As usual extensive research went into choosing our Tokyo hotel and all the reviews pointed towards Mandarin Oriental Tokyo in Nihonbashi as being the top choice for service and style, particularly the Forbes Five Star accolade. We arrived somewhat emotionally drained after the ring incident on the plane and exhausted after our twelve hour flight but as soon as we entered the lobby of that beautiful hotel, I knew we’d made the right decision.
The lobby itself is located on the 38th floor of the Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower, and includes the signature fan of the Mandarin Oriental brand. The sweeping views of the Japanese capital immediately hit us and I had to pinch myself that I was actually in one of my dream destinations as I looked out at the cityscape, and the Tokyo Skytree. Apparently on clear day you can even see Mount Fuji from the hotel. In terms of location, the hotel is very central, in the busy area of Nihonbashi near Toyko Station, Ginza for shopping and the Mitsukushi department store right next door.
Check in is done in the comfort of your room and we had booked into a spacious Mandarin Grand Room.
The room design was stunning with beautiful bamboo wood, hanging paper lanterns and elegant nature motifs; the room was totally modern but with an elegant Japanese aesthetic.
Best of all were the huge floor to ceiling windows with a view out that beautiful city…a constant reminder of where we were. We were even provided with a pair of binoculars to try and spy key sights in the city.
At the end of the bed were two beautiful black lacquer boxes containing a yukata or kimono in the finest fabric. I simply loved the harmonious blend of modernity and tradition which harks back to the history of Nihonbashi, an area synonymous with the kimono.
Twin black sinks, a soaking bath and a rain shower with Bottega Veneta bathroom products were fantastic bathroom amenities but best of all was the all-singing, all-dancing Japanese robot toilet! With a lid that opened and closed by itself, an automatic flush and a button playing bird music, it was a seriously luxurious loo.
I’m not going to lie, as excited as we were to be there we couldn’t wait to crawl into that bed and check out those 450 thread count sheets… I drifted off as soon as my head hit the pillow – speaking of which there’s a pillow menu with nine options – and we had a good solid four-hour nap. We were careful to set alarm though as we had a booking at one of the hotel’s best restaurants. Our dinner at Sushi SORA, was to be our first taste of authentic Japanese sushi and having slept through lunch, we were well and truly ready for it.
But before our feast was to commence we headed to the Oriental Lounge for a pre-dinner drink…
And a chance to watch the sunset over that beautiful view.
The wait was over and we headed to Sushi SORA, a tiny restaurant with only room for eight people at the sushi counter with three top sushi masters preparing the finest morsels. The counter itself is made from 350 year-old Japanese cypress and, as with rooms of the hotel, we were treated to a floor to ceiling view of the city.
We chose to eat from one of the set menus and I picked a glass of Japan wine for my tipple. Mr S’s choice of sake alerted us to the incredible attention to detail at this restaurant as he was then requested to choose which glass he wanted to drink it from.
Part of the reason that we’d chosen to go on this trip was to celebrate or two-year wedding anniversary and just before we left, Mr S presented me with a diamond necklace which I was excited to wear for the first time that night.
Back to the food; it was incredible to watch the precision with which everything was prepared. Master chef Yuji Imaizumi has several decades of experience and favours the Edo-mae style of sushi as it is the most authentic. He imports the freshest fish from the city and around Japan, regularly heading to the Tsukiji fish market to try the fish he’s buying.
I won’t show you everything we had but needless to say every single mouthful was sublime. The chef painted each piece of sushi with the exact right amount of soy sauce so we weren’t drowning in the salty condiment and ruining the fresh flavours of the fish.
Sushi SORA doesn’t have a Michelin star and is not one of the top ranked sushi restaurants in Tokyo, that accolade goes to Sushi Saito and Sukiyabashi Jiro, but Mr S and I agreed that it was the best meal of the holiday. Admittedly I don’t have a finely honed palate for Japanese food but I thought it was beyond excellent.
We found desserts in Japan generally pretty small and delicate and we ended on light and sweet note of this elegant matcha flavoured cake. The next few days of our stay at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo gave us a chance to fully explore the other areas of the hotel. The design of the hotel is inspired by nature and the four seasons with the motif of a living tree being the central theme, the 178 guest rooms with their elegant wooden interior are envisioned as branches of the tree. Throughout the rest of the hotel ‘wood and water’ are seen as elegant design elements.
Downstairs from the lobby and the Oriental lounge is the elegant Mandarin Bar which has a beautiful water wall and other elegant water features running through it. As you can see the design blends seamlessly from place to place, a hotel in perfect harmony.
We enjoyed innovative cocktails here one night while listening to the upbeat sounds of the live music.
You’re pretty much spoilt for choice for restaurants at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, for breakfast one morning we enjoyed the à la carte offering at Oriental Lounge or there’s an option of a beautifully prepared buffet at their restaurant K’shiki.
After breakfast the restaurant becomes an all-day dining option serving Italian cuisine. The hotel has two Michelin-starred restaurants; Signature which serves French food or there’s the option of trying Sense for Cantonese food. The 38th Floor Pizza bar or the Mediterranean menu Ventaglio are more casual options or there’s Tapas Molecular Bar for a bit of culinary creativity.
I didn’t get the chance to try any of these, but if Sushi SORA is anything to go by I imagine they also deliver top-notch cuisine. Hotel restaurants can be so bland and boring but Mandarin Oriental always seems to deliver as I found with Sur Mesure par Theirry Marx at Mandarin Oriental Paris and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in the London hotel.
As well as the restaurants, the ground floor boasts the gorgeous Gourmet Shop which sells the finest homemade cakes, chocolate and patisseries all beautifully presented.
Fortunately, you can work off all this incredible food in the hotel’s state-of-the-art gym which looks out over the city.
Or enjoy some relaxation in the hotel’s beautiful spa which offers both Western and Eastern inspired treatments.
The beautiful interior of this hotel aside, what really stood out for us was the service. The hotel meticulously booked our restaurants and tours and when we arrived we were presented with a full itinerary plus printed maps both in Japanese and English, the concierge gave us excellent guidance and housekeeping was thorough and timely, leaving a different sweet to try every night.
I absolutely loved Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, a perfect place of stillness and harmony in this energetic, high-octane city. Highly recommended.
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Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi