advertisement

Whereas The Peninsula Hong Kong capitalizes on its colonial-age splendor, this sister property strives for an understated Zen-like simplicity. The small lobby, which serves the Peninsula's signature afternoon tea accompanied by live classical music, is void of embellishment save for sleek slats of dark wood, a chandelier designed in the shape of cascading fireworks, gold-colored pillars, and an abstract bamboo "dragon" dominating one end. Its coolest design feature, in my opinion, is the swirling fiberglass sculpture, suspended in a dark inner core that runs through the building, which is visible only by peeking into windows near elevator doors on each floor; appropriately named the "Void," it's one of 1,000 pieces of art commissioned by the hotel. Rooms, beginning at 51 sq. m. (544 sq. ft.), are among Tokyo's largest, with the best facing the greenery of the Imperial Palace and Hibiya Park. They feature the latest in high-tech luxury, including bedside controls that light up at the slightest touch (no more groping in the dark), dressing rooms with vanity counters and dryers just for freshly painted nails, valet boxes near the door where newspapers and polished shoes can be placed without disturbing guests, and bathrooms with mood lighting and roomy enough for couples, even in the tub. Other perks include a great location near Marunouchi and Ginza, a Rolls Royce that will deliver you anywhere within a 2-km (approximately 1-mile) radius for free, complimentary iPods to guide you through the surrounding neighborhood, and the Peninsula Academy with a changing roster of classes and experiences that can include making washi (Japanese paper) or a tour of a sake brewery.