Luxury Hotels

Japan’s sword-making, Vienna’s latest luxury hotel development – hot news!

The gal has a pair of steak knives from the New York Grill at Park Hyatt Tokyo. The hotel’s so-stylish GM Hervé Mazella explains they come from Seki, in Gifu Prefecture, known as Japan’s best sword-making area.  These knives looks exquisite, and they cut like swords, which is not surprising – each blade has been tempered 65 times, Damascene style and sharpened to hombazuke perfection.  In fact what is so impressive is that Japan’s Ryokan Collection suggests putting a visit to sword-making – see image above – into a Japan itinerary.

To see Iaido, the traditional art of swordsmanship, start at Kyoto station. Board a shinkansen bullet train for the one hour trip to Okayama, to transfer to Kifu No Sato by private car.  Visit Iaido master Trevor Jones and learn about Iaido, a martial art that originated in Japan. You will have a chance to learn the movements of drawing the sword. This is a great opportunity to see and experience samurai culture. It’s also the perfect place — Mimasaka is the birthplace of  swordsman Miyamoto Musashi.

This will be a memorable day. Lunch is at Mitakien, a teahouse located in the middle of a pretty forest glade. Enjoy delicious natural cuisine cooked with fresh local ingredients – a highlight main dish is sansai ryori,  made from wild plants that grow in the area. The last stop for today is the Ishitani Residence where used to be a temporary residence for upper class Samurai when they traveled to Edo (now Tokyo) for sankin kottai that every daimyo was required to spend every second year in Edo. If time permits, drop by the sake brewery which is only a few minutes’ walk away,


The just-announced forthcoming Mandarin Oriental, Vienna will be will be a conversion of a heritage building that originally served as the city’s commercial law court from 1912 to 2003. Mandarin Oriental, Vienna is located in a peaceful street in District One of Vienna within the Ringstrasse. It is in easy walking distance of the city’s major attractions, including St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Imperial Palace, Vienna State Opera and a wide range of restaurants and bars.

Conversion of the property is already underway, and restoration will preserve many of the building’s original design elements.  151 bedrooms will surround a central courtyard with restaurant, bar and outdoor garden. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental will be complemented by a pool and fitness centre. Residences at Mandarin Oriental will be located on the building’s top two floors, private access to the roof (several of the 17 apartments have outdoor terraces). Developers are real estate and wealth management specialists Brisen Group, and designers are London-based Gowith ddard Littlefair.