Embodying both Japan’s reputation for service and reverence for history, Hoshinoya Tokyo is undoubtedly the city’s most extraordinary place to stay, an urban ryokan providing guests in its 84 rooms with a unique option for accommodation certain to rank among the most memorable hotel stays they will ever have.
The first thing to notice about Hoshinoya Tokyo is the metal cladding of the building’s exterior. The pattern is meant to evoke the textile pattern of a kimono and makes the building stand out from the neighbouring skyscrapers in Tokyo’s Otemachi business district. If the exterior is unique, the interior is divine. Two massive slabs of wood serve as the unmarked door into a stunning sanctum of serenity that immediately delivers the first of innumerable wow moments in this spectacular property. Guests remove their shoes in this restful welcome space to have them placed by one of the permanently smiling staffmembers into the shoebox assigned to the guestroom. Nobody wears shoes anywhere in the building; this casual detail contributes greatly to an at-home feeling, as does having a lounge on each floor where drinks and snacks are available throughout the day. Hoshinoya puts extreme importance on privacy and discretion. Each floor’s lounge is meant for the use of that floor’s guests only; the room keys do not allow access to other floors with guestrooms. In total, there are 14 floors with 6 rooms on each floor. One of those six rooms will be a spacious Kiku room, larger than many Tokyo apartments, with its own sitting, dining, sleeping, and bathing areas. It is possible for friends or families to book all the rooms on the same floor and privatise that floor to make it even more of a homelike experience, albeit a home where Zen minimalist surroundings are background to a stage where the traditional ryokan experience is taken to its greatest height, perhaps literally if staying on one of the upper floors of the building, which is a discreet structure located a short walk away from Tokyo Station but worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city below.
As if the urban delights of Hoshinoya Tokyo were not enough to entice guests looking for exceptional accommodation in the Japanese capital, the ryokan is the only hotel in the city with natural onsen springs. The water comes from 500m below the surface and is pumped to Hoshinoya’s roof where the onsen is open throughout the night for guests to relax in the extraordinary stillness that envelops the Otemachi district after business hours. The onsen is only one of the special experiences to be had within the realm of Hoshinoya Tokyo, which provides guests an array of other in-house diversions ranging from sake tastings and traditional tea ceremonies to Japanese juggling and the art of incense. Every night at 22:00, there is a breathing class to ease guests into a relaxed state of mind for the sleep ahead.
Hoshinoya’s extraordinary restaurant, located on the lower level among hand-hewn boulders, is open only to Hoshinoya guests, keeping their superb dining experience both serene and exclusive. This does not keep Hoshinoya Tokyo’s Nippon Cuisine experience from being among the most coveted dinner reservation in the city; even among in-house guests reservations are prized, rewarded with delicious meals highlighting the traditional foods of Japan interpreted in modern methods of preparation and presentation in an atmosphere of refined quietude. Award-winning Executive Chef Noriyuki Hamada certainly manages to tantalise the senses of his guests, his culinary creations appealing one way or another to all five senses. This being Japan, the food’s presentation is particularly noteworthy. As throughout the hotel, the exceptionally attentive staff see to it that their service adds to the overall experience.
Hoshinoya Tokyo is a member of Hoshino Resorts, a small group of properties where intimacy with beautiful surroundings is heightened in combinaton with the last word in authentic Japanese hospitality.