Sometimes it is a joy to return to a much-loved hotel and see it afresh. This happened to the gal a few days ago, at the luxury Park Hyatt Tokyo, the hotel that for a long time was linked to the Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson movie ‘Lost In Translation‘. Now it is just associated with desirable lifestyle, experience and feeling good. It is a home-away-from home for many who only want discretion, but other names are happy to be seen here. Jude Law comes with his kids, Karl Lagerfeld leaves his cat, Chouette, behind, but presumably talks about her. Peripatetic pundit Tyler Brûlé, who seems to travel as much as the gal, writes about the hotel from time to time in his totally egocentric column in Saturday’s Financial Times. The head of Dentsu’s $1.5 billion-a-year iProspect digital media business, Ben Wood, pops up to the 52nd floor bar for a nightcap.
Actually I was seeing the hotel’s 52nd floor New York Grill for the first time in daylight. I love this restaurant, with its different seating areas. By day the view, as seen above, is simply stunning. By day or night walk in direct, or divert, as we did, to go past the open kitchen. We sat in one of the booths, and immediately got up to head around the tasteful antipasti buffet, displayed on what becomes, at night, a raised communal table. Interestingly, at lunch, this becomes a Yummy Mummy hang-out. Considering that the average birth rate in Japan is a meagre 1.4, and two is required to sustain a population, there are not so many babies born, and it seems a good percentage of them, all good as gold, were being carried round, in forward-facing pouches.
The two Frenchmen with me went for mostly-seafood, platters of delicious protein, white and pink and salmon colours – it is always so fascinating to see what people choose from buffets. After the antipasti, your choice of main comes: two of us chose the Kobe, every mouthful a succulent eulogy. Then you could, if you wanted, go back to the buffet for desserts (I loved the array of home-made sauces). This is where, not long ago, a New York Times TasteMasters event was held, with Yuko Hasegawa, Hiroyuki Sasaki and Jonathan Soble discussing what defines Japanese lifestyle and taste: see the video below.
Everything is so neat in Japan. I am reading about a book by Marie Kondo, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying. Kondo-san says clutter cancels our ability to connect with ourselves, too much stuff is an indicator of an inner compass whirling blindly in a mall of spiritual disconnection – so keep only those items that spark joy (my immediate reaction is thank goodness I have all my travelling stuff in one little Porsche Design Rimowa wheelie). Actually, it is time that it, and I, move on. I am farewelled by the two Frenchman, Hervé Mazella, moving here as GM of this super-luxury hotel, and his predecessor, Philippe Roux-Dessarps, who started this very Monday, March 7th, 2016, as Chicago-based brand leader for Park Hyatts worldwide.