Park Hyatt Tokyo
Occupying the top 14 floors of Shinjuku Park Tower, Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel is an elegant oasis of space and calm overlooking Tokyo and the Kanto Plain, all the way to - on a clear day - Mount Fuji. Located in the Shinjuku district, the hotel has easy access to downtown.
There are 177 luxury rooms and suites incorporating a contemporary private residence concept, coupled with sleek amenities and spectacular views of the bight lights of Tokyo at night.
Dining and entertainment options include the sophisticated New York Grill & Bar, the Japanese Kozue restaurant and the French brasserie Girandole. For enhanced wellbeing, the Spa offers the ultimate in wellness and spa treatments and the huge pool with yet more views out over the city is - in our humble opinion - one of the best in the world.
Why We Love It
The hotel played a starring role alongside Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in the fantastic movie Lost in Translation.
Hoshinoya Kyoto ryokan (traditional inn) is located on the banks of the Ooigawa river in the scenic Arashiyama area on the outskirts of the fascinating city of Kyoto. Devoid of high rise buildings and with its beautiful Togetsukyo Bridge and Tenryuji Temple, this area of Kyoto is a real taste of the old capital.
The Hoshinoya brand was already famous within Japan for its traditional yet modern inn located in the mountains of Karuizawa near Nagano, but the renovated 100 year-old hostelry in Kyoto is another step up entirely. In keeping with Japanese traditions of hospitality and stemming from a desire to create a peaceful and luxurious retreat, each of the Japanese style rooms enjoys views of the river and the near-rural surroundings and is comfortably appointed with modern fittings in a traditional setting of hand-block wallpaper and sliding doors.
The ryokan has its own gardens as well as a library lounge stocked with books about Kyoto from where guests can enjoy further views over the river and surrounding mountains. The English speaking staff are happy to advise on what to see in town and the cuisine, both Japanese and western, is of the highest quality.
Why We Love It
The ryokan offers the best of world - it's still within easy reach of the city centre but overlooks genuine countryside where you might catch a glimpse of monkeys and deer.
Iwaso Ryokan (whose doors first opened in 1830) is situated in Momijidani Park and boasts the same craftsmanship and architecture of many of the islands historical shrines.
Just 38 Japanese-style rooms make up the hotel and are located in different buildings, with the Honkan the oldest, most elegant and traditional building followed by the more modern Shinkan. The hotel also has one-storied wooden cottages that adopt tradtitional Japanese architecture.
Guests can enjoy dining on traditional Kyoto-style meals in private, including delicious kaiseki dinners. The chef uses only seasonal ingredients, sourced from the sea (think oyster and Conger eel) and the mountains, to ensure the highest quality of cuisine.
The hotels trump card has to be the Hot Springs where the open-air bath faces the national park. Enjoy bathing in mineral waters as deer stroll along the paths outside and the sound of trickling streams fill the air.
As the hotel sits inside a national park there's an abundance of nature walks to be embarked up on, alternatively the Itsukushima Shrine (a world cultural UNESCO heritage site) is only a three minutes' walk away and the Miyajima port sits close by too.
Why We Love It
Anybody who's anybody has stayed here, including some of the Japanese imperial family.
Palace Hotel Tokyo
The Palace Hotel, so named because it overlooks the Imperial Palace gardens, was completely re-built for its 2012 grand opening.
The bedrooms are some of the largest of any Tokyo hotel and beautifully designed, with many enjoying fantastic views of the Imperial Palace gardens themselves. All the rooms feature quality Japanese linen, spacious bathrooms, and the latest hi-tech sound and TV systems.
The hotel's restaurants offer fine dining experiences which will no doubt be rewarded Michelin status in time - choose between a number of Japanese style restaurants including Sushi, Tempura and Teppanyaki as well as French and Chinese cuisine.
Facilities include an Alpine-inspired Evian spa and swimming pool (charges apply) and, of course, Tokyo's best jogging offer - the Imperial Palace circuit - is on your doorstep.
The Ginza district, a short walk away and the hotel is directly connected to Otemachi subway station for easy access to all of Tokyo. All in all this is a fantastic base for a stay in Japan's exciting capital city.
Why We Love It
The dilemma when staying in Japan can be choosing which district to base yourself in. Thanks to its unbeatable location, the Palace Hotel is perfectly placed to explore them all.
Gora Kadan is a luxurious ryokan (traditional inn) located in the grounds of a former Imperial residence in the beautiful Hakone region south of Tokyo.
A Relais & Chateaux property, Gora Kadan has traditional ryokan rooms with elegant tatami mats, rice paper screen walls and futons.
The restaurant is found in the oldest building in the complex and as is usually the case, the ryokan prides itself on its kaiseki, haute cuisine Japanese multi-course dinners.
Gora Kadan benefits from volcanically heated springs so offers one of the finest onsen (hot spring) in Hakone region, where guests can lounge in the perfectly heated water; ideal after tackling one of the many trekking trails in the Mount Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. In addition there is also a swimming pool.
Why We Love It
Because this is the best place to stay in the Mount Fuji/Hakone region, and to experience that most Japanese of experience - a soak in an onsen hot spring.
The super chic Aman brand makes its debut in one of the world's global cities with the opening of Aman Tokyo. Occupying the top six floors of the recently-built Otemachi Tower this five star urban sanctuary sits high above the buzzing metropolis with predictably fantastic views.
The design is archetypal Aman - minimalist, sleek and totally chic. The décor is a mix of modern fabrics and influences from traditional Japanese residential structures, using materials such as Washi paper, exposed stonework and timber. The 84 guest rooms are by all accounts larger than those in other luxury hotels in Tokyo and promise to impress with open plan designs, deep Japanese soaking baths and sensational vistas.
With more Michelin stars than any other city, the rumours are true - Tokyo is a foodie paradise, and the Restaurant by Aman isn't a bad place to put this to the test. Located on the 33rd floor the restaurant specialises in Mediterranean cuisine, Asian delicacies and Japanese classics such as mouth-watering sushi and super fresh sashimi. Wine connoisseurs will love the Aman's walk-in wine cellar which will stock 1,200 wines.
When not exploring this most special of cities guests will want to relax in the Aman Spa, a spot of almost zen-like calm with elegant treatment rooms, therapies using soothing aromatherapy oils, yoga, steam baths and a 30 metre swimming pool.
Why We Love It
Aman Venice aside, Aman Tokyo is Aman's first foray into city properties. Watch this space as the brand rolls out more.
Opened in February 2014, the Ritz-Carlton is a fantastic addition to Kyoto's luxury hotel scene. It's in a great location overlooking the Kamo River, and within walking distance of the downtown shops and restaurants of Kawaramachi, as well as the Gion and Pontocho geisha districts.
The 134 guest rooms are elegantly decorated and include the Ritz-Carlton's signature 600 thread count bed linen. Amenities include large flatscreen TVs, Blu-ray disc players, Nespresso coffee machine and spacious bathrooms with a walk-in rain shower, separate bathtub and double wash basins with luxury toiletries. A Japanese aesthetic is ensured with bonsai and original Japanese art works decorating each room. Free wi-fi internet as well as wired internet is available in all rooms and throughout the hotel.
The hotel has a Japanese restaurant - Mizuki - where guests can indulge in multi-course Kaiseki dinners, and an Italian - La Locanda - which serves fine Italian cuisine with a contemporary cuisine, within a historic century-old dining room. There is also a Pierre Hermes Paris concession providing guests with the finest French macaroons, pastries and desserts. The health club includes a 20 metre indoor swimming pool, steam room, dry sauna, gym, relaxation room and seven spa treatment rooms.
Why We Love It
The excellent concierge service is available to assist with everything from advice on sightseeing, to restaurant reservations and getting inside access to some of Kyoto's hidden treasures.