotel reopened in September 2019 and the site (known as Okura Square) houses the Okura Museum of Art (free for guests) and two perpendicular buildings – the 17-storey Heritage Wing, for more private stays, and the 41-storey high-rise Prestige Tower, home to guest rooms, dining and leisure facilities and offices. A covered walkway on the ground floor connects the two buildings.

Where is it?

The Okura Square is located in the city’s Toranomon business district, with sloped streets on three sides of the property. The main entrance is on the reinan-zaka slope, opposite the US embassy.

The Okura Heritage Wing lobby

What's it like?

While it has had a modern makeover, The Okura retains its old-school glamour and nods to the past with Japanese artworks and materials. The glistening buildings rise up from a granite square, with a peaceful willow tree and water feature opposite.

The Heritage Wing is understated and designed to resemble a hanare, a Japanese dwelling that is separate from the main building. The tranquil reception space on the ground floor (5F) has just two desks and a bellhop area, with a wisteria flower-shaped chandelier by French architect Lina Ghotmeh cascading down the staircase to the lower ground level (4F).

The Prestige Tower is livelier, with a vast open-plan lobby with more check-in desks, a mezzanine space and a geometric lounge area with repaired and re-lacquered tables from the original building. These have been laid out to resemble a plum blossom, with reupholstered chairs arranged to represent the petals. Pentagon-shaped lanterns cloak the space in a warm, golden hue.

Opposite the main entrance is a large flower arrangement shaped in a tortoise-shell pattern, which is a symbol of longevity in life and is reflected in the shape of the wisteria tree plot outside.

The Okura Heritage Wing

Rooms

There are 508 rooms – 140 rooms in the Heritage Wing and 368 in the Prestige Tower. Heritage Wing rooms and those on floors 37-40 of the Prestige Tower get access to the club lounge on the 37th floor.

The Heritage Wing offers a friendly in-room check-in experience over a tea and snacks. Keycards are required to enter the lift lobby, and your floor is automatically selected when you scan it in the lift – a smart touch.

The 60 sqm rooms are beautifully designed and echo the peaceful ethos of the Wing, with a spacious and minimalist open-plan living and sleeping area that features wooden-panelled interiors and large windows. I found the soothing design conducive to a healthy mindspace after a busy schedule and nonstop travelling. Rooms have a wooden desk, with a plug socket nearby, a plug sockets hub (UK equipped), and a flatscreen TV.

The Okura Heritage Wing bathroom and walk-in wardrobe area

Bathrooms provide a private spa-like experience, with a jet bath offering views of the cityscape, an adjacent steam room (the heated floor is an added bonus) and a separate Toto toilet.

At turn-down, a pair of pyjamas are placed on the bed along with beautiful origami and some Pierre Marcolini chocolates. Automatic sheer blinds and blackout blinds can be powered by switches or via the tablet on the bedside table.

Guests are treated to a complimentary minibar, five pressing items, a daily newspaper delivered via the Butler box, and toiletries from Three and Bamford.

The Okura Heritage Wing minibar

Food and drink

There are seven restaurants and bars across the two buildings. The Heritage Wing has French cuisine at Nouvelle Epoque and traditional Japanese cuisine at the lower-ground Yamazato.

The latter has a lovely, serene atmosphere thanks to its minimalist interiors which include clean lines, wooden panelling and yellow-hued lighting. Guests can watch chefs at sushi and tempura counters or be served by kimono-wearing staff in the main dining hall or private rooms overlooking the Japanese garden. There is also a small tea ceremony room for post-lunch and dinner rituals. The nigiri sushi set is recommended, along with a glass of the Pommery Champagne aged in Okura’s cellar.

The Okura Orchid restaurant

The Prestige Tower has the remaining dining outlets. Sazanka on the top floor (floor 41) is an excellent venue for entertaining clients, offering outstanding views of the city from the various live-cooking teppanyaki counters. On the same floor is the buzzy Starlight bar and lounge, where guests can savour signature cocktails over skyscraper vistas.

Orchid on the ground floor serves a generous buffet breakfast, with a deli space as you enter, and the sixth floor offers Chinese cuisine at Toh Ka Lin.

The club lounge on the 37th floor of the Prestige Tower is open from 10am to 9pm and is a sleek space for relaxing and working, with a buffet service three times a day (at 2pm, 5pm and 9.30pm). Guests can also check-in and check-out here.

The Okura Yamazato

Meetings

The Prestige Tower is home to several meeting and event spaces. This includes 12 meeting rooms, five function rooms and two banquet rooms with natural light. There is also a mezzanine space on the sixth floor with capacity for 60 guests.

Leisure

The Prestige Tower has a large fitness centre on the 26th floor as well as a 25m pool flooded with natural light. There’s also a spa on the 27th floor with seven treatment rooms and treatments designed by French brand Annayake.

The Okura Club Lounge

Verdict

The Okura Tokyo is a thoughtful restoration of the original landmark, which has retained a vintage feel while adding updated amenities to offer luxury stays in the modern era.

The sleek and refined design provides a peaceful ambience, service is flawless and the Heritage Wing rooms feel like a sanctuary in the urban cityscape.

FACT BOX

  • Best for Serenity in the heart of Tokyo and minimalist modernist design
  • Don’t miss Evening drinks and snacks in the Club Lounge, overlooking the luminescent Tokyo Tower
  • Price Internet rates for a Heritage Room Twin including breakfast and club lounge access in March start from Y98,744 (£592) including taxes and fees
  • Contact 2-10-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0001, Japan; +81 (3) 3582-0111; theokuratokyo.jp
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