Staying in a luxury top-floor suite at Aman Tokyo is an experience that redefines what a stay at a mega-city hotel can be.
Aman Tokyo is Aman Resorts’ first decidedly urban resort. It occupies the top six floors (levels 33-38) of the Otemachi Tower, the headquarters of the Mizhuo Bank that was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox.
Aman Tokyo opened in 2014 and its design is one of grand achievements of Australian architect Kerry Hill who passed away this August at the age of 75. He specialized in hotel design in tropical Asia and designed hotels for Indonesian hotelier Adrian Zecha long before Zecha went on to found Aman Resorts in 1988.
By then Zecha had realized that there was a definite market for minimalist high-end boutique resorts in remote, natural settings. Kerry Hill designed in total of nine of the currently 32 Aman resorts including two in Sri Lanka, one in China, one in Cambodia and one in Shima, 300 km southeast of Tokyo.
The entrance lobby of Aman Tokyo on the 33rd floor is what we’d describe resembling an entrance hall to a major art gallery or museum. It is grand in the truest sense of the word with high ceilings and vast expanses of open space.
This is where you become immediately convinced that this is definitely not a hotel, this is a luxury minimalist spa resort in the sky. Surrounded by engawa, a wooden feature dividing the inside and out, the lobby is nearly 30 metres high.
You are also immediately stunned by the incredible views. Aman Tokyo is in Otemachi with views of the Imperial Palace Gardens and the surrounding Tokyo landmarks, and within a few steps from the bustle and boutiques of Ginza.
At this point you will not yet realize that you have already been introduced to the main features of your stay.
You will be spending much of your time in awe of the relaxed feeling you achieve in your bath or in the spa, staring out the window day and night mesmerized by what you see.
Another tell-tale sign of the fact that you are in an un-hotel are the walkways to the suites and deluxe rooms. The ceilings are high, the corridors are wide – none of the jail-like, space-saving dorm-hall feel you encounter even in the finest of hotels.
The art found throughout the hotel, including the hallways, is also stunning. Perhaps the most elegant are the stucco flowers in the corridors. Sakan, or Japanese plaster is an ancient craft art that modern building methods are rapidly leaving behind. But here, one of the few remaining Japanese plasterers, Syuhei Hasado, has combined the age-old practice with contemporary techniques to reinvent the tradition. Graceful, precise and inspired by nature, his hand-made stucco art is a perfect addition to the minimalist surroundings.
Your suite is like a luxury residence, with separate living and dining areas, bedrooms and what will become the centre of your stay: the bathroom with its furo, a deep soaking tub. You will end up taking a bath every morning and every night, just soaking up the relaxing water and admiring the breathtaking views from your floor-to-ceiling windows. It truly feels like you are bathing in the sky.
The massive rooms are all decorated in an elegant, minimalist Japanese style with Washi paper, wood and stone features. Earth tones, nothing contradictory, all serene.
And if you ever leave your room, you will be equally – if not more – impressed in the pool and spa area. Enormous, elegant, truly grand. The high ceilings and the sheer scale make the spa a masterpiece of design. Here, you start to become transported into another era, into another dimension – somewhere outside the mundane daily life. Order some drinks at sunset and devour the sensory overload.
Aman Tokyo is already nearly four years old, but you would never know it. There isn’t a nick or bruise or fray anywhere. Everything is pristine, impeccable, orderly and calm.
The attention to detail in every aspect of our stay was incredible. So very Japanese, we thought.
What stood out above all was the level of service from the staff and the Concierge team. Tough as it was to leave our suite and the spa, as first-time visitors, we wanted to see Tokyo as well.
Tokyo is not an easy place to navigate for a foreigner who does not speak Japanese, but the Concierge staff made it all easy. Not only were they able to recommend places that a first-time foreign visitor would not have even thought to look for, they were also able to book tables at the hardest-to-get restaurants. Truly impeccable. Bill Tikos.