May 13, 2021
FEW HOTELS THAT START 31 STORIES HIGH could claim the amount of greenery that the new Tokyo Edition, Toranomon does. With dense foliage of more than 500 plants in the lobby space alone, the new property has created a sky-high jungle in the most populous city in the world.
The biophilic space is where the first Edition hotel in Japan—which made this year’s T+L It List—makes its boldest statement. A sprawl of potted plants weave together the different areas, from the Blue Room restaurant to the stylish Lobby Bar, while at the same time creating seclusion: towering palms divide cushy lounge-style seating with prime views over the iconic Tokyo Tower.
The design is a collaboration between pop-culture icon Ian Schrager, who first rose to fame in the ‘70s when he created Studio 54 with the late Steve Rubell, and Kengo Kuma, a prolific architect behind a number of iconic buildings around the world, including the Japan National Stadium for Tokyo 2020 (er, now, 2021). The 31st floor melds their vision for a hotel that pays homage to the history of the area—the lobby’s overall inspiration is the courtyard of a Buddhist temple—while also embracing the thriving, modern nature of this business district.
The temple analogy feels fitting as I walk down the corridor that connects the lobby to the terrace rooms. A minimalist hallway with unadorned wooden walls and soft lighting was designed as a “decompression” zone. The stroll is like a little dose of Zen.
I’m staying in one of the hotel’s 15 Studio Terrace rooms. I first spot on-theme ivy-covered vertical gardens framing each side of a wooden balcony —which alone is the size of some entire hotel rooms in Japan.
Like the hallway, the room invites the eyes (and mind) to rest. The color palette is muted, with soft whites, warm greys, and white stained oak walls and floors, creating a calm space. Schrager’s vision strips the design back to the real purpose of a hotel room: to rest in.
The artwork is minimal and restricted to one solo gold-leaf painting inspired by Japanese antique screens and the seasons. The king-size bed has a faux-fur throw that adds a touch of warmth and also provides comfort later in the evening, when we take in the city from the deck while wrapped in the plush blanket. One surprise is the kitchen facilities. There’s a gas stovetop, small oven, and deep kitchen sink, with a small counter space for prep when dining in… but given the options there’s no way we’re not dining out in the hotel instead.
The hotel’s all-day-dining spot, The Blue Room, features electric-blue velvet chairs and booth seating that packs a visual punch—just like the stellar outlook over Tokyo Tower. Craft cocktails delivered from the Lobby Bar have a touch of Japan, like the Sansho & Zakuro a bourbon-based drink with Japanese pepper (sansho), Lillet blanc, grenadine and lime. So do several of the main dishes, like a kale salad with a miso-and-pecan dressing, and the seared scallops with yuzu served at lunch and dinner. Avocado toast with a chunky, seedy slice of bread, along with more decadent breakfast options like brioche French toast with Hokkaido pumpkin, and caramelized-apple pancakes make up the well-rounded a la carte breakfast selection.
The signature restaurant, The Jade Room, will have Michelin-starred chef, Tom Aikens, at the helm but with an October 2020 opening (you know, right in the middle of Covid), they had to push pause on that debut.
Luckily for me, the six-treatment room SPA is open. Like the guest rooms, simplicity reigns supreme here. White dominates the arrival area but the vibe is more crisp and clean than clinical. The rooms are minimalist with interiors designed not to distract.
The SPA’s 90-minute comfort massage, which combines Lomi Lomi and Balinese massage and uses Bioprogramming oil, a unique oil with some tech behind it, is thoroughly indulgent. My therapist begins and ends with the feet, first through a salt-and-sake footbath and at the end through a warm-cloth compress. In between is a full-body massage that’s gentle enough to be relaxing but also strong enough to release some knots. Aromatherapy is used with custom-made oils that blend Japanese ingredients with more common aromatherapy scents. I opt for Mindfulness, made of kumquat, common sage, and St. John’s wort. Post-session I’m served their mindfulness tea, a combo of similar herbs.
For guests who prefer to chill out through a workout, the hotel has a reasonably spacious gym with a mix of cardio and strength-training equipment. Next door to the gym is the hotel’s 14-meter-long lap pool that despite being a grey tile enclave in the center of the building, is still inviting with lush foliage, plush poolside furniture, and a glimmer of natural light that sneaks in from a skylight window. The pool’s underwater lighting is best appreciated in the water when each stroke creates a glowing effect on the surface.
Having started my stay with the Edition’s version of a forest bath, I finish up with a real one, and take an extended soak in the hotel’s hot tub, getting one final dose of relaxation before joining back in with the crowds of the city below.
editionhotels.com/tokyo-toranomon; doubles from ¥60,720
Room and property photos by Nikolas Koenig/Courtesy of The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon. F&B photos courtesy of The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon.