A modern reinterpretation of design elements that are distinctively Japanese, the sleek Aman Tokyo is a sensible piece of architecture that elevates the concept of luxury tourism.
Guests who have enjoyed staying at any of Aman’s luxurious resorts and hotels around the world would be familiar with the hotel chain’s prestige and attention to detail. They continue to set and maintain the bar so high that guests can’t help but be impressed throughout their stay. Without a doubt, the anticipation amongst loyal guests, who call themselves Aman junkies, was palpable when Aman announced plans to open its first city hotel, in the capital of Japan, no less!
Opened in December 2014, Aman Tokyo is a stunning urban sanctuary occupying the top six floors of a skyscraper in the city’s financial district. Kerry Hill Architects, which have previously designed five other Aman properties, also designed Aman Tokyo with the hotel’s signature style of infusing local influences into the design to paint a sense of place. In this case, Kerry Hill’s design embodies the hotel’s location by blending traditional Japanese design with contemporary nuance.
Light-filled, sophisticated, and refreshingly minimalist, the lobby is guaranteed to take your breath away. Soaring almost 30 metres high, the ceiling is what the eyes would be instinctively drawn to. Using white washi (traditional Japanese paper), shoji frame and camphor wood, the ceiling is designed to look like the inside of a paper lantern. In the daytime, the washi paper diffuses sunlight and illuminates the lobby and its dark basalt stone walls, invoking feelings of zen.
The lantern hangs above the lobby, whose concept draws inspiration from a Japanese garden. A perfect example of bringing the outdoors in, two rock gardens and a serene water feature sit surrounded by an engawa, a wooden space that separates a garden and inner living areas found in traditional Japanese homes.
The understated design, the concept of engawa and the combination of Japanese culture and modern comfort continue to the 84 rooms and suites in the hotel, starting with the deluxe rooms. Though the deluxe is the most basic room type offered in Aman Tokyo, it’s the most spacious entry-level room in the city at 71 sqm wide. They overlook the Imperial Palace Gardens and offer a wide vista of the city’s twinkling skylights at night through floor-to-ceiling windows. On a clear day, you can see Mount Fuji in the distance.
At around double the size of the deluxe, the suites at Aman Tokyo spell another level of luxury. The three different types of suites offered here come with expansive living areas, including a dining room, a fully equipped pantry, and plenty of seats to lounge around and entertain friends. Perhaps guests who are on extended trips would enjoy the serviced apartment-style living style of the suites the most.
Concealed behind sliding shoji screens is the bathroom, fitted with his and her sinks, a technologically advanced toilet that should be as common in other parts of the world as it is in Japan, a deep soaking tub, and a new kind of luxury you never knew you needed: heated bathroom floors!
In each bathroom, Aman provides guests with instructions on the traditional bathing rituals and all the necessary equipment. But, for a more authentic wellness experience, pay a visit to the tranquil spa that seems to float above the city. Boasting a 30-metre heated pool, impressive panoramic city views, and an extended treatment menu, the spa is a place to indulge and lose track of time. Skincare enthusiasts will also delight in Aman’s range of in-house skin and body care products.
After enjoying most that the hotel has to offer, the stay isn’t complete until you taste the Edomae-style sushi served at Musashi by Aman, yet another visually pleasing corner in the hotel. Designed by Yukio Hashimoto, the intimate sushi restaurant seats eight at the chef counter. Enter through the humble entrance that extends to a small corridor punctuated by stepping stones and escape into an authentic Japanese culinary experience.
Master sushi chef Hiroyuki Musashi closed his own Michelin-starred restaurant to continue perfecting the art of sushi at Musashi by Aman. Every morning, he personally goes to the market to hand pick the freshest ingredients and arranges for hard-to-find fish to be flown from various parts of Japan. Each course of the omakase dining style is mouthwatering by itself, but there’s an option to pair dishes with your sake(s) of choice, served in beautiful hand-blown Edo-kiriko glasses specially crafted for Musashi by Aman.
There isn’t a shortage of thoughtful elements to note at Aman Tokyo, but the best on the list has got to be the unparalleled service that Aman is known for. Guests are invited to indulge in omotenashi, which translates to classic Japanese hospitality. “No” is not in Aman’s dictionary when fulfilling a guest’s request, from personalising breakfast and dining experiences, spa journeys, to virtually anything else during your stay.
A traveller’s itinerary while in a city as vibrant as Tokyo is bound to be packed with tourist attractions, unique museum visits, delectable yakiniku or other gastronomic spots. One memorable destination worth adding to your agenda is Aman Tokyo, where staying in is just as exciting.