As we get closer to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, avid travelers and sports fans will become more acquainted with the name Kengo Kuma. He is not an athlete, but his innovative approach to building materials and open spaces have made him a world champion in architecture. This summer, all eyes will be on the Kuma-designed New National Stadium, the site for the opening and closing ceremonies as well as key football and rugby matches.
With Kuma at the design helm, Capitol Tokyu Hotel Tokyo remains one of the hottest tickets among the city’s 5-star luxury hotel contenders. The city’s many gold medal-caliber properties run the gamut from Western-style opulence to crisp layouts integrating traditional and contemporary Japanese architectural tenets. However, there’s nothing quite like what Kuma accomplished with his concept for the Capitol Hotel Tokyu. It feels as timely and distinctive a setting as it did when it first opened after Kuma’s remarkable transformation of the structure.
The lobby and concierge area is spacious and uncharacteristically quiet for a property in Akasaka, a posh business and residential neighborhood. This is a credit to the astute staff having the check-in, check-out and customer service procedures down to a science. However, the ambience is calming by design, from sleek, unobtrusive furnishings to a dramatic work by Toko Shinoda, the leading Japanese artist working in the sumi ink medium, intended to connect the original structure’s past and present.
Kuma’s vision of creating an effortless aesthetic flow between indoor and out succeeds thanks to the efforts of landscape architect Shunsaku Miyagi and interior design firm Kanko Kikaku Sekkeisha. Although there have been upgrades throughout the decade, the flow between updates is just as seamless. Room partitions based on shoji screens feel like natural outgrowths of Kuma’s wood construction, allowing each guest the flexibility to have as much sunlight, privacy or city views as he or she desires. The view from the top-tier suite overlooks the National Diet Building and includes pleasant workspaces and executive entertaining sections. The rest of the suites are organized in a similar way, which echoes the aesthetics of the Hie Shrine, which the hotel also overlooks.
Aa delightful sense of continuity also flows through the restaurants, bars and meeting spaces, simply decorated yet sparkling with personality and natural beauty. Under the direction of Chef Minoru Tsuge, Suiren integrates formal and formal kaiseki (multicourse) presentations with tepanyaki and sushi presentations rooted in traditions, though anything but routine. Origami, overseen by Chef Naohito Nakamura, unites an all-day dining room, lobby lounge and pastry boutique into a light and vibrant dining concept that feels even more upscale than one would expect from a similar arrangement at a comparable hotel.
Kuma’s appreciation of natural light and exposure to landscapes and the sky really come to life within the hotel’s health club and spa facilities. The 14th-floor Jacuzzi room and swimming pool terrace are mind-blowing given the positioning of the windows — especially when windows are opened, weather permitting. As the hotel is steps from several subway lines connecting guests to key neighborhoods — including the stadium and other sites that will host different events around town during the Games —one can argue the city figuratively and literally is at one’s feet. However, the sky is also the limit in ways hotel guests may not have imagined.
The Capitol Hotel Tokyu
2 Chome-10-3 Nagatacho
Chiyoda City, Tokyo, 100-0014
tel 81 3 3503 0109
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
The Global Business Travel Association, the world’s largest business travel and meetings trade organization, recently released a statement from GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang regarding the Biden administration’s recent announcement that the U.S. travel ban will be relaxed in November for vaccinated travelers from 26 Schengen countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
The Rittenhouse has long stood out as one of Philadelphia’s finest hotels, centrally located in one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods. Needless to say, I knew I was in for an afternoon of luxurious pampering when I hopped in my car and headed down I-95 from my suburban home to the heart of the City of Brotherly Love. As I drove through the seemingly endless roadwork on the highway, I realized just how long it had been since I’d driven this once-familiar route into the city as a result of the pandemic. Of course I was eager for the relaxation and bliss that was in my future, but it was also a welcome feeling to head back into Philadelphia for a moment of normalcy.