Park Hyatt Tokyo may be last century (wow, it opened 1994, when it oozed pale bamboo colouring throughout). But it is oh so up to date. The gal loves the fact that there is fascination wherever you turn.
Enter door 4220. Are you in a room or a suite – what is the difference? This is all one rectangular area. Go in through the door and ahead of you is a wide, probably 12 feet wide, ceiling-high zigzag wood screen. Walk to your right, to a living area with views over Shinjuku (an outline map shows me which building is the NTT DOCOMO Yoyogi Building, and which is the Tokyo Tower).
Turn left, past windows with fixed wood grilles, and you come to the bed area, with the same zigzag wood screen behind the bedhead. Keep on and you are in the bathroom. Turn left, through the closet area, and you find yourself back at your door.
Whatever you call it, 4220 is delightful, thanks to designer John Morford and lots of capital expenditure by the building’s owner, Tokyo Gas. Today it has more depth of colour than before (think soft green, apricot, beige), and lots to study.
There are pictures set high above the window. Look up, to avoid getting a double chin. A built-in fitment in the living area has some open, some closed, areas.
The array of hardback books is serious reading, dictionaries and Japanese history and hardback classics – they cater for all tastes here, as the hotel’s BMWs are kitted out with iPads in black leather holders, and they can lend you E-Mobile routers that will make even your BlackBerry work in this insular environment that otherwise, no thanks to DOCOMO, renders foreign BlackBerrys useless in Japan.
Back to that built-in fitment. Open one closed door and it has a back-lit display of miniatures that are best at room temperature.
Open the minibar and you find the miniatures that need cooling, plus a line-up of 12-inch-high pyramid-shaped bottles holding hotel-made juices. You also, as you would guess, have a coffee maker, and a kettle, and both Japanese and western tea-sets.
As you would not assume, but you appreciate, there are discreet wood-boxed Kleenex tissues all around the entirety of 4220, including either side of the bed (which also has telephones either side) and the desk.
Ah telephones. These are easy-work ones, not the kind of instrument that requires a degree in tele-communications and by the time you have pressed the right button Warren in Omaha or wherever has long since rung off.
And light switches are easy to find and use. In bed you have ceiling-set pinpoints for easy reading of your Economist or Hello! as well as sensational inner-lit paper balloons for subtle background light.
Ah the bathroom. The gal manages the shower without freezing or boiling her scalp and/or flooding the entire bathroom floor (unlike some other Park Hyatts, this is a separate stall rather than an open wet-area). The Aesop soap bar is at least six inches long, big enough to lather a whole team (or does one say batch, bevy or goodness knows what?) of sumo wrestlers.
Staying here for a night I honestly found myself going round and round the area that was my temporary home. Entrance to living to bed to bath areas and on again, always in an anti-clockwise direction. What does it say about the psyche?
When I return, will I switch to clockwise, and what would happen if I were sharing the room with My Man? One could do a PhD in people movement studying the ergonomics of this room.
But Park Hyatt Tokyo is more than a mere personal space. Time to explore. First, the fitness. I head up to the 45th floor, for another winding walk past a Club reception (there are 700 outside members of whom 600 use the facilities ‘regularly’, though amazingly on both my visits I never saw more than half a dozen other living souls).
Take another elevator up to the 47th floor, to emerge into another glass-origami-topped dome. Here is the swimming pool, about 70 feet, four lanes wide and cleverly only accessed by walking through a shower corridor.
The pool is flanked, perhaps not so cleverly, by two gyms. Which one to choose? Old or young, male or female, triathlete or couch potato? No, actually one has treadmills and little else, the other has cross-country ellipticals, bikes and balls. Both have some of the best gym views in the world. Look out through tall all-wall windows over Shinjuku, fascinating through 24 hours.
Before this world traveller left, they opened up the gyms (24-hours, remember) at 0530, and a night manager dressed immaculately as if she were a bank manager ‘monitored’ me, walking round and round the pool – in a clockwise direction – until the gym staff came on duty at six o’clock. That is luxury travel style, gal.