In one of the world’s most populated cities, it shouldn’t come as a shock that even the local Four Seasons – said to be the grand dame of all hospitality groups – resembles a boutique hotel (albeit a luxurious one) more than it does an expansive five-star property. I suppose it can’t be helped, what with the Japanese capital seeing a great boom in compact living, from tiny one-room studio apartments to claustrophobia-inducing capsules hotels.
With just 57 rooms, including nine suites, to its name, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi is a far cry from the grand scale of most Four Seasons properties, and is possibly the smallest Four Seasons property on the globe. Still, I tend to favour boutique hotels for their intimacy, stylish design, and of all things, extraordinary service (a fact probably attributed to the higher staff-to-guest ratio) – and the Marunouchi branch checks all these boxes and beyond.
Conveniently located just minutes from the iconic Tokyo Station by foot, the hotel is tucked away within the glistening Pacific Century Place building, a shiny office and retail skyscraper that overlooks buzzy salaryman crowds as well as the famous white-nosed bullet trains below. Stepping inside from the chatter of the street, I’m first greeted by an amiable doorman as I take in the cosy reception lounge, decked out in abstract modern paintings, lush deep-pile carpets, and brocade sofas in an assortment of muted colours. The check-in process is smooth – as it should be in any lauded five-star hotel, let alone a Japanese one – despite my early arrival, and I’m soon led up to my room, a Deluxe King, in mere minutes.
It suffices to say that photos alone don’t do the room justice. Even the most basic of room types are sumptuously spacious at 44 square metres, furnished in a warm and modern style that is so quintessentially Japanese and homely: light woods panels, a rich carpet ornate with oriental motifs, wall-to-ceiling windows (triple-glazed for absolute sound-proofing), and plenty of seating. If your room is facing Tokyo Station, you’ll want to draw the curtains after dark for some privacy. Down duvets and non-allergenic foam pillow line the fine cotton bedding, with an oversized brown leather headboard extending up the wall to the ceiling.
The bathroom is luxuriously large, fully equipped with a high-tech loo that has more buttons than my washing machine, a rain shower, paisley-printed Etro toiletries, dimmable lights, and an ample-sized tub with a handheld shower. My suggestion: enjoy a deep soak – you’re in Japan, after all. Feel free to bring in the portable Bluetooth speaker inside if you need some background music, or want to do karaoke. Plus, a five-panel mirror outside makes dressing a breeze. Back in the room, you’ll find movie rental services on the 3DTV, which also comes with a built-in Blu-Ray player and surround sound system.
Dining & wining
When it comes to dining options, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi has one restaurant on the seventh floor: MOTIF, a gorgeous French-focused affair designed by André Fu, the architect behind major luxury hotels like The Upper House in Hong Kong and Singapore’s Fullerton Bay Hotel. Complete with beautiful hanging lamps and Art Deco-inspired bronze screens, the space is split into three sections with different specialities.
A scrumptious buffet breakfast (typically included in your room rate) is served at The Gastronomic Gallery, a casual dining area that offers an interactive culinary experience that also sees entrées and desserts for lunch. The Living Room serves as a bar area that dishes out casual lunch (think mouth-watering French snacks and a signature wagyu burger) and afternoon tea, along with an impressive selection of wines and hand-crafted cocktails. For dinner, look no further than The Social Salon for inspirational farm-to-table dining, courtesy of Head Chef Hiroyuki Asano and Culinary Advisor Chef Hiroshi Nakamichi.
If you’re intending to dine out at the many restaurants around during your stay, at least make it a point to sample the fantastic Western breakfast, perhaps the best hotel breakfast I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying thus far. Excellent omelettes, fresh bread (including some heavenly croissants), homemade yoghurts, a splendid charcuterie section, and more.
Facilities & location
For what the hotel lacks in a swimming pool, it makes up with an intimate 24-hour aromatic spa with chargeable massage services and a traditional onsen-style stone bath, as well as a fitness studio with both cardio and weight training machines. Outside the hotel, you’ll find Ginza – Tokyo’s most popular upmarket shopping, dining, and entertainment district – a mere 10-minute walk away. Similarly, the Imperial Palace grounds and the legendary Tsukiji Fish Market can be reached on foot or a short train ride. Most importantly, there’s nowhere better to stay if you want to be as close to Narita Airport as possible while still being in the city centre, with direct train and bus services offered at Tokyo Station.
For all its sophisticated luxury, convenient airport access, fantastic location, and stunning overhead views of Tokyo Station, I can’t recommend this hotel enough. As expected of the Four Seasons, this is one property that’s incredibly warm, cosy, and essentially comfortable to ease into.
Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi is located at 1-11-1 Pacific Century Place, Maruonouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-6277, p. +81 3-5222-7222. Rates start from 58,000 yen (USD$520) per night during low season.