In Tokyo one of the scarcest commodities is a break from the sheer neon-lit urbanity of it all — which makes a hotel like the newly reconstructed Palace Hotel something special indeed. This is as close as you can get to actually staying on the verdant grounds of the Imperial Palace without being related to the Emperor himself, and this ground-up reimagining of the original Palace Hotel does its level best to deliver a hotel that’s worthy of its setting.
The architecture and design are as perfectly sober and calm as you’d expect from a high-end Japanese luxury hotel, and the modern-Japanese interiors feel perfectly weighted, carefully considered, expertly crafted. The most basic deluxe rooms are hardly basic at all, and the better ones quickly scale the heights, adding balconies, living rooms, and the like. And the views of the Palace grounds and the city benefit from the fact that they’re scaling literal heights as well, all the way on up to the Palace Suite, which may well cause the Emperor an occasional pang of envy.
A generous handful of restaurants and lounges makes up the balance of the Palace’s offerings, as well as the Evian spa, another reminder that Tokyo often does European better than Europe itself does. Tokyo’s luxury hotels also, incidentally, do service better than just about anyone else does — a stay at the Palace Hotel is likely to set a standard that you’ll find other luxury hotels unable to match.