If we could award a sixth star to a hotel, Hoshinoya would likely receive it. The most unique luxury spot in Tokyo, this hotel takes the peaceful simplicity of the Japanese ryokan and gives it a high-end makeover. From the moment you arrive, you feel like you’re entering a different world. You take off your shoes, put on your kimono, and enjoy all the entertainment, dining, drinking, and pampering the hotel has in store for you.
Traditionally styled rooms have tatami floors, shoji screens, and wood slat front doors (there are real doors behind them, but it’s a nice touch). The beds are comfy futons set upon low-to-the-ground wood daises. You’ll find a TV hidden in the room’s mirror – but the point of coming here is to unplug. All rooms come with kimonos that you are encouraged to wear throughout the entire hotel during your stay.
Before going to bed, join in with the hotel for their deep breath exercise routine for good sleep. When you wake up, the hotel also offers an exercise class for starting up your senses. Both of these offerings are complimentary.
Beautifully designed bathrooms have black tile and large soaking tubs with separate showers. Lirio bath products are standard.
Each floor has a dedicated Ochanoma lounge. Here you’ll find all-day snacks, coffee, tea, rice balls, and other treats. The lounge is used for guests to curl up with a book, mingle, or just relax. There are even origami books and paper so you can practice some crafting.
When you enter the hotel, hosts will take your shoes for you and escort you to the second floor. There, you’ll find the reception area, lounge, and hotel shop. It’s also home to a tatami stage where you can experience traditional Japanese entertainment on a nightly basis.
The hot spring inside the hotel is one to remember. Water is pumped up from natural springs 1,500 meters below the hotel. The all-natural heated baths have a partition that allows you to be both inside and out. The outdoor area is surrounded by a giant column with the open sky bringing in cool breezes. It’s breathtaking. Inside the spa, the hotel also provides massage services that are other-worldly.
If you're unsure of Japanese bathing etiquette, the hotel provides a helpful guide to get you more comfortable.
Descending into the basement of the hotel, you’ll find the dinner-only restaurant inside a dark and peaceful setting. The absolute genius chef combines French and Japanese cuisine into unique and innovative meals you won’t find anywhere else. The lick-worthy plates are for hotel guests only and the focus is almost entirely fish-based.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Since the restaurant is dinner only, you might wonder whether other meals are available – don’t worry they are. Traditional breakfast is brought to the room upon your request and you can get Japanese or Western style. If you want to order food at other times, there’s a 24-hour room service menu with savory dishes like curry and udon.
There’s no bar but from 5-7 pm every night there is a free sake tasting – and they don’t skimp.
The hotel is in a safe and quiet part of the city and is nearby great restaurants, bars, shopping, and attractions. There is a subway station just outside the hotel so it’s easy to get around by train as well.
For another incredibly unique dining experience, check out the Mandarin Oriental’s Tapas Molecular Bar (12-minute walk). This one Michelin star joint has some of the most innovative cuisine you’ll ever try. If you’re craving more traditional Japanese cuisine, head over to the Shangri-La Hotel’s Nadaman (11-minute walk) where you’ll get strips of wagyu steak and sushi.
Just across the street is the Aman Hotel and inside is the Lounge by Aman (3-minute walk) with tasty craft cocktails served with all Japanese ingredients. If you’re a whiskey lover, don’t miss out on the Oak Bar (10-minute walk) inside the Tokyo Station Hotel.
WHY WE LIKE IT
There’s really nothing like Hoshinoya in Tokyo. Sure you can find ryokans, but they’re often dingy and old and small. You can also find high-end luxury, but they’re often missing charm and authenticity. Hoshinoya combines the classic ryokan with the five-star hotel in ways that are enlightening and simply wonderful. While there’s no gym or pool (there’s a fitness center next door you can pay to get access to), the hotel gives guests every reason to stick around and be at peace in its all-encompassing surroundings.