What It’s Like to Spend a Weekend at Tokyo’s Best Hotel

In the cradle of the city's "Tiger Gate," find a stay that's comforting and mesmerizing

July 24, 2023 6:58 am
A view of the Tokyo Tower from The Tokyo EDITION Toranomon.
We had trouble taking our eyes off this thing. You'll fare no better.
Courtesy of The Tokyo EDITION/Nikolas Koenig

I didn’t come all the way to Japan just to stare at the Tokyo Tower, but I found it distinctly difficult to look away. The 1,000-foot landmark, painted white and international orange, is a touchpoint in anime and manga — by one Reddit count, it’s been “destroyed” by kaiju (giant monsters) at least four times. But it’s a Western import of sorts. Tachū Naitō designed the telecom tower to mimic the latticed shape of the Eiffel Tower (while beefing it up for Pacific Rim earthquakes). The initial goal was to make the structure taller than the Empire State Building. When it reached its apex height in 1958, it was only about 50 meters short.

From the 36th floor of the The Tokyo EDITION Toranomon, the Tokyo Tower is a reliable and consistent companion, in clear sight from dawn to dusk. When you reenter your room at the end of a day, the shades automatically exit stage left, just to confirm it’s still out there, winking in the night. It’s comforting, and mesmerizing, and compared to the Edo Period gates and buzzing fish markets down below…not especially Japanese. But then, that description could just as easily apply to the EDITION itself.

Easy living, up in the clouds. The EDITION properties have their starter pack down pat.
Courtesy of The Tokyo EDITION/Nikolas Koenig

First Impressions

I spent a weekend at Japan’s very first EDITION property last month, in a space developed by hospitality legend Ian Schrager (founder of Studio 54) and award-winning architect Kengo Kuma (designer of the Japan National Stadium for the 2020 Summer Olympics). The hotel comprises floors 31 through 36 of the Kamiyacho Trust Building, a steel skyscraper in Downtown Tokyo. The official name for the neighborhood, “Toranomon,” translates to “Tiger Gate,” in reference to the southernmost entrance of the Imperial Palace, which is about 2.5 miles up the road.

The hotel slots in nicely with this ongoing rise of “quiet luxury.” The rooms, for instance, feature slats of blonde wood, Italian linens, custom furniture and Sivec marble. (I watched Howl’s Moving Castle’s in a king bed while eating Delaware grapes.) The lobby, too, favors a jungle of majesty palms as opposed to the chandeliers of five-star yore. And instead of plopping the requisite pool on a roof-deck, it’s tucked away in a slate-hued cavern at the very heart of the hotel. There’s apples, water infused with something and a hot tub. That place more or less collapses time.

The cocktail bar just outside the Jade Room, where Chef Tom Aikens is absolutely throwing down.
Courtesy of The Tokyo EDITION/Nikolas Koenig

Chef Tom Aikens

The Tokyo EDITION has three restaurants, including the Blue Room (best for breakfast) and the Gold Room (best for cocktails), but the Jade Room is the most memorable. Helmed by Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens, the restaurant gets even more intimate with our favorite telecom tower (there’s a terrace, it’s awesome), and features a seasonally-dependent tasting menu.

When Aikens first launched the restaurant, he promised a “cohesive fusion of Japanese and Western dishes.” Well, he’s made good on that — I was lucky enough to sample Terroir Yoichi, a five-course traipse through the farmer’s markets of Hokkaido. I was blown away by (a) the sea urchin with peas and mitsuba and (b) the grouper with white asparagus, ginger and kinjiso. Oh, and that cherry dessert at the end (with its sweetened tofu and peanuts) was a stroke of genius. The kitchen evidently has a cherry guy an hour west of Sapporo, which I appreciated.

Welcome to the pool, with an adjoining spa. Time does not exist here.
Courtesy of The Tokyo EDITION/Nikolas Koenig

The EDITION Metaverse

Whoever the White Lotus-esc worshippers are in the EDITION’s universe, they’re onto something. The Marriott-owned project claims 15 or so destinations right now, will have a couple dozen over the next few years and wants to hit 100 down the line. Whether you’re going to Dubai, or Tampa (seriously), you can expect a similar starting pack every single time: easygoing rooms, rain showers, kickass service, one of the best hotel breakfasts you’ll ever eat.

It might beg the question: what’s the point of traveling, if you’re staying in the same place every time? But traveling’s hard, Japan’s far away (for most of us) and having some degree of familiarity to lean on a world away isn’t a bad deal at all. Tokyo’s the sort of city where you can temple-hop your way to 30,000 steps without even realizing. Every lunch rush, every trip to a konbiri and every encounter with the metro is an adventure unto itself. I quite appreciated coming back to that big room — and having that tower waiting for me — as each day came to its end.

To learn more about rates and availability at the hotel, head here. Expect a floor of $750 a night.


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