The lobby of the Aman Tokyo is on the 33rd floor of the Otemachi Tower. This is a sleek new building in the financial district, just a block away from Tokyo Station. Its street-level entrance is as unobtrusive as you can possibly imagine. Hidden from immediate view, there’s just one table for initial formalities when you alight from your car, and then you’re whisked away to their version of a modern paradise at the top.
On my way up, I was of course anticipating a beautiful hotel typical of the Aman group. And perhaps more so in this case, as the bar to impress guests is certainly higher in Tokyo, the city with the most number of “Aman junkies” in the world.
“I was completely unprepared for the cavernous space of light, 30 meters high, that awaited me once the elevator doors opened. Talk about making first impressions count.”
Tokyo is also ground zero for design and technology pushed to the limit. So the pressure was definitely laid thick on Aman to come up with a Tokyo property that would dazzle. Moreover, it had to do so in a most subtle way — if this is even possible. After all, most of its jaded guests have already stayed in amazing hotels all over the world.
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THE LOBBY OF AMAN TOKYO
I was one of these jaded guests and these were my lofty expectations. However, surprise greeted me upon arrival. I’ve stayed everywhere wonderful, but I was completely unprepared for the cavernous space of light, 30 meters high, that awaited me once the elevator doors opened. This was the lobby. Talk about making first impressions count.
Quite unlike any other hotel lobby in Tokyo, this is literally the equivalent of eight floors of space and soft bright light that deliberately extends one’s vision all the way to the top.
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Then the designers covered the walls of about six of these floors in textured “washi” paper. They stretched these on a wooden shoji frame to resemble a traditional Japanese paper lantern. This gave the lobby an aura of unearthliness appropriate for a hotel so high up.
Meanwhile, at eye level, a calm pool of water lay at the center of attention. This was located somewhere between polished wood, rough grey stone, two Zen rock gardens and a mammoth arrangement of fragile ikebana-inspired greenery.
Then there were the views to take your breath away if you still had any left. I saw the breadth and width of the Tokyo skyline before me. This certainly made for a good combination of earth, sky, and, of course, luxury.
THE PERFECT FIT
Admittedly, this truly 21st century hotel is not for everyone. However minimalists and enthusiasts for Japanese design will immediately appreciate its aesthetics. It is stark, crisp and so seamless. Like a simple but perfectly cut little black designer dress.
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At least, this is how I felt, checking in one recent Sunday to happily call Aman Tokyo my home for four days. I was already sufficiently enamored at the outset. Nevertheless, this hotel grows on you and ends up fitting your lifestyle. By the end of my stay, I most definitely would have stayed four months or four years instead of four days — had my credit card allowed this.