Aman Tokyo, Japan
11 November, 2016
As justifiably acclaimed Aman's first city hotel, spanning the top six floors of 38-storey Otemachi Tower in Marubouchi, Aman Tokyo is certainly designed to impress; and with its ultra-stylish interiors and far-reaching views across the Tokyo skyline, it could barely fail to. But what really makes Aman Tokyo stand out is the thoughtful reflection of Japanese tradition that's been incorporated into every aspect of the experience, from the authentic Japanese hospitality, Omotenashi, to the Japanese design philosophy.
The high-ceilinged interiors illustrate this design approach succinctly, representing the elements within a traditional Japanese home: light - not only from the floor-to-ceiling windows, but also from the washi lanterns - and (just so much) space. The third element, Engawa, is the space between the interior and outdoors for contemplating nature and the seasons. Staying close to nature - the Aman philosophy - natural materials such as wood, bamboo and stone prevail, and are the theme behind the contemporary artworks seen throughout the hotel; look out for the paper sculptures by Issey Miyake.
And the lasting impression Aman Tokyo leaves? In such a tranquil setting, a stay here feels like being in a bubble high above the city, from the moment you step in until you leave.
Aman Tokyo, Japan
Sprawled across 71 square metres, the standard rooms here are reportedly the biggest in Tokyo, with shoji (sliding doors) to open the space up even more. The Engawa design philosophy is incorporated into the layout of the rooms, with clean lines, neutral tones and a stone-clad bathroom with heated floors and a traditional Japanese bath (with a view, no less). But however beautiful the design of these rooms, it's hard to tear your eyes away from that captivating panorama of the Imperial Palace Gardens with the rest of the city stretching out before you.
What's for breakfast?
As expected, breakfast comes with a view in The Restaurant by Aman. And the food is worthy of such a setting. Both western and traditional Japanese sets are on offer, alongside brunch classics and the more virtuous healthy eating options. I recommend opting for the Japanese set, in which crispy-skinned baked fish, sticky rice and miso, and mouth-sized marinated seasonal vegetables, all come served kaiseki-style.
What about lunch and dinner?
Lunch and dinner are served in the buzzy Restaurant by Aman, too, with both tasting menus and a la carte proving the chef's culinary flare. Head Chef Masakazu Hiraki hails from Japan, but he draws on his extensive experience of Italy's culinary riches to create Italian-inspired dishes with Japanese sensibilities, showcasing the best of Japan's seasonal produce, from mountain vegetables and fish from the coast, to the country's premium meat.
Alternatively, guests can head down to the ground floor for European-style lunch and dinner sets in The Café by Aman, which sits amidst the urban Otemachi Forest of evergreen trees and Japanese maples. The Lounge, meanwhile, attracts Tokyoites as well as hotel guests for its unique Black Afternoon Tea, for which the Chef de Patissier Yoshihisa Miyagawa crafts western cakes incorporating Japanese flavours, with a particular focus on his greatest passion, chocolate.
Is there a bar?
The Bar and The Lounge are essentially one, defined only by the time of day. While afternoon tea and brunch cocktails are the order of the day, by nightfall the vibe picks up with a buzzy atmosphere, upbeat music and the sound of cocktail shakers making their next martini. Signature tipples here are based on the classics but come with the addition of distinctly Japanese ingredients like matcha and yuzu. Mixologist Toshio Imai takes pride in creating seasonal drinks like the perfectly autumnal Japanese pear cocktail.
To stay at Aman Tokyo and not explore the spa would be to miss a fundamental part of the hotel experience. Covering 2,500 square metres, this wellbeing space is the biggest in all of Tokyo, encompassing treatment rooms, yoga and pilates studios, Japanese onsen and relaxation areas. The wellbeing approach here focuses on maintaining health through nature and balance, and is another aspect of the hotel that's based on Japanese tradition.
Of course the real showstopper though is the panoramic pool, which fitting in with the aesthetics of the rest of the hotel is a sight to behold as the light changes throughout the day and into the night.
Things you should know
No matter how beguiling a hotel like Aman Tokyo may be, it's still the destination that remains the star. And what a star Tokyo is. In addition to venturing out independently, guests can sign up for an Aman Tokyo Journey, which gives them an immersion into the local culture. Think: Iaido-Mugai-ryu Japanese sword manoeuvring with a revered master of the art, a tour of Miyasaka Sake Brewery, or a Japanese tea workshop at Ippodo Tea Co.
Within a short walk you can find …
Having looked out across the Imperial Palace Gardens from your room, it would be a shame not to explore the grounds further. Then, after a little cultural exploration, head to the shops. From here, both Marunouchi's tree-lined avenue Naka-Dori, and high-end shopping district Ginza are within easy reach.