Slowly but surely, Japan is opening up to international tourists. If, like us, you're already planning a trip to Tokyo, be sure to check out these boutique hotels that deliver a dose of beautiful design—from a mid-century modern haven housed in a former 1920s bank, to an urban ryokan perched high above the Tokyo skyline

Aman Tokyo

Occupying the top six floors of Otemachi Tower, Aman Tokyo is like a ryokan in the sky, offering the charm and authenticity of rural Japanese bathhouses while inviting the city's electric energy in through floor-to-ceiling windows. 

Even the experience of entering the lobby for the first time is difficult to capture in words or imagery. The expanse of the 30-metre ceiling, and the impressive yet delicate cherry blossom tree atop a water feature, are a well choreographed encounter that inspires that feeling of "I've arrived". 

The 84 guest rooms and suites celebrate Japanese tradition with the use of camphor wood, washi paper, and kakou gan granite, each with tranquil ensuite bathrooms that feature large furo soaking tubs overlooking views of Tokyo’s Otemachi district. 

See Also: Aman Group CEO Vladislav Doronin Builds on the Past to Create Hotels of the Future

The Capitol Hotel Tokyu

The Capitol Hotel Tokyu is located in the heart of Tokyo's rarefied political district Nagatacho—but despite its very official address, there's a surprising amount of fun to be found inside these hotel walls. Particularly when it comes to design. 

Imagined and executed by the incomparable Kengo Kuma, The Capitol Hotel Tokyu's design is a subtle but thoughtful ode to tradition.

Kuma-san's touch is felt from the moment you enter the hotel, with a sculptural glass staircase and his signature wooden lattice work that frames the high-ceiling lobby. Here, dramatic ikebana flower arrangements take centre stage, changing every month to reflect the theatre of Japan's changing seasons. 

The hotel has 251 spacious rooms, including 13 suites, which are beautifully designed with light wood accents, sliding screen doors and long rectangular lamps that emit a soft glow.  

It's not just the interiors we love here, though. A city stalwart, it's common to see salarymen and women dressed in kimono dashing through the lobby, en route to lunch, drinks or dinner at one of The Capitol Hotel Tokyu's bars and restaurants. It's a scene that throws you right into Tokyo's energetic pulse. 

Trunk Hotel

It's surprisingly difficult to find a hotel in Shibuya, making Trunk Hotel a welcome addition to Tokyo's youngest, most fashion-forward district. 

Comprising two adjacent buildings looming over a quiet street, its brutalist stone facade is softened by pockets of green plants and wood accents.

Inside, visitors get a glimpse of Tokyo's thriving creative scene from upcycled furniture by local brand Tokyo Cork Project, to rotating exhibitions and permanent artworks by the likes of Ido Yoshimoto and Maru Michinori.

Be sure to swing by Trunk Store, which is dedicated to stocking locally produced items including fashion, homewares, and artisanal food and drink products. 

Tatler Tip: Book the Terrace Suite (pictured above). This stunning 2200 square foot apartment comes with a 750 square foot private terrace, indoor and outdoor kitchens and roomy living spaces—giving you a real sense of place in one of the coolest cities in the world. 

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K5

With just 20 guest rooms, a booking at K5 in Tokyo is one of the most coveted in the city.  

Housed in a former bank from the 1920s, Stockholm-based architects Claesson Koivisto Rune have made the most of the building's original charm: Cascading textiles hang from soaring ceilings, and curious enclaves are transformed into intimate spaces. 

The interior design has a strong mid-century modern influence, with warm tonal woods and colourful, sculptural decor for a vibrant punch. Much of the furniture was custom built by local craftsmen, who've masterfully combined traditional Japanese techniques with Scandinavian flair. 

Every corner of K5 gently suggests enjoying the simple, seductive pleasures of all things analog—from the record player and vinyl collection found in every suite to the broody Ao, K5's lair-like bar soaked in red decor and lined floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall with the hotel's collection of books.   

The Tokyo Edition, Toranomon

The opening of The Tokyo Edition, Toranomon is something of a homecoming for Ian Schrager. The legendary hotelier has long been inspired by Japan—he even hosted Issey Miyake’s first ever US fashion show in the 1970s at his nightclub, Studio 54 (maybe you've heard of it). 

It goes without saying, everything Schrager touches turns to cool. 

The Tokyo Edition, Toranomon was designed by famed architect Kengo Kuma, whose signature ode-to-nature approach to design can be seen throughout the hotel. From the jungle-like lobby to the slatted wood wall features and gold leaf artworks.

The Blue Room restaurant, which is connected to the lobby, steals the show with royal blue velvet banquettes, double-height views across Tokyo and plenty of plants. 

In more private quarters, each of the 206 guest rooms feature light wood fittings with crisp white linens, and stunning skyline views. And if they're available, it's definitely worth booking one of the 15 exclusive suites that come with a private terrace. 

Hoshinoya Tokyo

Hoshinoya Tokyo is on many a design-loving traveller's hit list. Here's why. 

It begins with the entrance—an impressive wooden doorway carved from a single slab of aomori hiba (cypress wood), which leads to a tatami room style lobby. Above, each floor functions as a 6-room traditional ryokan, with private suites and a communal ochanoma lounge, where seasonal teas are served throughout the day. 

Of course, no ryokan is complete without an onsen. Perched on the top floor Hoshinoya Tokyo is two bath houses, separated by gender and fed by hot spring waters drawn from 1,500 meters below the ground.

Each bath hall contains an indoor bath and an outdoor bath, which is really something to behold. The outdoor baths are located at the bottom of a grandiose cave-like, open-roof chamber with soaring walls that frame the sky above.

 

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