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Bath and Beyond

Tokyo's High-Tech Hotel Bathrooms
  • The Peninsula Tokyo

    Deluxe Suite, The Peninsula Tokyo

  • The Peninsula Tokyo

    The Peninsula Tokyo

  • Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

    Executive Suite, Mandarin Oriental

  • Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

    Presidential Suite, Mandarin Oriental

  • Hotel New Otani Tokyo

    Hotel New Otani Tokyo

  • Park Hyatt Tokyo

    Tokyo Suite, Park Hyatt

  • Park Hyatt Tokyo

    Diplomat Suite, Park Hyatt

  • Grand Hyatt Tokyo

    Grand Hyatt Tokyo

  • Grand Hyatt Tokyo

    Nagomi Spa, Grand Hyatt Tokyo

CHEAT SHEET
WHERE

On the southeastern side of Japan’s main island, Honshu, with the North Pacific just to the east and Korea about 600 miles to the west.

WHY GO

Of all the world’s metropolises, Tokyo just might be the biggest and the brightest. The dizzying colors of Shibuya make Times Square look downright quaint, and the roiling seas of humanity are a sight to behold. Beneath the glimmering surfaces are worlds upon worlds — in food, fashion, art, culture, and pretty much anything you can imagine, plus plenty you likely can’t.

HOW

From abroad, you’ll likely be flying into Narita, Tokyo’s major international airport, though Haneda International, in the city proper, generally makes for a quicker trip to your hotel. Inside Japan, there’s an outstanding rail network, whether traveling to the far reaches of the country or between points in Tokyo.

TABLET TIP

Make time to enjoy the more traditional, slow-paced pleasures that exist within the seemingly ultra-modern urban landscape; you’ll find Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines of all sizes tucked beneath sky-scraping office buildings. And whether exploring the new or the old, bring maps or load them onto your phone, as most streets don’t have names.

April, 2013

For the first-time visitor to a Tokyo hotel bathroom, the “washlet” control panel can be a bit intimidating: you’ve got control over various angles, pressures, temperatures, and other variables you’ve never given a thought to, all accompanied by obscure pictograms and a voice emanating from nowhere. And in this most hygienic of cities, a bath, too, quickly becomes a multimedia experience. A few tips, for when you can’t find the instruction manual:

The Peninsula Tokyo
With a research-and-development unit employing some twenty engineers, the Peninsula group has long since left the simple cedar tub behind. At The Peninsula Tokyo, in the Marunouchi district, the bathrooms are boxes made from marble, glass and granite, designed for customization freaks: mood lighting, spa music, privacy settings, anti-fogging technology, all for the sake of a high-tech ofuro tub or a washlet from TOTO, the leader in bathroom technology.

Park Hyatt Tokyo
A panoramic retreat for stressed salarymen, lost in the peaks of Shinjuku’s office towers, the Park Hyatt Tokyo offers sophisticated suites designed by John Morford, with immense bathrooms, deep soaking tubs beneath paintings by Yoshitaka Echizenya, double sinks and a profusion of bath salts and vials of Aesop products. Plasma screens are always in view, in case you’re in the mood for a more cinematic bath experience. Try Lost in Translation and see if the setting looks familiar.

Grand Hyatt Tokyo
At the center of the Roppongi Hills complex, between Shibuya and Minato, the Grand Hyatt Tokyo has reinvented the ofuro bath ceremony. Occupying fully one quarter of the rooms’ square footage, the bathrooms, where mahogany meets Italian stone, are equipped with Dornbracht rain showers and soaking tubs with massaging headrests. In keeping with the onsen tradition, these bathrooms gently nudge you to shower before bathing. You’ll be happy to take the extra time.

Hotel New Otani Tokyo – Executive House ZEN
A veritable hotel within the New Otani hotel, the Executive House ZEN makes the most of its verdant surroundings, while depending on the “mother hotel” for vital services and amenities. In these bathrooms, equipped with jacuzzi tubs or showers with views of the Imperial Gardens, the heat is recycled from the basement machine rooms, and the water is purified in natural cypress tanks — impressive moves when you consider they were made decades ago, back when “green” was nothing more than a color.

Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
Here they’ll issue you a yukata, a cotton kimono that’s perfect for slipping into straight from the bath. Occupying the upper floors of the Mitsui Tower in Nihonbashi’s financial district, the Mandarin Oriental caters to an international audience, and is suitably cosmopolitan, with Italian showers, German marble and British bath products by Aromatherapy Associates — while the spa’s Art of Bathing program includes a bit of Swedish body therapy.

Dante Nolleau

BOOK THIS STORY

CHEAT SHEET
WHERE

On the southeastern side of Japan’s main island, Honshu, with the North Pacific just to the east and Korea about 600 miles to the west.

WHY GO

Of all the world’s metropolises, Tokyo just might be the biggest and the brightest. The dizzying colors of Shibuya make Times Square look downright quaint, and the roiling seas of humanity are a sight to behold. Beneath the glimmering surfaces are worlds upon worlds — in food, fashion, art, culture, and pretty much anything you can imagine, plus plenty you likely can’t.

HOW

From abroad, you’ll likely be flying into Narita, Tokyo’s major international airport, though Haneda International, in the city proper, generally makes for a quicker trip to your hotel. Inside Japan, there’s an outstanding rail network, whether traveling to the far reaches of the country or between points in Tokyo.

TABLET TIP

Make time to enjoy the more traditional, slow-paced pleasures that exist within the seemingly ultra-modern urban landscape; you’ll find Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines of all sizes tucked beneath sky-scraping office buildings. And whether exploring the new or the old, bring maps or load them onto your phone, as most streets don’t have names.


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