Arrival/Check-in: I took the airport limousine bus to the central station and took a taxi from there. I’ve learned this is the most comfortable and economical way from the airport to downtown Tokyo, as it’s a one-hourplus trip and traveling by taxi could cost more than $150. The cab driver didn’t speak English, but I had the name and address of the hotel written in Japanese and he found it without a hitch. (I made sure to carry the name with me wherever I went since the hotel is quite new and cab drivers might not recognize the name but they will sure know the address.) At the entrance, a female porter took my luggage while I was escorted to the lobby 38 stories above street level. (19/20)
Guest Quarters: Mandarin’s rooms are the largest in Tokyo and no detail was missed, or overlooked. My Mandarin Deluxe room had beautiful bamboo floors, a 45- inch flat-screen TV, and a chaise lounge beside the floorto- ceiling window so I could relax and admire the view of Mt. Fuji. The bathroom was a room-within-a-room that I would like in my own apartment. A sliding door closed it off from the room, and within was a walk-in shower (with three shower choices) and a stand-al one sunken bathtub. The spacious desk had all of the plugs and adaptors built in and hidden — convenient to use, yet unobtrusive. High-speed wireless Internet access was available.(15/15)
Services/Amenities: Finding a toothbrush at 10 p.m.,express dry-cleaning and assistance in locating an old friend living in Tokyo with only a last name and old address: The professional, English-speaking staff helped me with all three with amazing efficiency.
At the hotel’s nine restaurants and bars, I found a range of international food. (Make reservations as tables fill up quickly with guests and locals alike.) At the Mandarin Spa, I had my first-ever hot stone massage, and after the treatment was done I sipped a cup of tea in the glass-enclosed spa lounge — one of the best viewpoints in the city.
The Experience: The hotel, which opened about a year ago, is located 10 minutes walking distance from Tokyo’s famous Ginza shopping district — an excellent location for business and for high-end shopping. A “Woods and Water” décor scheme brings natural elements into the guestrooms and public areas, creating a sense of refined tranquility throughout the hotel. A peaceful environment combined with a staff that aims to please in every way make this a calming paradise in one of the world’s busiest cities.
Total Score: 96/100
MANDARIN ORIENTAL TOKYO
2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi
Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-8328
tel 81 3 3270 8800
Awareness about fair and sustainable travel continues to grow around the globe, with travelers everywhere considering a destination’s eco-friendly options before visiting. As public consciousness for this important aspect of tourism strengthens, tourists also look beyond just ecotourism and delve deeper into types of travel that allow them to respect the local culture, interact with locals and distribute benefits fairly.
Without visiting, it’d be easy to throw Chicago into any number of categories. Everyone thinks they know Chicago; after all, it’s the third-largest city in America, the most prestigious foodie city in the country, the city of jazz, a comedian’s playground, an architect’s dream, a writer’s paradise. The list goes on. Only when walking the streets themselves do you realize there’s nothing categorical about the Windy City, especially as it continues to evolve.
PHOTO: © ADRIAN OLSTAD
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