As Japan's center of commerce, Tokyo is a serious city in which to do business. Yet it's also a place for romantics, so its best hotels capably cosset both salarymen and sweethearts. Couples will find the following hotels offer top service, amenities, comfort, and cuisine.
Made famous in the film Lost in Translation, the Park Hyatt Tokyo offers guests a bird's-eye view of the metropolis. At the 41st-story check-in, they are presented a silver Tiffany key ring that holds the key to their room or suite, which is located on the floors above. And there's plenty of room on the horizontal axis as well: At 484 square feet, Park Deluxe rooms are the largest standard hotel rooms in Tokyo. Couples who enjoy a soak together can indulge in the room's deep and wide tub. Bath salts and bubbles are thoughtfully provided. If you'd like to take longer strokes, the hotel's 47th-floor pool, measuring 26 x 65 feet, is the highest in Tokyo. Meals in the 52nd-floor New York Grill are equally distinguished.
The luxurious Peninsula Tokyo is near the world-famous Ginza shopping district and across from the Imperial Palace, where the royal family resides. Peninsula hallmarks include white-gloved pages and a fleet of Rolls-Royces parked in the driveway. Four subway lines are accessible on the lower level of the hotel for those who want to get through traffic faster. The 10,000-square-foot ESPA spa at the Peninsula Tokyo instills a sense of place; each treatment begins with a tea ceremony. There's also a sauna and mosaic-tiled steam room as well as a fitness center and indoor pool.
Tokyo's grande dame, the Imperial Hotel has a lot in common with New York City's Waldorf Astoria. It's a vast hub of activity with a majestic lobby, and plenty of staff (although not all are conversant in English). Operating for 120 years, it's steeped in tradition. Rooms are luxuriously appointed with soft beds (no futons here!), a sofa, desk, and flatscreen TV. Large bathrooms are amenity-rich and include Toto toilets. The Imperial features an indoor lap pool on a high floor overlooking the city. Our only quibbles: When we visited in August 2010, rooms had wired Internet access, but no wi-fi. And the English-language TV selections are limited. The hotel is across from Hibaya Park, home of the Imperial Palace, and walking distance to the Ginza.
Also a five-minute walk from the Ginza, the Conrad Tokyo contains 290 guest rooms that start on the 27th floor of the Tokyo Shiodome Building overlooking Hamarikyu Gardens and Tokyo Bay. Opened in 2005, this top Tokyo hotel has installed modern conveniences appreciated by business travelers and vacationers alike. Rooms have flatscreen TVs, satellite channels, and wi-fi. Three restaurants offer a choice of haute Chinese fare at the Michelin-starred China Blue, modern French in “Gordon Ramsay at Conrad Tokyo,” and Japanese cuisine. The latter maintains three different sections devoted to kaiseki, sushi and teppan dining. The Conrad also boasts one of the largest spas in the city and an 82-foot-long swimming pool.
An appropriate setting for Mandarin Oriental's unique brand of Asian cool, the Tokyo property has an ethereal quality that extends from its guest rooms to its spa to its Michelin-starred Signature restaurant. Voted a "Best Hotel in Japan" in the International Hotel Awards, the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo is surrounded by excellent shopping in the 400-year-old Nihonbashi business district. Close by is Mitsukoshi, Japan's oldest department store (don't miss its ritual 10am opening featuring a pipe organ recital and bowing clerks). Specialty shops include Ozu Japanese Paper Shop & Museum; Ibasen, which sells silk and paper fans; and Kuroeya, which features lacquerware. There are ample places both within the hotel and nearby to take a tea break.
Roppongi Hills, designed as a city within the city, is home to the Grand Hyatt Tokyo hotel. The area is a diverse and green complex with parks, shops, cultural sites such as the National Art Center, and Tokyo Tower, the tallest in the capital. Guest rooms feature a TV in both the living area and the bathroom, a bed covered in Frette linens, cotton yukata robes, and a limestone bathroom with a deep soaking tub. Among the hotel's eight eateries are three Japanese restaurants (one is strictly sushi), a French brasserie, and a pastry boutique. Its Nagomi Spa and Fitness Center incorporates a salon and swimming pool. Thanks to its Grand Chapel and Shinto Shrine, the hotel hosts many weddings and has a department dedicated to vows-takers.
Occupying the top nine floors and first levels of Roppongi's 53-story Midtown Tower, the Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo affords 360-degree vistas of Tokyo including Tokyo Tower and, on a clear day, Mount Fuji. A large ESPA spa induces guests to relax, especially those who have a date reserved at the hotel's wedding chapel. Ultra-comfortable guest rooms feature featherbeds and Frette linens, deep bathtubs, and Sony flatscreen TVs in both the living area and bathroom. There's access to the indoor pool and fitness studio, and if you need a lift, the hotel's Rolls-Royce Phantom is at your service (fee and advance notice required). Like most Ritz-Carlton hotels, this one has a club level, where meals, snacks, newspapers, drinks, and more are available.
Around the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, it always feels like cherry-blossom time. An urban oasis, the hotel is set within a 17-acre Japanese garden with koi-populated waters and it promotes a serene feeling of seclusion. Yet it is located in the center of the city and within walking distance of a subway station. Asian-style YU, THE SPA features an indoor swimming pool with a retractable roof and Tokyo’s only onsen with Izu mineral waters.
Within the glass-clad tower of Pacific Century Place, this small (under 60 rooms) Four Seasons property in the Marunouchi business district is directly connected to the central Tokyo Station. Guests even can be met there, assisted with their luggage, and escorted to check-in; it's a complimentary service. As with all Four Seasons properties, the emphasis is on service, calm, and quality. The onsen is fed with spring water. The hotel is a five-minute walk to the Ginza. Internet access is free in the business center.
A ten-minute walk to the Imperial Palace, the hotel overlooks the royal residence or Tokyo Tower from 200 rooms on the top 11 floors of the Marunouchi Trust Tower Main building. Conveniently located adjacent to Tokyo Station, the hotel soothes guests with its spa, fully equipped health club, and indoor heated swimming pool. Wi-fi is available in the public areas; otherwise Ethernet can be used. Couples who book Horizon Club accommodations are welcomed in the private lounge on level 37, where in addition to complimentary repasts they can have a suit or dress ironed at no charge.
Newest of the four InterContinental hotels in the city, The Strings by InterContinental Tokyo is a quiet property close to the Shinagawa station, where both the Haneda and Narita trains and the Shinansen Bullet Train to Kyoto, Osaka, and Disneyland Tokyo stop. A relief from the crowds on Tokyo's busy streets, it occupies the top floors of a 32-floor office building, offering good views from all rooms. In-room wi-fi is free. Similar to several other top hotels on this list, a club floor is available to guests who appreciate (and are willing to pay for) extra amenities.