1-23-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Andaz Tokyo was one of the city's most hotly anticipated hotel arrivals, and when it opened in the summer of 2014 the general feeling was wow. The 164-room and 8-suite property, which occupies the top five floors of the new Mori development, Toranomon Hills, reset the benchmark for Hyatt's boutique designer brand globally.
Designed by Tony Chi and Shinichiro Ogata (who did event spaces, the fitness center and pool as well as the rooftop areas), Andaz Tokyo is poised to outclass even its sister property across town, the legendary Tokyo Park Hyatt, and is already giving the city's other high-end properties a run for their money.
Rooms, which average about 50sqm, have a sophisticated Japanese-inspired luxury to them, with very nice modern touches as well, like Bluetooth detachable Bose mini-speaker systems and a single switch room control device (master switch, curtains, etc.). These are rooms where you can relax and take in the dramatic views, with a choice of elegant and comfortable seating (we especially loved the oversize sofa set right against the wide windows).
At Andaz, expect an alternative check-in experience. Your room keys are prepared while you sip a glass of wine or have a coffee in the guest-only lounge, where the hotel serves drinks and canapes every evening.
Tony Chi is one of the most in-demand hotel designers in the world, and we can understand why. These corridors (shown above) connect two sides of the building and cleverly hide other elevator shafts and mechanical structures in the heart of the building. This is just one of the many impactful design moments (and photo opps) that Tony imparted into the hotel. In our book, it's second only to his stunning work at Rosewood London.
This being a Hyatt brand, Andaz rooms feature simple, unadorned beds, with no silly throw pillows or bed sashes, and we can confirm that they are among the most comfortable in the hotel industry.
There are basically four view options: north toward the Imperial Palace, east towards Tokyo Bay, south towards Tokyo Tower or west towards Mount Fuji and the skyscrapers of Shinjuku. While most people, we are told, prefer the palace or Tokyo Tower views, we suggest the westerly view, which allows you really to admire the most of this fantastic city.
The hotel features one of the best fitness centers in town, with the latest model Technogym equipment (you can even watch Youtube clips while running or have simulated landscapes!), and if you forget to bring running shoes and gym clothes, no worries. The hotel rents them for a modest fee.
The crowning feature of the fitness facilities, however, is the pool area, an aquatic sanctuary perched high above the streets of Tokyo, with a 20m lap pool (that is kept fairly cold--good for serious swimmers) and a Roman bath-style complex of jacuzzis. The hotel's AO spa offers a wide selection of treatments and works with each guest to customize scents and programs (we hope to try next time!).
Dining options within the Andaz include the Tavern, a great spot for afternoon tea or a nightcap, and the Andaz-produced casual dining cafe, BeBu (combination of beers and burgers). BeBu offers a mixture of original char-grilled hamburgers, curries and salads, but the standout menu item is the seaweed-flavored shoestring fries (probably the best fries we've ever tasted!).
Andaz Tokyo is located in the heart of Toranomon (which mean "Tiger's Gate" in Japanese), an area more known for office buildings and salarymen. But if the city of Tokyo and Mori developers have anything to say in the matter, in five years' time, Toranomon will be the spot in Tokyo. For now, you don't have much in the way of neighborhood attractions, but you are within easy reach to just about anywhere in the city, and you can walk to Akasaka and Shimbashi, which have lots to offer.
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