Palace Hotel Tokyo hotel review
Samantha Rowntree delights in garden views, culinary excellence and spa indulgence at this Japanese member of The Leading Hotels of the World.
With history, style and an exhaustive list of amenities, Palace Hotel Tokyo is the choice for discerning travellers in the Japanese capital. Its location beside the moat around the Imperial Palace gardens inspires the abundance of flowers and nature-focused artwork throughout the hotel, while the restaurants and bars offer something for all tastes, whether visitor or local.
Traveller: Samantha Rowntree
Room: Club Deluxe with Balcony
Address: 1 Chome-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-0005
Date: January 2018
Best for: Contemporary Japanese splendour with views of the Imperial Palace gardens
The Signature factor
The grand Palace Hotel Tokyo is known for its central location in the city’s prime business district, offering gorgeous views of the Imperial Palace gardens. Many of the hotel’s 10 restaurants and bars make the most of the views, as does the 19th-floor Club Lounge. This is where Club guests check in and out, and savour a complimentary buffet breakfast, afternoon tea and evening canapés.
As one of Japan‘s two members of The Leading Hotels of the World, Palace Hotel Tokyo offers a contemporary take of grandeur. The hotel’s history started more than 50 years ago in 1961, but its three-year transformation between 2009 and 2012 represents the creation of a new hotel. The 400 rooms were reduced to 290 spacious accommodations (including 12 suites), many with balconies, although the original counter remains at Royal Bar.
There are 1000 artworks to enjoy during your stay, from ink wash paintings from the original Palace Hotel to colourful modern works that showcase the diversity of Japanese art.
The hotel is also home to Japan’s first and only evian SPA and 10 restaurants and bars, including French restaurant Crown, Japanese restaurant Wakadura (with specialty dining for tempura, teppanyaki and sushi), and Chinese fine dining Amber Palace. For business travellers, the Cultivating Tokyo experience is a must, giving you expert advice on everything etiquette, from giving and receiving business cards to navigating the city’s subway system at peak hour.
Tokyo has just had a fresh sprinkling of snow when I arrive and the city glitters with fairy lights. The hotel is located beside the moat that surrounds the Imperial Palace gardens, offering a beautifully natural outlook. The grandeur of the hotel is evident as soon as you walk into the lobby, where a table laden with fresh flowers and greenery stands as a centrepiece. I don’t have long to admire the art, however, before I am ushered up to the 19th-floor Club Lounge for check-in, tea and chocolate.
My Club Deluxe with Balcony is filled with natural light beaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The balcony is a rare feature in Tokyo, and I brave the winter chill to admire the view of the gardens below. The layout is spacious, including a desk area, a king-sized bed and a seating area with a chaise longue.
Electric sheer and blackout curtains are fitted in the room to ensure you are able to get the best sleep without disruption.
The bathroom is sleek and modern, with a mirror nook fitted with makeup lights and all the essentials you may have forgotten, a wet room with a bath (complete with waterproof TV) and two shower heads (one rain shower and one handheld), and a toilet room that has cloud windows for privacy. And yes, it featured a very Japanese high-tech toilet by Toto.
The Palace Suite is less hotel room and more private residence, with the possibility of connecting the 210-square-metre space with a Club Deluxe room to create a two-bedroom escape on the 18th floor. The dining table seats up to 12, with meals prepared in the suite’s service kitchen with separate entrance. The bathtub beside the window, with its own view, looks like an indulgent place to while away the evening.
On my plate
Whatever you feel like, you’ll find it within the Palace Hotel Tokyo. Crown is the signature restaurant, serving refined French fare, while Amber Palace dishes up specialties from Canton and Shanghai. Watch your meal prepared at the open kitchen at all-day dining venue, Grand Kitchen, or cosy up in front of the fireplace at The Palace Lounge. If you’re searching for Japanese delights, you have the choice of classics at Wakadura, tempura at Tatsumi, teppanyaki at Go and sophisticated sushi at Kanesaka. For a sugary treat, pop in to Sweets & Deli for an edible souvenir. There’s also room service available 24 hours a day if you’d rather stay in and admire the view from your room.
I wish I could take home…
The bath fitted with TV. It’s the perfect way to relax after a day out exploring or working.
Japan’s only evian SPA harnesses the power of mineral-rich waters from the Alps (mirroring the Thermal Spa at Évian Resort in France), using Parisian brands Anne Semonin and Omnisens to take you on a journey of alpine healing. The moment I enter, passing the stone garden, I feel more relaxed. I am told that on a clear day you can even see Mount Fuji through the spa’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
Treatments are arranged into four themes that reflect the journey of Evian’s waters: Celestial, Mineral, Precious and Vitalising. I choose the Vitalising Signature body treatment, which combines traditional Japanese seitai acupressure with a deep-tissue massage.
As well as the myriad dining experiences and spa indulgence on offer, guests can also go for a dip in the 20-metre pool on the fifth floor or work up a sweat at the Fitness Center next door, with its Technogym and Life Fitness machines. If you’d like to head outdoors for your exercise regime, the perimeter of the Imperial Palace gardens doubles as a five-kilometre jogging track.
Choose to take afternoon tea in The Palace Lounge or the sixth-floor Lounge Bar Privé, then settle in for evening drinks before dinner.
The Wi-Fi was also brilliant throughout the whole hotel, letting me do some work while looking over the Imperial Palace gardens at breakfast in the Club Lounge.
The hotel is about 500 metres from the subway which can connect you to anywhere you wish to go. The concierge team is more than happy to help fulfil your wishes for where you’d like to visit.
The Marunouchi area guide gives you the best locations of what to eat, see and do around the hotel, including where to find the best ramen and souvenirs from chic boutiques made in Japan.
Booking a Club Room gives your access to the Club Lounge on the 19th floor. It provides check-in/out, breakfast, evening canapés as well as a private terrace and seating area within the hotel.
I could test out the whole spa menu.
- Forbes Travel Guide Five Stars 2018, 2017, 2016
- Travel + Leisure World’s Best Award 2017, 2016
- Elite Traveler World’s Top 100 Hotels 2017
- Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award 2015
Where to find Palace Hotel Tokyo
The Palace Hotel is moments from Tokyo Station and Otemachi Station. It is easily accessible via road and is about 1.5 hours from Haneda International Airport.