Aman Tokyo, Japan: Ampersand’s inside view
Enter the slick and shiny realm of the Otemachi Tower in Tokyo’s Financial District and you may struggle to notice the low-key Aman Tokyo welcome desk on the ground floor. The ‘wow’ moment happens when you exit the elevator at the 33rd floor and are drawn into a place of pure drama: a breath-taking atrium lobby with sky-high ceilings, a central water feature with an ikebana-styled tree rising from it and miniature Japanese rock gardens at either side.
Designed by Kerry Hill Architects to resemble the inside of a shoji lantern, the lighting is soft and romantic with dappled shards of light streaming in. This vast lobby encompasses the whole floor with the bar, restaurant (called ‘The Restaurant by Aman’) and beautifully-stocked library all sinuously linked to one another along the lobby’s periphery. It is a superb spot for people-watching with unrivalled views over the Tokyo skyline, but it also contains plenty of intimate seating areas to relax and unwind. Creating such a soothing, warm and unthreatening ambience in this large and cavernous space is quite a feat yet, as always, the Aman aesthetic appears effortless. Afternoon Tea can be taken in the lobby lounge and it is quirky, chic and very popular – best to book several months in advance.
If treating yourself at the Aman Spa, the Couples' treatment room is terribly romantic with a freestanding bath tub in the room and lots of space. The gym is open 24 hours a day and you’ll be hard pushed to find a better equipped hotel gym – plus, with views like this working out is a pleasure! The swimming pool area is a serene sanctuary with a 30m-long black basalt pool and stunning views jutting off into infinity. There is now an Aman Café which has opened on the ground floor which will afford some open-air space to hotel guests.
Base category rooms (Deluxe Rooms) at the Aman Tokyo are huge and all are sunset-facing with views over Imperial Palace Park and Shinjuku. Note that other room categories can face the other direction so we recommend always requesting park views if you want to watch the sunset from bed! The bed is set on a raised level of the room so the views are spectacular out of the enormous floor-to-ceiling windows. On the lower level there is a daybed stretching the length of the window and a table for in-room dining. As with the lobby, the lighting in the rooms is spot on – easy to control, atmospheric but bright enough to read at night.
The next category up are the Premier Rooms; the difference is the size of the bathroom which is slightly larger with a bigger bathtub. The significant jump in category is to the Suites, which are the largest suites in Tokyo. Double the size of the Premier Rooms, the Suites are the same design and room layout, but with another room mirrored on the other side of the bathroom, which is designed as an open-plan living, kitchen and dining room. The idea is that people can use Suites as a temporary apartment for long stays.
One of the best things about the Aman Tokyo are the gadgets! In all rooms there is a flat-screen TV which rises up from the table at the end of the bed via remote control. Toilets are also high-tech with Japanese and English instructions for the gadgets; the toilet seat is heated (heaven!) and automatically opens when you enter the room, and there is a motion sensor flush function. Set next to the window (again, maximising those views), the black stone bathtubs are traditional Japanese style, so you sit up in it rather than lie back, and they comfortably fit two people. Bathrooms stretch the full length of the bedroom and are decked out with heated slate flooring and sliding washi-paper shoji screens which can be opened up so the bathroom is fully open-plan with the bedroom. In both the bathroom and the bedroom there are remote control operated blinds with two settings for a soft-light blind and a 100% black-out blind – this is not just extremely useful, it adds another dash of James Bond sexiness to the whole experience!
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