The Peninsula, Tokyo, Japan
The Peninsula Tokyo is a hotel that wears its opulence with pride. Everything feels polished and precise — right down to the doorman who greets me, decked out in a crisp white uniform complete with gold accents and a pill- box hat.
Interestingly, the hotel lobby doubles as a restaurant. When I arrive, there are guests enjoying an elegant afternoon tea service. Making my way to the check- in desk, I’m confronted by the Lying Dragon Gate, the hotel’s signature work of art, which looks like a giant dragon’s eye, made out of bamboo.
I am spoilt by a suite with a large dressing room, a bathroom laden with marble and stone, and a bedroom with a cosy bed and a bamboo- woven ceiling. Below, on the fifth floor, I take a dip in the indoor pool with a waterfall cascading down a glass wall on one side of the lanes and a sun terrace on the other. There is also a spa for weary travellers, and the hotel — which celebrated its 10th birthday last year and has 314 rooms — offers a 45- minute audio tour exploring some of its 1,000- piece art collection.
Just across the street is the Royal Imperial Palace, surrounded by a moat beyond which are beautiful gardens that people can visit.
Tokyo Station, connecting the city to the airport, is only a few blocks away in the Ginza district, where you’ll discover streets lined with luxury fashion boutiques and department stores housed in futuristic architecture.
A friend joins me for dinner at Peter, the hotel’s restaurant, located on the top floor. Walking out of the private lift, we enter the cocktail bar with its polished chrome trees that reflect the psychedelic purple lighting. The menu looks like a typical steak house offering, but chefs use local ingredients to give each dish a Japanese twist, such as tuna carpaccio with wasabi mayo and seaweed, or red snow crab cakes with tsukemono ( preserved vegetables) and tartare sauce. And we can’t resist the famous Wagyu steaks that my knife cuts into like butter.
The next morning, I wake up to a traditional Japanese breakfast delivered to my room: miso soup, rice, pickled vegetables and smoked fish, all beautifully laid out on black plates, along with an origami crane. I definitely need to return to Japan and experience the hotel’s impeccable hospitality again soon.
TOKYO, JAPANWords Markus Bidaux