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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

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