Suite Life: Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
The Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo is in a great location in Nihonbashi, eight minutes from Tokyo Station and a quick walk to the famous Mitsukoshi department store.
By Gary Allen | Published #69, Autumn 2017
Why stay here?
The Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo is in a great location in Nihonbashi, eight minutes from Tokyo Station and a quick walk to the famous Mitsukoshi department store. The lobby is on the 38th floor of a breathtaking high-rise building. The hotel has a contemporary and spacious design with floor-to-ceiling views of the city below, and stunning artwork and sculptures throughout.
The service at the Mandarin Oriental is exceptional. On our first day, one of the reception staff members actually walked us to the train station below the hotel and showed us how to purchase our train pass on the automated machine.
The 100-square-metre Mandarin Suites with city views feature the same contemporary designs throughout the master bedroom and living room. There’s a guest powder room as well as a walk-in rain shower and stand-alone tub in the master ensuite.
Rise and shine breakfast time
There are two restaurants open for breakfast. The elegant Oriental Lounge has a lovely set breakfast menu and is a quiet option, good for enjoying the morning paper along with the stunning view. If you have the appetite of a shogun, head to K’Shiki for the buffet breakfast where you will be spoiled for choice, whether you’re in the mood for traditional Japanese, European or American-style dining. The sautéed mushrooms and thin crispy bacon were addictive, and the congee was some of the best I have ever had. There is also an à la carte menu. By day two we were welcomed by name and staff had remembered our coffee and tea preferences.
What’s for dinner?
With 12 dining options it’s hard to choose, but the intimate eight-person sushi bar at Sushi Sora (sora meaning sky in Japanese) was a deliciously unique experience. This is traditional edomae-style sushi, and there are no freezers, only the freshest seasonal fish is brought in each day. Located on the 38th floor, with stunning views of the Tokyo Skytree and a dining counter cut from a 350-year-old Japanese cypress, there are two chefs catering to just eight guests. This was definitely the finest sushi I have ever tasted, with the fatty tuna literally melting in my mouth. And if you enjoy sake, the sommelier will match your sushi courses with options from their extensive sake menu.
During our two weeks in Japan we enjoyed many onsen baths, but none as spectacular as those at the Mandarin Oriental. The spa offers numerous treatments, but we were happy to enjoy the soaking pools, amethyst crystal steam room, and the sky-view sauna – with the most amazing view of any sauna I have experienced. Don’t forget to check out the fitness room where you’ll find more views to die for as well as delicious healthy house-made granola bars and fresh green juice.
The wow factor here was the jaw-dropping views. I loved changing into the traditional Yukata (casual kimono) and making a beautiful cup of tea every afternoon when we came back from a full day of walking, then gazing out of the window toward Mount Fuji as the day turned into night before heading out again.
I would like an upgrade
The best suite in the hotel is the Presidential Suite, which can accommodate two people in 250 square metres and features floor-to-ceiling windows, a spa bathroom with Jacuzzi, dining room for eight people, separate study, living room and pantry. Rates are available on request.
If you have time, try to see an opening ceremony at Mitsukoshi department store – a daily tradition. Also, make sure you try some of the delicious Kyoho mountain grapes available at the specialty produce shop downstairs. I’m still craving them months later.
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Weather to go
If you don’t mind rugging up, early February to mid-March is the perfect time to visit Japan – locals are back at work and school, luxury hotels offer their cheapest rates of the year, flights from Australia are at an annual low, shops and museums have re-opened and festivals are in full swing. Mid-May also tends to have a good combination of warmer temperatures in Tokyo (23˚C) and fewer tourists, and you’ll still catch cherry blossoms in northern Hokkaido at this time of year. Read our full Sweet Spot guide of the best times to visit Japan here.