Hotel Okura is the grand dame of Japanese hotels. Located in the heart of downtown Tokyo, it is easily recognized as one of the world’s best hotels. From US presidents, foreign dignitaries, and even the famous James Bond, this hotel has seen it all. It is still classified as a member of the Leading Hotels in the World! In fact, former President Obama recently used the hotel during his last visit here.
Its attraction is its design – which looks like a time capsule of the 1960’s complete with straight lines, hexagonal shapes, and geometrical pendant lamps. It has remained unchanged for literally decades. In fact, one could easily imagine the folks from the TV show Mad Men enjoying business meetings and stays here. There is even a whiskey bar (Bar Highlander) that serves drinks that can no longer be found elsewhere.
The Orchid Bar is also a must-visit. With classic drinks served and attention paid to every detail. For example, their peach bellinis are made from fresh peaches hand blended by the bartender. Nothing is spared. There is even a non-smoking section, though one can easily enjoy a cigar in the smoking area. It really feels like you have stepped back in time steeped in class and tradition.
The rooms themselves, while showing their true age, are well appointed. However, the service is impeccable. From a welcome note to the origami design, no detail is spared. The staff are always friendly, helpful with a smile on their faces. It has an easy access to nearby destinations, Tokyo Tower and the Imperial Palace to name a few. They also have a traditional tea service on site for those interested.
Sadly, the main wing was demolished in August 2015 and a new main wing is scheduled to re-open in 2019 just in time for the 2020 Olympics.
For those wanting to join the effort in saving the hotel, there is a design group called Monocle which is dedicated to saving the Okura from demolition.
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