Library at Park Hyatt Tokyo

A room full of cookbooks

Travelife Magazine Publisher Christine Cunanan

There are some hotels you check into and you just know you will not willingly leave. The Park Hyatt Tokyo, at the top of a beautiful building designed by famous architect Kenzo Tange, is one of these.

The hotel is impeccably designed so the interiors have remained the same since it opened its doors over 20 years ago. It has a soothing feeling, a tranquility about it. A storm can rage outside and yet within the walls of the hotel, you somehow know that you will always be safe. Even from the coronavirus pandemic.


The entrance of the Park Hyatt Tokyo has remained the same since it opened
The entrance of the Park Hyatt Tokyo has remained the same since it opened

At least this is how I felt, when I recently spent three days here. I entered the hotel and did not set foot back outside until it was the very last minute of my check-out. Interestingly, one of the things that kept me in place were the many books on the shelves of my suite. I stayed in the Diplomat Suite, which has a living room with a grand piano and a master bedroom.

The floor-to-ceiling shelves in the living room are filled with wonderful books about the most extraordinary destinations. Looking at the titles alone made me add 30 more places to my travel bucket list. Whoever curated the books of the Park Hyatt Tokyo — there are books everywhere and everything looks interesting — knew what they were doing.


Meanwhile, in the bedroom, you see more of the same floor-to-ceiling book shelves. However this time, the shelves hold cookbooks of the most exquisite kind. If you like cooking, or even if you just love food, you will want to go through each book here and understand how the world’s most delicious dishes are made.

Almost every book here spoke of an amazing meal somewhere. In fact, this little library in the Diplomat Suite master bedroom covers the gastronomic universe so efficiently that I was at a loss to think about what other dishes existed.


Where the movie “Lost in Translation” was filmed


Of course, the cookbooks of Escoffier hold court on one shelf, as these classics are required reading for anyone who wishes to manage a sauce pan well. Then there are collector’s item cookbooks featuring the cuisine of every other country I could think of that had a food culture — from Mexico and Cuba to Poland, and even Lebanon. Along with books by celebrity Japanese chefs like Nobu and Mikuni.

For foodies, this is the very best kind of armchair travel. I just wanted to choose a dozen cookbooks and to browse through these in bed. I never realized that cookbooks had such a calming effect, so what a smart move it has been for the Park Hyatt Tokyo to place so many on a bookshelf in the bedroom of a spacious suite.


The other side effect of this design is that it makes guests incredibly hungry for very good food. Again, a smart move on the part of the hotel management. I ended up with hunger pangs after leafing through several books, and room service was practically on speed dial for me until midnight. And may I just say, the hotel has an excellent Japanese-style curry for sudden cravings.

Not many hotels will think of placing a wall of cookbooks in a guest room. But then, the Park Hyatt Tokyo is not just any hotel. And neither are its guests any but the most discerning kind.

Read more about the best hotels in Japan in Travelife Magazine.