Sabine Heller’s Insider Guide to Tokyo

Thu, 2 April 2015
Sabine Heller

“Travelling isn’t just about going somewhere, it signals a shift in mindset, perspective and worldview.”

Sabine Heller is the former CEO of A Small World, an elite online travel and lifestyle community made up of culturally influential people. “The world is certainly shrinking and will continue to do so,” Sabine tells SUITCASE, before sharing her insider knowledge of Tokyo, a city she knows particularly well.

From the perches of the city’s high-floor hotspots, Tokyo at night is a Blade Runner fantasy, a sci-fi vista dense with glittering towers spreading to the horizon in every direction; by day, it is a weave of refined traditional culture and 21st century consumerism.

Silent subway trains run on schedule to the second, Hello Kitty and Louis Vuitton are cult idols and sleek vending machines, hawking wares from cigarettes to green tea, are at every corner. The city’s iconic set piece, Hatchiko Square, located at the heart of the trendy Shibuya entertainment district, bursts with neon-clad buildings, garish video screens, giant billboards, and houses the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing. It’s Times Square on steroids – though eerily quiet. But just around the bend, often when you least expect it, are sanctuaries of perfect calm. Traditional Japanese landscape gardens hide among skyscrapers and the bells of Buddhist shrines ring in the busiest pockets of this immaculately clean city.


The Park Hyatt Hotel

Despite a recent raft of ultra-luxe newcomers and its somewhat inconvenient location, The Park Hyatt Hotel, featured in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, remains the best hotel in Tokyo. Guest rooms and public spaces are transcendently elegant and serenely lit, with dramatic views of Tokyo and Mt Fuji; the top-floor swimming pool and gym has 360 degree views through 20 ft floor-to-ceiling windows.

  • +81 3 5322 1234
  • Go to Website
  • 3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku

The Claska

Tokyo’s only true boutique hotel has just reopened after an upgrade in several of its 15 individually designed rooms, and doubles as a clubhouse for Tokyo’s art, fashion and design set.

Excel Tokyo Shibuya

The very Japanese Excel Tokyu Shibuya, conveniently located on top of the Shibuya subway station, has tiny but efficient and inexpensive rooms with helicopter views.

  • +81 3 5457 0109
  • Go to Website
  • Shibuya Mark City Building
    1-12-2 Dogenzaka

Four Seasons Maranouchi

The business-oriented Four Seasons Maranouchi is sleek and understated, and well-located near the central Tokyo train station for links to the airport and beyond.

Also worth considering are the recently opened ‘six star’ hotel towers from international brands: The Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula, Ritz Carlton

  • +81 3 5222 7222
  • Go to Website
  • Pacific Century Place
    1-11-1 Marunouchi

The Park Hyatt Hotel

The Claska

Excel Tokyo Shibuya

Four Seasons Maranouchi

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