Room Key: Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo
Address: Tokyo Midtown, 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Reservations: (800) 241-3333
Rates: Start at about $526
Review: This 250-room property, which opened this year, occupies the top nine floors of the tallest building in Tokyo. It also has the most expensive presidential suite in all of Japan, priced at $20,000 per night. Standard guest rooms are amply sized, with stunning views and huge bathrooms. The large spa and fitness center is attractive and well equipped. The hotel lobby's high ceiling and striking decor enhance the city views just outside the window. Its four on-site locations for dining and drinking make great meeting places.
Tokyo has long been known as a business
destination. But if the city government has its way, leisure
travelers will increasingly consider it a vacation hot spot.
metropolitan government is trying to increase the number of foreign
visitors," said Yuko Homma of the tourist promotion department at
the Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau.
In 2006, the Tokyo
CVB traveled to New York, Chicago, Sydney and Melbourne, Australia,
to produce events to encourage more visits, and they are
considering a similar effort this year.
"That has helped
people to know what Tokyo has to offer," Homma said. "But Tokyo is
still not as popular with leisure travelers as other
According to the
Japan National Tourist Organization, more than 7.3 million foreign
visitors arrived in Japan in 2006, a 9% increase over the year
before; about 4.9 million were tourists, a 14% increase over 2005.
The number of tourists from the U.S. increased 1.9% to
The city also hope
for a boost in awareness from its bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic
Olympic Committee will choose a host city in 2009. If Tokyo gets
the Games, the city would build a 100,000-seat stadium, the largest
in the nation, as a centerpiece for the event.
It's not as expensive as you think
Homma said that the
perception that Tokyo is a pricey destination is
"Traveling in Tokyo
is not expensive," Homma said. "There are luxury places, top
hotels and restaurants, but we also have economy
Plus, with the U.S.
dollar strong against the Japanese yen, this city is more
affordable than in past years, bringing even luxury travel into a
more affordable price range for travelers from the U.S.
Tokyo may have lots
to offer in a variety of price categories, but the developments
making the biggest splash right now are in the luxury market. The
city is in the midst of a growth spurt that has resulted in several
new retail, hotel and cultural complexes.
district, once known primarily for its nightlife, is home to the
city's biggest new development, Tokyo Midtown, which opened this
year. The 25-acre commercial and residential complex, set on what
was once the home of the Japanese Defense Agency, now boasts the
city's tallest building, the Midtown Tower; three art galleries,
including the Suntory Museum of Art; and the Galleria, a mall where
visitors stroll on hardwood floors and shop for the latest fashions
from Restir, J. Lindeberg and Arnys Paris.
A quick walk from
Tokyo Midtown is the new National Art Center, which opened in March
and exhibits a variety of international contemporary and modern
Tokyo Midtown is
also home to the city's newest and tallest luxury hotel, the
250-room Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo (see Room Key). The 314-room
Peninsula Tokyo will open this September in the Marunouchi business
district, and the 204-room Shangri-La Tokyo will open in March
New tour options
luxury travel market is Bespoke Tokyo, a new tour operator that
limits its customized tours to groups of three or less.
luxury safari costs just over $2,000 a day and includes a welcome
package of literature, a hybrid car with driver, lunch and a
memento of the day. The company's services are also available
without frills at an hourly rate.
Japan Travel has added tour programs, including a tea ceremony, a
flower arranging class and an incense ceremony.
Even traveling to
and from Tokyo has gotten a bit more luxurious, thanks partly to
ongoing upgrades at Narita Airport. American Airlines has relocated
to Narita's Terminal 2 this year, allowing for quicker connection
times between American and airlines in the Oneworld
With the move,
American also unveiled a spacious, 13,300-square-foot Admirals Club
The new lounge has
two business centers, free wireless Internet access, shower
facilities and a large dining area.
American has also
redesigned its first- and business-class menus to offer improved
Japanese-Western fusion cuisine on its Tokyo flights.
information about Tokyo, call the Japan National Tourist
Organization in New York at (212) 757-5640, visit www .jnto.go.jp
or visit the Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau at www.tcvb.or.jp.
contact reporter Mark Chesnut, send e-mail [email protected].