I assure you, we tried to stay away from references to Sophia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. But it became clear early on that this was going to be unavoidable. After learning we were spending time in Tokyo, friends and travellers would always ask, ‘Ooh where are you staying?’ We’d reply; then would come the inevitable ‘Ohhhhhhh that’s the Lost in Translation hotel, right?’ Cue: ‘Hope you run into Bill Murray’. Or ‘Say hello to Scarlet’. There was the occasional ‘ahh Suntory time.’ (If you’ve never seen the movie, you’ll now be confused.) But that doesn’t matter, because the Park Hyatt Tokyo is much more than being a muse for movie folklore.
As is often the case in the larger hotels we’ve stayed in throughout Asia, the rooms and main hotel areas are halfway up a tall, impressive skyscraper. This doesn’t mean that the welcome at street level is anything less than warm and inviting. It simply means you’re getting a kick-ass view from the top! Stepping out of the elevator on the 42nd floor to see sprawling sparkling Tokyo its a very special experience.
Mr Smith and I have developed a wonderful pattern of travel behaviour that suits us perfectly. It’s a heavenly balance of adventure, food and living in awesome hotels. The daily rituals run as follows:
Sleep in. Sounds like a no brainer? A comfortable bed, complete silence and a room cloaked in still, peaceful inky darkness is essential. We slept soundly here (although that may have been the effects of the top-floor bar; more on that later).
Enjoy the view. When we decide to wake and we’re ready to face the day, a great lookout helps break through the sleepy haze… And when your king suite’s curtains part and your eyes take in over the Tokyo landscape all the way to the foot of Mount Fuji, it’s properly mesmerising. The room is well appointed and comfortable – as you would expect in a large luxurious city hotel, but not many lay on that kind of eye candy. Did we mention there’s a light-filled bamboo garden on the 41st floor too?
Coffee. This doesn’t really need to be explained does it? It’s essential; happily delivered and gratefully received at our breakfast table. (Breakfast is not automatically included in room rates so check the details before you arrive.) If you get a chance to dine there are a few options – a lavish buffet, à la carte or the Japanese breakfast. The latter is incredibly popular and sells out most mornings. My pick is to raid the excellent muesli selection with the superfood extras. Somehow I manage to convince myself that I’m being so healthy it’s my duty to also order poached eggs, smoked salmon and delicious smoothies.
Little tip: if you’re travelling with a hungry tourist such as Mr Smith, it's good to visit the Pastry Boutique near the entrance with its gorgeous selection of patisserie and praline dacquoise and yamato-cha chocolates. They come swaddled in tissue paper, boxed with ribbon – too pretty to open. (But we quickly got over that.) A bite of heaven, whether you’re on your way out or on your way up in the elevator.
As our rituals dictate, we’re out for most of the day (the Park Hyatt team is great at helping point you in the right direction to hidden gems). We appropriate their spoiled-for-choice hit list of galleries, museums, hotspots, shops and restaurants. As per our ritual this is usually five or six hours of powerwalking which means I’m well and truly ready for what tends to come next…
The 4pm running of the bath – in the case of Park Hyatt Tokyo, it’s in a truly luxurious deep marble tub enhanced with mineral salts and fragrant Aesop gels to soothe those over-shopped muscles. It’s the ultimate in indulgence. At this point tradition states that Mr Smith raids the minibar and/or calls room service. In this case the minibar is well within reach and truly satisfying with plenty of options including fine gins and plenty of scotch. Poured into a tall glass with plenty of ice (magically placed here in the room) it’s a heavenly way to spend the afternoon.
Mornings are a great time for a dip in that pool. There’s a well-equipped (and well-populated) fitness centre too. With awesome views over Tokyo’s intense skyline – it’s easy to get distracted as you try burn some of that saké but the speedy lap swimmers bring you down to earth pretty quick. There are some strict protocols for using the swimming areas so make sure you bring your own cap or one will be provided. No mermaid hair moments allowed here.
And finally: the bar. Mr Smith had been before and had great memories of the best (but most expensive) toasted sandwich he’d ever had. The breath-halting perspective and the live music make it worth the extra expense and it’s a satisfying feeling when you sink into leather chairs here with a dirty vodka martini or a neat scotch. Listening to great jazz, watching low-lying clouds drift past the windows to expose a multi-coloured Gameboy vision of Tokyo at night is hard to beat.
Like our brand new Onitsuka Tiger sneakers Park Hyatt is comfortable, stylish, and puts a little spring in your step. Just like Tokyo should be… it’s fun. Of course, you shouldn’t just look at what’s outside your window, you’ll need to go out and explore it. The hotel’s location is one its trump cards: Shinjuku will make your bank manager weep, thanks to its never-ending assortment of designer labels on display in the Shibuya shopping district; the Harajuku district is also close by if you want to admire the cosplay-clad cool kids. The Parky Hyatt Tokyo could feel like a bewildering behemoth of a hotel, but it doesn’t. Forget Bill and Scarlett; from the moment you arrive, you’ll feel like the star here.