Afternoon tea at Andaz Toranomon Hills Tokyo

Afternoon tea in the time of COVID-19

Travelife Magazine Publisher Christine Cunanan

The coronavirus pandemic has presented all kinds of challenges for luxury hotels. Those who have managed to stay open at all — or to reopen after a lockdown hiatus — have their work cut out. They must now grapple with the task of offering up the luxury experience in as safe and satisfactory a manner as possible.

Many hotels have become quite creative in this regard. Understandably, few relish the idea of disappointing their guests amidst COVID-19. At the Andaz Toranomon Hills in Tokyo, a top-class hotel under the lifestyle brand of the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, guests can avail of optional in-room afternoon tea and in-room cocktails.

This hotel is sleek and lovely, and it has stylish minimalist rooms. It’s created with a younger affluent traveler in mind. So it’s really the brighter and more hip sister of the elegant Park Hyatt hotels.


Considering the hotel only has a flagship restaurant for all day dining and a sushi bar on its rooftop, afternoon tea via room service sounded like a sensible and stress-free option. This is an incredibly popular hotel. So guests are constantly coming and going and the guest lounge which offers complimentary drinks is always full of happy campers.

Meanwhile, the main restaurant is busy all day long. So refreshments in the privacy of my suite, with a view of Tokyo Tower, was too good to pass up.


As it was the Halloween weekend, the Andaz chefs put a touch of quirky and scary into the trays that were wheeled into the suite. So even someone like me, who doesn’t think about October 31st much is suddenly observing this holiday even in a small way. Amidst COVID-19, this is actually a big deal. Anything harking back to normalcy and pre-pandemic days offers cause for celebration in this world turned upside down.

Afternoon tea at Andaz Toranomon Hills Tokyo

The artful afternoon feast began with shot glasses of foaming drinks in purple and green hues. This was a most appropriate start. Glasses clinked and liquids downed, we then proceeded to feast on tiny hamburgers with smiling eyes and chocolate pastries shaped like graves. As we did this, we recalled ghost stories from childhood. Between exchanging tales of the macabre, we paused every so often to look out at the wonderful views that our corner room at the Andaz Toranomon Hills Tokyo offered.


The pandemic was racing through much of the world like a wildfire taking no prisoners. Cities and countries were on lockdown. Life was far from normal for millions. And yet there we were ensconced in this spacious luxury with trays of goodies almost too beautiful to eat. Some of these grinning right back at us. This was far from normal too. In fact, everything about that afternoon was surreal, albeit in a most wonderful way.

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