URBAN ZEN AT AMAN TOKYO
A Tranquil Sanctuary to Stay, High Amongst The Tokyo Skyline
For some of the best views of – and amongst – the Tokyo skyline, Aman delivers.
As the first urban property of the Aman group, the cosmopolitan location proves that the group can create irresistible luxury in both sprawling nature and high rise properties 33 floors high.
On arrival, a traditional Koto player strums the elegant sounds of the Japanese harp that invites guests into the serene space of Aman Tokyo. The tone is set, and a sense of serenity immerses guests as they settle into the lounge upon check-in. Above, the warm glow from the naturally-lit architectural feature made from washi paper indicates guests are at Aman Tokyo, the iconic shoji-screen inspired architectural feature is striking in its awe-inspiring beauty.
Situated in Otemachi, one of Tokyo’s financial districts, Aman Tokyo occupies the top 6 floors of The Otemachi Tower, a renowned building in the area surrounded by neighbouring high rises and considered landscaping below.
It’s a convenient location, one where ultimate privacy can be found away from the frenetic energy of Tokyo’s areas of Shibuya or Roppongi. A tranquil sanctuary high above the city.
ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN
Designed by the late architect Kerry Hill, natural materials used throughout the hotel ensure the spaces feel both warm and luxurious.
This is the sixth Aman property designed by Kerry Hill Architects, and in Hill’s signature way, considered design elements slowly reveal themselves over time in Aman Tokyo.
One great example of this is the striking architectural feature from the lobby ceiling, soaring 30 metres high between 6 room floors. Created with layers of textured washi paper and stretched to fit a shoji frame, the structure evidently resembles a Japanese paper lantern. The warm glow from the architectural feature ensures both privacy between floor pathways and equally builds a sense of bewilderment at the very unique structure.
Timber, washi and stone play a strong role in the hotel’s design. These natural materials create timeless luxury, and their quiet beauty presents calm through a clear palette of neutral tones. Kerry Hill was a visionary, working closely with Aman founder Adrian Zecca to create the poetic spaces Aman is so renowned for to this day.
Curated artworks are found throughout the hotel, from specially commissioned artworks to curated, rare Japanese antiques such as historic drawers from the Muromachi Period (1336-1573) or Bizen Pottery (by Sei Hoshino) using Japan’s oldest pottery making technique. There are also paintings by Nana Furo, ceramic vessels by Masaki Hattori (33rd floor) and Kai Nakamura’s Washi spa screens at the relaxation area, made with from special Isawa Washi by a Washi artisan from the Niigata region.
Upon check-in on the 33rd floor, find master plasterer Syuhei Hasado’s artwork ‘November Vines’ made from natural earth and materials in warm, cream tones. Syuhei works only with natural materials, and in his artwork shines a light on nature’s beauty through a new lens, together with his unique technique of plastering. Originally from Gifu, Syuhei’s work plastering modern construction and private residencies to teahouses shows his diversity of practise, applying his skill not only in architecture and design fields but also showcased in innovative artworks.
In front of the elevator on Level 33, find Syuhei’s 3-metre long artwork, presented in brown hues, championing the tones and textures he is known for. Titled ‘Walking in a Late Autumn Forest’, the artwork uses autumn leaves collected from a Japanese Larch forest, dried and applied with an adhesive used for making washi paper. On Level 34, Syuhei’s ‘Winter Flowers’ created through using only mud, stucco and his technique of plastering, presents a poetic scene of flowers blowing in the wild, moving with time, just as Aman guests do upon each return to the hotel.
In guest rooms, Japanese calligraphy works by artists Kei Shimizu and Gen Miyamura share meditative scripts of words such as ‘Season’, ‘Peace’ and ‘To Fly High in the Sky’. Not only are they beautiful to view, they add to the intangible tranquility found in the guest room spaces.
There are 84 suites in the hotel, each with a minimal aesthetic celebrating Japanese design through a Western lens. All the modern comforts are here, along with the new, set from Japanese design cues that guests can enjoy and feel a true place of context.
Each suite offers a large furo – a deep, soaking bathtub offering floor-to-ceiling views of the city below. This shares the strong importance of water in Japanese culture, highlighting the art of bathing. Japanese calligraphy works hang in each suite, sharing meditative scripts to re-align guest perspectives each day. These considered details create the experience guests seek from at Aman.
Designed for each suite, overall layouts are unique, depending on the suite type: Tokyo (spacious studios), Deluxe (perfect for watching the city’s famed sunsets), Garden View (presenting views of the Imperial Palace Gardens and at times, Mt Fuji in the distance), Grand (one of the largest suites), City (with a separate bedroom and a fully stocked pantry), Panorama (offering dual aspect vistas) and Aman Suite (at 157 sq metres). Ranging in size, each presents contemporary convenience with ultimate privacy.
The Aman Spa is comprised over an entire floor, with a multiple of wellness facilities.
Firstly, a traditional bath house invites guest to unwind in the traditional Japanese bathing ritual, following by sauna or steam room. Aman amenities are provided, as are bath robe and accessories.
There is a 30-metre heated pool with a stunning skyline backdrop on one side, and the other, a floor to ceiling light work which highlights the spacious setting taking over two floors. Daybeds surround the pool, offering guests the ultimate place to relax and unwind.
Arva, headed by Executive Chef Masakazu Hiraki, presents Italian cuisine through a refined lens. Meaning ‘cultivated land’ in Latin, Arva presents seasonal, simples dishes constructed with depth and diversity.
Amongst the endless choices of Japanese restaurants in the city, Arva presents an authentic yet innovative approach to Italian cuisine, through chef Masakazu’s experience in Italy and passion for the art of the cuisine. Living and working in Venice, Italy for 13 years, chef Masakazu returned to Tokyo to lead Arva with his immense skill and knowledge.
Chef Masakazu knows the importance of quality and fresh ingredients. Born in the Hyogo prefecture, Masakazu is passionate about Japanese producers, sourcing from local markets when he can. He speaks with farmers about soil and weather to understand how classical dishes evolved regionally, to inform his own way of cooking and constructing dining experiences. Most recently, chef Masakazu travelled back to Venice for an exchange with the Aman Venice team, to reconnect and learn new ideas from his contemporaries there.
Back at Arva, at our own dining experience there, we found an ambience highlighted by the glowing Tokyo skyline in the distance, creates an unforgettable evening. With tables set between floor-to-ceiling windows and the kitchen, diners have a vantage point on both, witnessing the organised production between staff and kitchen. Italian restaurants is always warm and familial, and Arva replicates this authentic approach. The menu ensures there is something for every type of diner, with various tasting menus to select (from seasonal to traditional), in addition to the ultra-special dining experiences (for instance, with window seating and champagne on arrival).
Chef Masakazu’s Cultivare tasting menu in August presented the best of that season, with ravioli made from sea scallop and tomato, Hokkaido ricotta and Hirame flounder & Kuruma-ebi tiger prawn involtini rolls. A Budino di Soda starter was made from Edamame soybean savoury pudding, Beni-zuwaigani snow crab, and Tokushima Hamo conger eel. A stand out was the Roasted Ibaraki Kasumi duck, with chef Masakazu’s creative date on beetroot and figs a clear highlight for us. The deep burgundy colour of the beetroot creating not only a visually striking but delicious dish.
The comprehensive wine list is curated painstakingly, stocked with over 850 carefully selected wines from around the world. An 8-metre tall cellar houses them all, available for guests to taste the best not only from Italy, but Spain, California and even Japan.
Available for both lunch and dinner, there are also two private dining rooms available to book.
Discreet luxury and services as expected are offered from the Aman group, with Aman Tokyo no exception to the rule. The Aman Tokyo team go above and beyond for guest services, as expected from this renowned luxury group.
From the moment one lands into Tokyo, a private car or limousine service can be arranged to chauffeur guests (and even large groups of up to 16) to the hotel. More custom services include ‘Sumo Behind-The-Scenes’ where guests can arrange to experience the remarkable history and tradition of this iconic sport, from visiting the sumo-beya (stable) and wrestlers in training, to the Sumo Museum at the Ryogoku Kokugikan arena. A very unique experience indeed.
Architecture and design wow guests as they enter the hotel in Otemachi Tower on the 33rd floor. In particular, the architectural washi screen feature is not only iconic, but a delight to live amongst when staying at the Aman Tokyo. The sum of its parts, this luxury hotel is a must-stay in Tokyo for a reason.
The Otemachi Tower
1-5-6 Otemachi Chiyoda-ku
100-0004 Tokyo, Japan
For more design and travel destinations in Japan, click here.
Text: Editor-in-Chief Monique Kawecki
Images: As credited, Aman Group & Champ Magazine©