Why start a feature about a hotel with a photo of meticulously plated food?
The same attention to detail that goes into the careful arrangement of each ingredient at Nadaman, the elegant kaiseki-style dining room at the Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo, continues throughout this luxury property.
At the Shangri-La Tokyo, it’s all in the details.
It’s the single fresh flower placed on the bathroom vanities. The hotel-supplied pajamas carefully laid out on your bed. The water bottles adorned with graceful calligraphy, done by a hotel staff member. And the at-your-service staff who greet you by name and do their best to accommodate any request.
Here’s the scoop:
Facilities and Location
Opened 2009 in the Marunouchi business district of central Tokyo, the Shangri-La occupies the top 11 floors of the 37-story Marunouchi Trust Tower. When you enter the building lobby, uniformed staff dart over to call the elevator, which brings you up to the 28th floor lobby.
Besides the check-in area, the lobby lounge and Piacere, the hotel’s Italian dining room, are located on the 28th floor.
Public spaces and guest rooms on one side of the hotel look across the city toward Tokyo Bay, while on the other side, you overlook the trains coming and going from busy Tokyo Station, the city’s main rail hub.
Tokyo Station, which has subway, local rail, and long-distance train service, including the Shinkansen bullet train, as well as a wide range of restaurants and shops, is about a five-minute walk from the hotel. Inside the sprawling station complex is “Ramen Street,” with eight different ramen restaurants. Also within the station building is the Daimaru Department Store, where the lower-level food hall has stall after stall selling artfully decorated and fastidiously packaged sweets, baked goods, and other treats.
Guests arriving at Tokyo Station can request the hotel’s complimentary “meet and greet” service, where a staff member will meet your train and escort you to the hotel.
Although it has 200 rooms, the Shangri-La has the feel of an intimate boutique hotel. Compared with the hubbub of the city below, walking into the hotel feels like entering a protective cocoon. It’s quiet, really quiet.
The decor throughout this deluxe property is contemporary and understated, with more lavish notes provided only by the extensive collection of Asian art and the more than 50 handmade chandeliers that illuminate the hotel’s public spaces.
One of the most impressive of these light sculptures is suspended over the bar in the lobby lounge, which serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and evening cocktails. This massive chandelier is made from nearly 900 crystal ginkgo leaves.
The hotel’s indoor lap pool feels equally serene, though you could work up a sweat in the 24-hour fitness center. The Shangri-La also has a full service spa.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
This is certainly a far cry from Toyko’s capsule hotels. The hotel’s guest rooms, with sleek cherry-hued furnishings, are particularly spacious. Even the smallest rooms, the “Deluxe” units, measure more than 500 square feet (50 square meters).
Besides a king-sized bed, these rooms have a curvaceous sofa in front of a wall of windows, a large work desk, and a window into the bath area, which has both a rainshower and a deep soaker tub. (Don’t worry: you can pull the blinds on the bathroom window if you don’t feel like showing off for your partner while you shower.)
The sink area, with a dark stone vanity, is separate from the shower room, and the high-tech Japanese toilet, with a heated seat, is in a compact room of its own.
When you open the bathroom door, the toilet cover opens; when you finish your business, it flushes automatically. Like many Japanese models, the toilet includes washing functions, complete with handy illustrations.
Guest rooms have espresso machines, tea kettles with a selection of teas, and complimentary wi-fi. The hotel supplies robes and slippers, as well as pajamas, laid out on your bed during the nightly turndown service.
The Shangri-La’s concierge staff can assist with all manner of requests, from booking restaurant reservations to arranging private cooking classes.
Guests who book rooms in the Horizon Club, the hotel’s premiere service, have a private concierge, along with access to the hotel’s club lounge, which serves lavish breakfasts, evening drinks and snacks, and beverages throughout the day.
Of course, this level of luxury comes at a price, with double rooms at the Shangri-La Tokyo starting at about 70,000 yen (USD$700) per night. Yet if you can afford it, or your expense account will cover it, you won’t have to worry about a single detail. You can also compare rates at Expedia or agoda.com.
And that’s worth a lot.
Hotel feature by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller, author of the books Moon Vancouver and Canadian Rockies Road Trip, Moon Handbooks: Ontario, and Living Abroad in Canada. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. The Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo hosted my stay for review purposes.