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July 24, 2016

This is Where You Should Stay On Your Next Visit To Tokyo

A stay is definitely recommended at the Imperial Hotel, a 125-year-old institution of luxury and service

True story: one fine evening, a few decades ago, an elderly gentleman sat at the Old Imperial bar, asking to be surprised when questioned on his tipple of choice. In minutes, a miniature cocktail appeared, suffused with white rum and a luminous green that was further highlighted by the mint cherry sitting pretty at the bottom of the glass. This was no ordinary drink; it had, in fact, been crowned winner at a competition featuring around 200 alcohol-based inventions and been lovingly christened Tinkerbell by its creator. It so happens that the customer turned out to be Marc Davis, Disney legend, and designer and animator of the character Tinker Bell in Peter Pan. What followed was an impromptu sketch of this much-loved fairy, a drawing that is still proudly displayed by the bar staff in all its faded glory.

Stories abound at this historic hotel, par for the course given its pedigreed past that included playing host to varied dignitaries, film personalities and royalty from across the globe. Many traditions have still been kept alive, even as the demands of the modern era have been seamlessly adapted to. A charming chapel plays host to typical Japanese weddings while simultaneously making way for Christian services as well. The Toko-An rooms, a visitor’s delight, are where a traditional tea ceremony is performed daily with matcha and sweets. Thirteen restaurants offer varied cuisines, ranging from Michelin-starred French restaurant Les Saisons to Chinese and American eateries. The hotel’s delicatessen is a true testament to this amalgamation, where local candies, confectionaries and breads vie for attention with custom-made cakes and gourmet selections.

Minute attention to detail, that enviable Japanese art form, is discreetly predominant at the Imperial Hotel. The 931 guest rooms are equipped with light cotton kimonos (pyjamas are provided on request) as well as amenities like nail varnish, make-up remover and hair products.

Spa, sauna, salons, swimming areas and fitness centres meet exacting standards here; there’s even a soundproofed music room that is complimentary for two hours. One doesn’t need to actually step out other than to explore the city.

Like Japan, the Imperial Hotel is sure to overwhelm and engulf you — in the most gratifyingly memorable way possible.

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