Glass discovers the magic of the Aman Tokyo hotel – Urban Scale with Comfort

BASED IN Tokyo’s financial district Ōtemachi, the Aman Tokyo hotel amazes guests by its immense scale and balanced design, providing unbelievable luxury comfort on the top floors of the 38-story Ōtemachi Tower, also home to Mizuho Bank.

Being a neighbour to banks and financial institutions does not prevent Aman Tokyo from distinguishing itself as a peaceful retreat. Its elusive entrance, suggested only by a vintage horse carriage with Aman Tokyo printed on its body outside the tower, shies away from the main road, as if the hotel is meant as a mysterious sanctuary only for its guests. Entering the first floor, I am welcomed by staff who usher me into the elevator straight to the 33rd floor. When I come out of the elevator, I am completely in awe of the scale of its serene, expansive lobby.

Aman Tokyo's 4-Story-High LobbyAman Tokyo’s four-storey high Lobby

The lobby occupies an enormous amount of space – four storeys in the skyscraper to be exact. In the lobby lies the flat, low sofas that are symmetrically positioned. Here, the contrast of the high ceiling and low resting surfaces creates an even more dramatic sense of the scale. Another magical effect that Aman Tokyo achieves with its scale and height is its view of the city. Dining in the restaurant beside the lobby, guests can enjoy a beautiful view of the bustling streets of Tokyo and the green oasis of the Imperial Palace. During the day, sunlight shines through the screen that loosely separates the lobby and the restaurant, poetically casting the screen’s square patterns on the lobby floor.

Aman Tokyo's Serene Lobby at NightAman Tokyo’s serene lobby at night

A Lush Japanese Cornel to Reflect SeasonalityA lush Japanese cornel to reflect seasonality

In addition to its scale, the interior architectural design of Aman Tokyo, a hybrid of traditional Japanese ryokan and modern minimalism, sets itself apart from other luxury hotels in Tokyo. Designed by Kerry Hill Architects, the lobby resembles a giant Japanese shoji lantern made of layers of washi paper and thoughtfully lightened to create an urban retreat. As people are resting and chatting inside the “lantern”, they are secluded from the frenzy of the modern world. People in that space therefore are awarded mental focus without any distractions, calm in their own states.

Actual lanterns are placed throughout the hotel, in the common areas and guest rooms. Aman Tokyo uses soft and natural colors such as light brown, beige, grey and black to create balance, as nature does to earth. In the middle of the lobby at the center of a fountain, sits a lush Japanese cornel that staff change regularly to reflect seasonality, a philosophy that’s akin to Japanese cuisine – creating seasonal dishes that only use the season’s best ingredients.

Traditional Yakuyu inside Guest RoomTraditional Yakuyu inside Guest Room

Another traditional Japanese experience that Aman Tokyo provides guests is a “yakuyu” in each guest’s bathroom. “Yakuyu” means herbal bath in Japanese. Stepping into the bathroom, I find a booklet of instructions for taking a yakuyu, a wooden stool, a wooden water spoon and a seasonal fruit – mine is a yuzu (citron) because I am staying during the months of January to March. It is quite fun to follow the instructions from the booklet step by step.

During the yakuyu, I step in and out of the bath to keep body temperature from rising too high. The feeling while and after taking a yakuyu is soulfully good and insanely comforting. Besides the private yakuyu treatment in each guest’s room, the hotel also provides hot baths and swimming pool facilities on the 34th floor with an impressive city view.

Swimming Pool with a Magnificent City ViewSwimming Pool with a Magnificent City View

Aman Tokyo not only exhibits traditional Japanese elements in many places but also balance its tradition with modern efficiency and international flair. Inside the guest rooms, it adopts state-of-the-art technologies including heated bathroom floors, retractable TV screens from the desk, multi-functional electric lavatories etc. Besides being a modern ryokan, Aman Tokyo offers first-class, authentic Italian cuisine at its Arva restaurant next to the lobby. During my dinner at Arva, I started with yellowtail carpaccio, feasted on roasted Ezo venison loin and finished my tasting on a sweet note with a rather fluid, non-traditional Tiramisu.

High-tech and Traditional Japanese Guest RoomHigh-tech and Traditional Japanese Guest Room

In the capital of tiny little cute things – that’s how I conceive Tokyo because of the elegantly wrapped Japanese gift boxes, deceiving-looking food models outside restaurants, kawaii school-girl accessories and capsule toy-vending machines and so on. Aman Tokyo certainly impresses its guests with its urban scale and beautifully balanced design. And the best part is that it feels like home.

by Vanessa Xinyi Mao

For more information about the Aman Tokyo, visit their website

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