Entering the Andaz Tokyo – the first Japanese outpost of the Hyatt’s design-led chain – there are no conventional check-in desks or lobbies. Instead, I find myself in the 51st-floor Andaz Lounge, an airy, modern space, filled with wood sculptures, latticed panels and walls of washi rice paper. A young woman armed with a bright smile and a tablet asks where I’d like to check in – and we settle at a curved wooden table nearby (although it can be anywhere, including your room). She whizzes through procedures, tapping my newspaper preferences and dinner reservations onto the screen.
The 164-room hotel crowns the upper floors of a shiny 52-storey skyscraper in the heart of Toranomon Hills, a new development of boutiques, cafes and high-end residences that opened in June. Toranomon has long been famed for its historic temples and shrines, with the arrival of the complex marking the start of a major renaissance of the neighbourhood in the run up to the 2020 Olympics.
A modern take on a traditional Japanese home, there are wooden partition lines on white walls and cubed paper lanterns alongside warm splashes of colour in the form of green carpets and red leather seating. The bathroom is a warm expanse of Hokkaido walnut panelling alongside deep, curved bathtubs. The real scene-stealers, however, are the views: an urban sprawl of concrete and skyscrapers (choose a south-facing room for the red-and-white Tokyo Tower or north-facing for Tokyo Skytree, the city’s tallest structure).
Flawlessly helpful, but less formal and more down-to-earth than in conventional five-stars.
It’s targeting the design-savvy end of the luxury spectrum – although during my visit there was an eclectic array of visitors, from hip media types in suits and square spectacles to lunching ladies with designer handbags, plus a handful of international guests, including businessmen and a few families.
The Andaz Tavern (dinner for two costs about 25,000 yen [Dh774]; lunch for two costs about 10,000 yen [Dh310]) takes centre stage on the 51st floor. A charismatic Austrian chef serves up Japanese-inspired European cuisine against a backdrop of floating wooden sculptures, warm modern decor and stunning skyscraper views. I tuck into a Yamanashi herb chicken roasted in a clay pot, with root vegetables, with a subtle Japanese twist in the form of a squeeze of the local citrus fruit sudachi (5,800 yen [Dh180], for two to three people sharing). The Rooftop Bar, meanwhile, sports a clear vaulted ceiling.
The AO Spa, with its brightly lit rows of fresh herbs, plants and freshly mixed potions, felt fun, modern and refreshingly unique compared to other five-star-hotel spas.
It wasn’t much fun getting lost among crowds of visitors in the Toranomon Hills complex before heading to the hotel.
A stylish boutique addition to Tokyo’s swish five-star-hotel scene, with quality design and an intimate atmosphere.
The bottom line
Doubles at the Andaz Tokyo (www.tokyo.andaz.hyatt.com; 0081 3 6830 1234) cost from 59,000 yen [Dh1,827] per night, room only, including taxes (or a fixed advance-purchase rate of 50,000 yen [Dh1,548]).
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