On a visit to Tokyo soon after travel restrictions ended, we were keen to find out how the city had evolved. Where better than at The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon which, despite officially opening in late 2020, had until that moment been denied a real launch.

And while at the time of our stay there was still only a trickle of overseas visitors to Japan, at breakfast we found ourselves sat next to actor and musician Olly Alexander, in town for a music festival, testament to the fact that EDITION never fails to attract a discerning crowd.

The Marriot-owned brand shot to fame thanks to its association with legendary hotelier Ian Schrager and has maintained its allure across more than a dozen global outlets, with a sister EDITION opening in nearby Ginza this year (as well as others coming soon in Singapore, Rome, Doha and elsewhere).

This, their first in Japan, is a stunning property – designed by star Japanese architect Kengo Kuma – and set to be the centrepiece of the rapidly revamping Toranomon district (everywhere you look there are foundations being put in and cranes reaching for the sky).

Inside though it’s a haven (or perhaps an oasis), with elevators whisking you up from the sleek, black-marbled entrance hall to the 31st floor, two-storey lobby which positively overflows with greenery – it’s home to more than 500 plants, arranged by Schrager via Zoom during the pandemic – and affords stunning views across the city.

EDITION bill themselves as ‘hotels that don’t act like hotels’ and that’s certainly the case here – the lobby was buzzing both day and night and felt less like a place to check in, more somewhere you’d want to keep hanging out. It’s a real statement space, blending innovative design with natural materials (a Kuma trademark) including a ceiling bedecked with intricately arranged cedarwood slats. And it really gets going come evening, with diners at all-day spot The Blue Room mingling with lounge bar guests (we even spotted a few more festival headliners hanging out).

Beside the lobby is signature restaurant The Jade Room, which opened in October courtesy of Michelin-starred UK chef Tom Aikens. Blending Japanese and Western influences (although Aikens resists the word fusion) the restaurant offers a la carte as well as 4- and 6-course tasting menus, which change with the seasons. We enjoyed some unexpected – and very delicious – combinations like squid consommé with yuzu, chicken, and confit lemon, and fire roasted charred celeriac carpaccio with truffle, before adjourning to the outdoor Garden Terrace, to take in a stunning view of the Tokyo Tower.

You can, in fact, enjoy your own terrace in 15 of the 22 suites on offer (a rarity in the city), although our own standard guest room still had views for miles. Like the rest of the hotel, it struck the same tone of tranquil elegance, with neutral colours, plush bedding, Le Labo amenities and a delightful sense of air and space. And while you’re cocooned away from the world, thanks to the huge windows you never forget you’re anywhere but Tokyo, something that’s evidently been very consciously designed.

The pool, too, is flooded with natural light and even in the in-house spa you can see the city from the comfort of your massage bed (in one of the six treatment rooms), while you indulge in the treatments that exclusively incorporate products from both Japanese brand Bioprogramming and French organic skincare brand Absolution.

When we did finally tear ourselves away from the hotel proper, we didn’t get much further than the GOLD BAR on the ground level. The dimly-lit spot is inspired by the golden era of classic cocktails in pre-Prohibition America – and we absolutely loved it.

In the hands of experienced bar manager Sandra Petreikyte (who previously owned and ran Empire bar in Tokyo) and Director of Bars Hideyuki Saito (formerly of Electric House in London and Bangkok’s Vogue Lounge) it feels very much like a destination in its own right. Expect drinks that pack a punch, like the Picasso-inspired Revolutionist (a combination of rum, calvados, and vermouth with citrus and beets) or the Nippon Pale Ale, which mixes chardonnay from Nagano with a mix of pisco, grappa, pineapple, IPA and nutmeg.  

And while we were sorry when our stay at the hotel came to an end, that didn’t stop us returning to the bar the very next door to find out what live act – and which fresh concoction – they had in store.

It was certainly an interesting time to be in Japan, before the gates fully opened and the crowds came rushing back, but after an enforced and unfortunate hibernation the hotel has quickly established itself as the go-to destination – day and night – for the city’s sophisticated and fun-loving in-crowd.

Schrager himself may have recently announced that he will eventually be stepping back from his involvement with EDITION, but if our experience in Tokyo is anything to go by the brand is very well positioned for the future.


The Big Edition Picture

Posted by:Jonny Clark

One thought on “Hot Hotel: The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon

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