Perched on the top six floors of Tokyo’s Otemachi Tower overlooking the city’s Imperial Palace as well as Mount Fuji, the visually breathtaking new Aman Tokyo marks the luxury resort brand’s first move into a city setting as it maintains its Asia travel market focus.
Founded in Thailand and famous for its 27 resorts worldwide that incorporate both local culture and cutting-edge contemporary designs, the hotelier has embarked on a new line of city properties with its new Tokyo location that opened in December 2014. With equal attention to both aesthetics and amenities, the Aman Tokyo borrows many elements of the brand’s resort concept to create a “sanctuary” within the city.
As Chinese tourists flock to Tokyo, it’s clear that they are high on the priority list for Aman, which also opened the Amandayan Resort in Lijiang, Yunnan this year, joining its other China resorts by Hangzhou and Beijing’s Summer Palace.
With a design concept created by Kerry Hill Architects, the Tokyo hotel is inspired by traditional Japanese residential architecture using classical Japanese materials including camphor wood, washi paper, and stone. Guests emerge out of the elevator into another world, where they enter a vast 30-meter-high lobby designed to resemble the interior of a Japanese paper lantern created by layers of textured washi paper stretched on a Shoji frame. The “lantern” is illuminated by diffused sunlight during the day and a series of orchestrated lighting scenes at night, and creates a spectacular setting when combined with the hotel’s panoramic views. The Aman Tokyo’s exclusive 84 rooms and suites also feature Japanese design juxtaposed with contemporary elements and panoramic views, and are all equipped with a traditional furo, or stone Japanese soaking tub that sits right up against the window.
Aman’s roots as a resort brand with a significant focus on nature are also reflected throughout the hotel, which complements its views of the gardens below with its own “inner garden” in the lobby featuring the Japanese art of Ikebana, or the arrangement of living branches, leaves, and blossoms to represent closeness with nature. The natural stone and wood materials form a backdrop to this centerpiece, as well as works by Japanese artists inspired by natural features such as cherry blossoms and trees that can be found throughout the hotel.
The hotel opened during an unprecedented boom of Chinese traveler numbers to Japan, and can benefit from brand recognition with this group due to its China locations. As shopping-focused affluent Chinese travelers are increasingly interested in budgeting for luxury experiences and accommodations, the hotel offers several key features that are especially popular with them. The hotel’s ease of access to Ginza, a top shopping destination for Chinese visitors, is especially appealing, while perks like a complimentary minibar and free gifts at checkout are features that are appreciated in particular by Chinese guests.
Another favorite hotel feature among Chinese travelers is its visually stunning afternoon tea service in its lounge, which offers copious opportunities for WeChat-ready photos of both the panoramic view and the meticulously designed treats. Called the “Black Afternoon Tea” in reference to the fine black teas available, the decadent after-shopping event features seasonal fruits and fine chocolates crafted into fashion-inspired pieces such as mini-chocolate handbags, shoes, and diamonds.
Despite the Aman Tokyo’s small number of rooms, it offers an extensive array of resort-like features including a two-story wellness center that includes a spa with steam rooms and traditional Japanese hot baths, a 30-meter swimming pool, and a fitness center with both yoga and pilates studios. All of these areas feature the hotel’s signature view of the city, which is also on display at its fine dining restaurant featuring gastronomic fine dining inspire by both Japanese and Mediterranean food. In addition to the lounge, guests can also unwind after dinner in the hotel’s library stocked with Japanese books and artifacts, or its cigar lounge, which comes with a build in humidor where guests can store their high-end whisky purchases.