A one-night stopover in Tokyo requires the best. Coming into the sculpted lobby of the luxury Peninsula Tokyo hotel is like coming home: everyone seems to know the repeat guest, and goes out of their way to give a welcome that is truly personal (at breakfast in the lobby, which is the only breakfast venue, the gal is given a leather bound menu that has #marybreakfasts printed across the top). This place is full of surprises, but at the same time there are endless thoughtful dependables. In any one of the 314 bedrooms, digital signage is in your language, be it Arabic or Mandarin, or English. The leather-boxed office kit on top of the desk has everything – far too many kits omit just the item one needs – and the stapler is filled, and works. Suppliers also include a WiMAX 2+ portable WiFi, for taking around town.
The bellhops, who all seem to be young ladies, are in pristine outfits, and do not at all mind being photographed. The flowers are lovely. This time I ventured out of my gorgeous 20th floor suite – which offered a 270-degree view of the Imperial Palace – to go upstairs and down. Up in Peter restaurant, the entrance (see above) to the Yabu Pushelberg-designed catwalk of a restaurant is as fashionable as ever, and my dinner was the best yet. Unlike versions elsewhere around the world, here the tuna carpaccio with avocado is served as a slice of terrine, with sheets of seaweed for you to wrap each bite. Here, home made bread goes with oil, and also Bordier butter, with powdered seaweed for diners they know appreciate it. Here, the Kagawa A4 40-day olive-fed ribeye, available as 150g or 200g, is brought already sliced, so Laguiole knives are barely necessary. Of course we had a Peninsula wine with it, the company’s 2014 La Cruz Vineyard from Keller Estate in Petaluma CA.
The hotel is also going into its own-label spirits, says imaginative GM Sona Vodusek. I was actually fascinated by a new Japanese gin I saw when venturing down 33 steps from the main lobby to the basement arcade – here I looked in through large picture windows to see the hotel’s bakers and chocolate makers at work; I discovered the deli, to eat in or take items to go, and the super flower shop, source of the lobby displays. There is also a vitrine showing the year-old Suntory Roku gin, which is flavoured with six botanicals including cherry blossom and green tea. It is displayed against a kimono-like background.
Aha, having visited a laundry a few days ago at Raffles Dubai, would The Peninsula Tokyo let me see kimono care? I was given a tour of this luxury hotel’s inhouse laundry, for those impeccable bellhops’ outfits and all uniforms, plus guest items (sheets and so on are sent out). Luckily, they were servicing two exquisite kimonos, at $100 a time – they are carefully dry-cleaned, and then hung up for steam pressing – see a video below. So many experiences here, like once again having at breakfast the distinctive Ukkokay omelette that is really scrambled egg wrapped in an outer shell, and being offered not only today’s New York Times but also a copy of Monocle‘s excellent Forecast 2018. NOW SEE A VIDEO OF KIMONO CARE