Review: Palace Hotel Tokyo

This property in the heart of the city's business district has oodles of personality

Location: In Marunouchi, in the heart of Tokyo’s business district. However this isn’t some soulless corporate hotel: it has oodles of personality and character, and serves up outstanding views of the Imperial Palace gardens, thanks to its moat-side setting. The hotel’s location is perfect – in the middle of the action with all key sites a similar distance away. Ōtemachi metro station (served by five lines) is accessible via an underground passage. The key hub of Tokyo Station (the usual starting point for the bullet train to Kyoto and beyond) is 10 minutes’ walk away, while Haneda Airport is 35 minutes away by road.

First impressions: I arrived in a haze of jet lag, but the extremely attentive staff whisked me to the Club Lounge where we completed a very speedy check-in. Within minutes of arriving in my suite I was sound asleep on the biggest bed I’ve ever seen. After a couple of hours’ snoozing, I set out to explore this stunning property. The Palace is elegant, classy and understated, with abundant fresh flowers and foliage throughout.

The facts: Originally built in 1961, the Palace was completely rebuilt in 2012, and that huge renovation project still feels fresh and modern more than a decade on. The majority of the 266 rooms and 18 suites come with balconies, which is a rarity on the Tokyo hotel scene.

My expansive suite had two balconies with views of the adjacent gardens. The rooms are decked out with Bamford amenities, and soft nightwear is left on beds during turndown. A hotel of this size needs ample dining options, and the Palace delivers with an impressive 10 restaurants and bars. Being jetlagged, I opted for room service and ordered dishes from a range of restaurants. The offering is exceptional. One venue has a Michelin star, while three of the venues are led by chefs with Michelin credentials.

Among the options is French haute cuisine venue Esterre, created in partnership with Alain Ducasse, while kaiseki restaurant Wadakura has also attracted a lot of attention. Tatsumi is an intimate six-seat tempura bar and Amber Palace serves Shanghainese and Cantonese cuisine. Breakfast, and all other meals, are served at Grand Kitchen.

The eggs benedict with avocado, onion pickle and wasabi mayonnaise is a morning must. This Leading Hotels of the World property is also home to the only Evian Spa in Japan (read on for more), while an epic swimming pool on the fifth floor delivers more views of the Imperial Palace gardens, as does the neighbouring Technogym fitness area.

Ideal for: First-timers to Tokyo will thank you for booking them into this wonderfully located hotel. It might not be in the glitzy Ginza neighbourhood like most of the big-brand hotels, but it’s an ideal base for exploration.

Explore: Glamorous Ginza, home to an endless array of designer shops, can be reached on foot within half an hour. Venture farther afield to see the temples of Asakusa, the madness of Shinjuku and Shibuya, and the city from above courtesy of Tokyo Skytree.

Wow: The hotel’s Evian Spa is simply exceptional. My jetlag was eased at the hands of an incredible massage therapist. This bright, light alpine-inspired space takes clients on a journey through the Alps (treatment rooms are named after peaks in the mountain range). Here you’ll find saunas, steam rooms and heated baths, all of which helped rejuvenate me after a 15-hour flight with a toddler.

Book it: A night in a Deluxe Palace Garden View room costs from £795 including breakfast.

Hollie-Rae Brader

Hollie is editor of Aspire’s print and online products. She is responsible for the running of the club and ensuring the content produced and the events organised are relevant to the Aspire audience. She was previously deputy news editor and cruise writer for sister title Travel Weekly. She loves exploring new destinations and is gradually ticking new countries off her list. She most enjoys writing about cruise, South America and Japan. Before working in the travel industry she held news reporting roles at the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star.

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