Perched on the edge of the grounds of the Imperial Palace, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi may not look like much from the outside. It’s stuffed inside a glistening jigsaw puzzle of glass and steel, the structure looming over one of Tokyo’s premier finance districts. Guests arrive via a nondescript driveway, its blood-orange motif meant to evoke the feeling of crossing under a traditional torii gate.
But it’s hardly the arrival experience one might expect from a Four Seasons — it’s almost too subtle.
The drama builds when you’re whisked up to the hotel’s 39th-floor lobby. The elevator doors open, and there it is Tokyo from above, through floor-to-ceiling windows. The views are so impressive that you might feel a bit lightheaded, but it is best to adjust now, as the views just keep coming.
The hotel opened in the middle of global lockdowns in September 2020 and occupies the tower’s top six floors, making it feel like an urban refuge in the clouds. No matter what you are doing here, be it eating, sleeping, bathing, exercising, or sipping tea, you will have postcard-perfect views of the city.
This luxury hotel in Tokyo has some of the best views
If it’s possible to secure a west-facing room, do so. Of the hotel’s 190 guest rooms, those facing west overlook the Imperial Palace Gardens. Rooms facing east have city views that include the Tokyo Skytree — not a bad view by any means, but overlooking the palace feels particularly gleeful, like peeking into something you shouldn’t. It is spectacular. The magic continues even in bathrooms, where oversized freestanding tubs are set right against windows. And if you’re lucky, on a bright, clear day, from that porcelain tub overflowing with bubbles, you might spot Mount Fuji. Chances for that are higher during the winter when drier conditions lead to higher visibility.
Rooms and suites at the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi are refined, much like a modern residence. Designed by Aman veteran Jean-Michel Gathy, a pale-grey colour scheme and elegant furniture lean more global than Japanese, but select decorative details do nod to local culture—case in point: the wall-to-wall artwork of floating textiles inspired by Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake.
Eat at these incredible dining venues!
Since Tokyo is one of the planet’s most exciting culinary destinations, you absolutely must leave the property, letting your appetite lead you to sought-after omakase, yakitoris, and bowls of ramen. When you’re in the mood to stay on-site, the Four Seasons at Otemachi has four incredible dining venues. World-class cocktails await at Virtu, and sometimes the bar team offers limited-edition recipes built around a seasonal ingredient, like fresh strawberries in late winter.
If heading to the Lounge, don your finest attire for a decadent afternoon tea service, which is often when the lobby is at its busiest. And if you’re craving comfort food, tuck into Italian classics at Pigneto. (Ask for a secret off-menu option — general manager Andrew De Brito’s meat-loaded pizza — if feeling particularly carnivorous.) In all of these venues, unobstructed views of the skyline accompany every sip and bite.
Four Seasons at Otemachi’s gastronomic showpiece is surely Est, a Michelin-starred French restaurant helmed by chef Guillaume Bracaval. The ethereal dining room feels like a contemporary take on a Parisian salon — if that salon had a sprawling terrace from which you could high-five Godzilla — and a meal here is as indulgent as it is full of discovery.
For example, instead of importing cheese or butter from France, Bracaval and his team fashioned hummus and tofu “cheese” out of soybeans to zhuzh up the bread course. And while the wine list is spectacular, with some vintages coming from Japanese vineyards, the team will gladly pair each dish with a different type of tea instead. You need only ask.
The wellness vibe re-inforces the retreat vibe at this hotel
When it’s time to relax, head to the spa, which has five treatment rooms and offers cutting-edge services and programs, including trendy sleep therapies, luxurious facials using Valmont products, and jet lag–busting massages with Yakusugi oil, which is sustainably harvested from ancient cedar trees and lends an air of forest-bathing tranquillity.
The wellness and fitness space, set on the 39th floor, is top-notch, too, and reinforces the hotel’s sky-high retreat vibe. The pool is ideal for laps at 67 feet long, and it runs against massive windows that once again frame the city majestically. It’s truly gorgeous from here at night, when the twinkling lights of the skyline seem to complement the pool area’s unexpected metallic glam.
Given its vantage point, there are countless places from which to watch the sunset at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi. And yet, here’s an unusual recommendation: watch it from the gym, while doing squats on the Smith machine placed directly in front of the window. With every rep, the sky transforms from blue to pink to orange to fiery red before settling down to the black of night.
(Hero and feature image credit: Four Seasons)
This story first appeared on travelandleisure.com