A traveller is spoilt for choice in Japan for upscale accommodations. The uncommon dedication to the art of service coupled with a cultural keenness for beauty in all its splendid forms have set Japanese hotels at the very pinnacle of the hospitality realm. Yet in this constellation of the brightest stars, one has managed to outshine the rest simply by reputation alone. It is not untrue that a lot of it may have something to do with a movie but it would be reckless to suggest that is the only reason why Park Hyatt Tokyo is still Japan's most famous hotel 16 years after its star turn in Lost in Translation.
Girandole serves breakfast with a dash of designer chic
Looming off the busy part of Shinjuku, there is an anticipation of home once you enter the nondescript building that houses the cherished address. You survey the cheeky sculpture that tempts you to steal near the entrance, the precocious poodle that watches over you in the lift, and the books harbouring myths and legends of the land in the sanctuary of your room, much like someone who has come home after a long stint away. Such aspects breed fondness for a space that seems very much alive.
Park Hyatt Tokyo's Presidential Suite
Another persuasion for fondness lies in the essence of Japan so meaningfully anchored into the foundation of this cherished institution. The aesthetics here convey both the timelessness and syncretism of Japanese forms - like how a bamboo grove can flourish at the concrete crown of a skyscraper, both reminding and reassuring one that he is staking out at a not too modern metropolis. The audacious, whimsical bits, like the jestering faces of the peering heads, the tsunami of expressions looming from countless photographic portraits and the sharp contrast of the green and black colour scheme, they don't necessary reflect a Japanese hotel. They pronounce a Japanese icon.
Tea at the Peak Lounge is a popular ritual for locals and tourists alike
And then there is the superlatively imperial service that manifests in the tiniest of details - how the shower heads are always turned to the side, the welcome videos that are so serenely pre-tuned, and how over the course of one's stay one is unlikely to run into any house-keeping staff, yet the room is always immaculately tidied. The staff I've known here are also marvelously kind, and grandly efficient, even for a Japanese team. They have done things for me I highly doubt my family would, nor could.
An elegant library leads to the lobby
So what does one look forward to in this cherished institution after an absence of 7 years?
A soak in the jacuzzi is in order if one can make it through the maze of lockers. The ritual of tea at the Peak Lounge, where there are scrumptious scones and sweeping views. I once lifted weights at the stunning gym 48 hours after fracturing 3 ribs in a skiing accident - says much about how stunning the gym is, and what an idiot I can be. And the pool on the same floor is gorgeous too so plunging in is highly recommended.
The spirited scene at New York Grill
A sitting at New York Grill is always the way to end a Park Hyatt Tokyo evening. There is something enigmatically spellbinding about the riotous bar inundated with smoke, the lonesome bar-counter seats in full view of the kitchen theatrics, and the breaking of bread with very good butter followed by fabulously grilled prime cuts. The night views here ain't bad too.
And then to sleep, perchance to dream, specifically of the lovely breakfast in bed that is just hours away.
In any case I wasn't being clear, my conviction on the matter certainly wasn't lost in translation.
Breakfast in bed sweetened by a slice of Japanese musk melon and a lovely sunrise