Into another Realm
In a metropolis marked by the relentless march of modernity, Hoshinoya Tokyo stands as a beacon of culture and tradition. Situated in bustling Otemachi, the 84-room Hoshinoya Tokyo is a ryokan — a traditional hot spring inn typically found in mountainous areas — with exclusivity and luxury at its core. The 17-floor monolith belies the exquisite interiors within: a serene sanctuary of tatami-matted floors, refined bamboo and cypress furnishings, and shoji paper screens. Classic yet contemporary, the ryokan epitomises understated Japanese elegance.
There is a palpable sense of stepping into another realm at Hoshinoya Tokyo. The tower’s glass and komon lattice steel exterior are cleverly concealed behind shoji screens to afford utmost privacy and tranquility. Guests are encouraged to regard the ryokan as their home, and so, shoes are removed at the entrance and stowed away by the ever-attentive staff. Kimonos provided in the rooms can be worn in and around the property.
Every floor has a communal Ochanoma Lounge, where seasonal tea and snacks are served. Its spacious 83 sqm Kiku room (¥106,200 – or RM3,959.61 – per night excluding taxes and meals) is furnished with plush futon-style beds, a small desk and a sofa bed for watching TV. There’s also a dining table where the in-room breakfast is served (¥4,000 for Japanese breakfast; ¥3,300/RM123.04 – for western). The bathroom features a satisfyingly deep bathtub that comfortably fits two adults. While it provides a suitably relaxing soak, nothing beats the hot spring on the top floor, where the indoor and outdoor baths are fed by curative waters drawn from 1,500m below ground.
As Hoshinoya takes particular pride in providing an authentic Japanese experience, it offers cultural activities including the tea ceremony (¥8,000/RM298.28 per person), which I participated in. Steeped in ritual and meaning, the workshop was an excellent introduction to this ancient tradition. Every evening, guests are invited to the lobby lounge for complimentary sake and wine tasting to be savoured while watching a most entertaining Grand Kagura performance. This was the perfect prelude to our dinner at the Hoshinoya restaurant, which serves a gourmet seasonal menu (¥18,000/RM671.12 per person) starring local produce prepared using French techniques.