I was invited to check out the 173 room Mandarin Oriental Tokyo that opened in December 2005. It was billed as the first official six-star hotel in the world and believe it or not I almost passed on the invitation since their lobby is on the 38th floor and after Japan’s 9.0 earthquake I didn’t know if I would be able to stop worrying (a trait I got from my mother) to sleep. But my freewheeling dad’s side took over and said, “are you crazy?” I know Tokyo has the most earthquake equipped buildings in the world so there was really nothing to worry about and I was in one of them in 2005 – it was no big deal to the locals (I however jumped out of my skin).
What’s interesting is that the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo is an upside down hotel as the rooms are on floors 30-36 so you have to take a separate elevator to and from the lobby that’s on the 38th floor. I had a lovely 24 hours there and below are my top nine reasons why you would want to stay at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo.
- The Views: The panoramic views of Tokyo are seriously jaw-dropping. Day and night. There was something magical about the night skyline that gave me goose bumps. The daytime view shows that Tokyo is not that beautiful of a city but seeing Mount Fuji peering out 62 miles (100 Kilometers) south-west of Tokyo from your room is pretty spectacular. My photos don’t do it justice so you just need to experience it for yourself.
- The rooms: The rooms at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo are just silly. They are some of the biggest and nicest in the city. Their attention to detail is what sets them apart and I can’t list them all otherwise this paragraph would be 500 words. But to give you an idea there’s anti-fog mirrors in the bathroom to go along with their whole vanity kit that includes a comb and hairbrush. U.S. electrical outlets are by the desk and bed, the desk drawer is filled with office supplies, a jogging map, a little door in a cubbyhole for the staff to deliver your morning newspaper and return your complimentary shoe shine so they don’t disturb you. Your belongings are safe and hallways are clean. There are remote control blinds and binoculars nearby so you can really get a good look at Mount Fuji (and the girls changing in the hotel across the way — just kidding about the latter).
- Toilet. Yes, the toilet. I know you are thinking it should’ve been included in number two but when you have a toilet as brilliant as theirs you will understand. The lid goes up and a light comes on when you walk into its presence, the seat is heated, they have all the bidet functions you ever imagined. It flushes by itself when you walk away. If these Toto toilets didn’t cost $5,000 I would have one in my house. For now I will just use the Mandarin’s.
- Food: The hotel has 10 food and beverage outlets and two of the restaurants have a Michelin star (one is a French restaurant and the other is Chinese). BTW: Did you know Tokyo has the most Michelin star restaurants of any city in the world? I went to dinner with my friends off property but I did hit their breakfast buffet which was not only divine but refined. Everything was perfectly displayed and they had something for everyone including a full American breakfast.
- Service: Hands down the service is just ridiculous, in a good way. To give you an idea, when I went to take a taxi the white-gloved bellman put his hand just over my head to make sure I didn’t bump it while entering. What the heck?! I wanted to take the dude on the road with me so when we film in construction zones I don’t have to wear one of those funny looking hardhats.
- Workout: After all of their good food they better have a good workout room and they do. Not only do they have state-of-the art machines but the views are inspiring and there’s an attendant that offers you headsets so you can watch and listen to the individual TVs on treadmill/bicycle/stairmaster, give you a bottle of water, a cold towel, fruit or juice.
- Spa: I didn’t get to try any of their spa treatments but I did check out their supreme luxury vitality pool, amethyst crystal steam room, sky view sauna and rain showers. Wow!
- Location: The hotel is in the 400-year-old Nihonbashi one of Tokyo’s key business districts. Below the hotel is a subway station, and a mall which connects to a whole underground system. I walked a couple blocks to Mitsukoshi which is a huge department store like Harrods. In fact, they even had a Harrods section. I went to the store’s food section on the ground floor. Everyone working there is in a uniform, they are all friendly and I didn’t see one Westerner. I bought some lunch to go and Japanese chocolates made by Satie after being lured in with a free sample. They were so divine I had to get some to bring home to Natalie.
- Bus to airport leaves: The airport bus departs right from the hotel and you can buy your tickets from the hotel concierge. So easy.
Good to know:
-Rooms start at 50,000 Yen ($) a night
-Internet costs 1,800 Yen a day.
-When returning to the airport they do a security check on busses and check for passports. Total time from hotel to NRT took 55 minutes (without traffic).