It’s the Monday afternoon rush in Tokyo. When I step off the subway at Shiodome station, head down the escalator and into Tokyo Shiodome Building, and eventually make my way to Conrad Tokyo’s hushed lobby on the 28th floor, all of the hustle and bustle suddenly feels a world away.
More than one friendly staff member greets my teenagers and me in the expansive lobby, warmly lit by boxy pendant lamps, recessed ceiling lighting and panels under the check-in counters and on the opposite wall. We didn’t know it then, but since our room was an executive suite, we could have taken advantage of the dedicated check-in in the Executive Lounge on the 37th floor. No matter, as check-in here is smooth and speedy.
Conrad Tokyo occupies floors 28–37 of Tokyo Shiodome Building in Shimbashi, near the swanky Ginza neighborhood. The 291-room hotel overlooks Tokyo Bay and Royal Hamarikyu Gardens, which have their own teahouse where guests can partake in the traditional tea ceremony. The hotel is just a short walk from the upscale department stores and boutiques that line Chuo-dori.
Windows in the bedroom and living area of our 775-square-foot twin bay view suite look out onto the bay and the gardens, which we can peer on to or shut out at the touch of a button thanks to automatic blinds and curtains. A rollaway bed had thoughtfully already been set up next to the queen beds. The adjacent living space includes a sofa, loveseat and table, and a workspace by the window. Calming neutral tones are joined by warm honeyed woods; red and blue accents; and a thick, plush rug decorated with buds and intertwining branches of the Japanese plum tree.
The bathroom is imagined in traditional Japanese fashion, with a rain shower and freestanding tub together behind a glass door and a separate water closet behind a frosted door with a Toto Washlet toilet with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a Japanese model. Dual vessel sinks are topped by a large lighted circular mirror, and the bathroom is outfitted with BYREDO Mojave Ghost amenities, separated from the bedroom and dressing area by pocket doors. The wardrobe is, in fact, a room all its own (and I used it as my own personal dressing space), with ample hanging space and drawers on both sides, and pocket doors separating it from the bathroom and living room.
After settling in, I check out the Executive Lounge, available to those who book an executive room, deluxe suite or a royal suite. It’s quite a large space, with ample seating on both sides of the hallway, depending on if your penchant is a city or bay view. Open all day, the lounge offers a substantial complimentary breakfast, with a Western and Japanese hot and cold buffet joined by an à la carte menu with options like a lobster omelet and eggs benedict. Later in the day, guests can partake in afternoon tea with scones and finger sandwiches, followed by snacks and cocktails in the evening. The variety of dining and beverage choices, coupled with other niceties, like dedicated check-in and check-out and concierge services, make it a worthwhile upgrade from a regular room.
That evening we had reservations at Kazahana, one of four dining concepts at the hotel, which features traditional Japanese cuisine with a contemporary twist. The restaurant’s name means “flowers blown in the wind,” which are etched onto a mirror in the dining room. The space reflects the warm light in the lobby, though more dimly lit. Guests can choose their own experience: the main dining room, a sushi counter, a Teppanyaki section with two teppans and bench seating, or one of three private rooms with tatami mats.
We enjoyed one of the Kaiseki menus, which allow the chef to showcase the kitchen’s top-tier ingredients in dishes like steamed rice with sea urchin tempura; clear soup with grilled barracuda and mushrooms; a sashimi course with sea bream, squid and broiled octopus; glazed yellowtail; and Wagyu beef slices in thick soy sauce. For our last course, a kimono-clad server brings a pot to the table filled with steamed Japanese rice topped with pacific saury, scallions and black peppers, and instructs us to mix it up before enjoying it alongside miso soup and pickled vegetables.
Later that evening, I pop into TwentyEight Bar & Lounge. As in many craft cocktail bars in Tokyo, there is an almost reverential focus on technique, ingredients and presentation. I’m immediately drawn to the Campari riffs on the menu, like the playful Negroni for Party People, with Kinobi Gin, jasmine, clear Campari, rosé and a mirror ball garnish. I order Perfume on the Rock, which stirs Kinobi Gin with apricot and Campari, and what’s intriguingly described on the menu as “elements of perfume.” The Bar Wagon appears, and the drink is mixed right by my table by the window, where I’m again taking in those swoon-worthy views of Tokyo Bay, lit up after dark. After setting my Negroni variation in front of me, the bartender opens an oversized silk fan scented with perfume and begins waving it over my glass to impart the air with a heady aroma. It’s an unexpected surprise in a hotel where such attention to detail is de rigueur.
After a stressful pre-holiday season and a busy work schedule, there was no better time for a relaxing spa experience than during my recent trip to Pasadena with the FXExpress Publications, Inc. team. We headed to The Langham Huntington, Pasadena for the 20th anniversary of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards, which meant a jam-packed trip, but I managed to carve a little time out of our busy schedule to visit Chuan Spa at the hotel.
The Saronic or Argo Saronic Islands of Greece call travelers to explore its seven small islands and islets brimming with history, natural sites and more. With most easily accessible by boat, the islands’ proximity to ports of Athens make the Saronic Islands an ideal destination for those preferring shorter boat rides. In fact, trips from Athens ports to the islands take only between 10 minutes and two hours, depending on the island you choose, making them perfect for day or weekend trips. From Piraeus port, you can access Hydra, Spetses, Aegina and Poros directly. Come explore these stunning islands with us and find the inspiration to plan your next trip to these islands. Hydra Hydra town curves around a slope overlooking the Argosaronic Gulf like an amphitheater and is considered one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. Most unique to the island is its lack of vehicles. People on the island get around on mules and donkeys as well as water taxis, making for a peaceful and laid-back day. Hydra lies a two-hour ferry ride from Piraeus port in Athens.
You know what you’re going to get at an Aman hotel, and also you don’t. Expect peerless service, obsessive attention to detail, architectural elegance worthy of a fashion magazine, a holistic approach to wellness and astounding levels of comfort. But each property is also intimately connected to its setting, and that’s where the surprises lie. For instance, finding yourself on your knees on a sidewalk in Luang Prabang handing out sticky rice to Buddhist monks at 5:30 a.m. isn’t something we expected.
Reconnecting the World: GBTA Convention 2023 Spotlights the Vital Role of Business Travel and In-Person Connection
In an increasingly digital and interconnected world, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention remains an indispensable platform for business travel industry professionals seeking to make the most of the power of face-to-face connections. Taking place August 13–15 in Dallas, the 2023 GBTA Convention provides the unique opportunity for professionals and companies to join visionaries, thought leaders and industry experts for meaningful networking, cutting-edge insights and inspiring innovation.
Copa Airlines unveiled its newest route to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, offering passengers a seamless way to travel nonstop between the North Carolina region and Panama City, Panama (PTY). The service, beginning June 21, will operate four times weekly.
Nashville’s once-modest skyline continues to evolve as its luxury market grows. Lavish hotel properties are added to the landscape while acclaimed chefs stake claim in the robust culinary scene and premier cultural offerings round out the city’s repertoire.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Muscat, Oman, with us.