A Tale of Two Four Seasons

Tokyo’s two Four Seasons impress with understated luxury and meticulous attention to detail By: Deanna Ting
At the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so, the Yu spa features a private plunge pool in one of its spa suites. // © 2010 Four Seasons Hotels &...
At the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so, the Yu spa features a private plunge pool in one of its spa suites. // © 2010 Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

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The Details

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi

Modern in Marunouchi

The main difference between the Marunouchi property and the Chinzan-so property is mostly aesthetic. The Marunouchi property occupies seven floors of a landmark 31-floor Tokyo skyscraper, the Pacific Century Palace. Its sleek, glass-encased design has garnered critical acclaim, and most rooms feature expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, accented by natural wood and stone accents. It’s also much smaller than the Chinzan-so property, with only 57 rooms in total, six of which are suites. Cool gray tones dominate its minimalist look and it has the look and feel of an intimate boutique hotel.

My 474-square-foot Superior King Room at the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi was spacious and, although minimal in its design, it offered more than enough amenities to keep me feeling completely taken care of, from a huge 42-inch flat-screen television to an expansive, Japanese-inspired bathroom, complete with a traditional-style deep-soaking tub. My favorite room feature, however, was the bed — one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in.   

The majority of guests who check into the Marunouchi property are business travelers and couples which makes perfect sense, given the hotel’s central location. Even so, I’d argue that it also makes a perfect home base for leisure travelers who wish to explore two of Tokyo’s most popular attractions: glittering Ginza and the nearby, must-see stop of Tsukiji Fish Market.

Because of the hotel’s proximity to Ginza and its many high-end restaurants, clients will find no dearth of one-of-a-kind restaurants and menus. However, the hotel’s Ekki Bar & Grill is equally outstanding and innovative, serving contemporary cuisine that fuses international influences — French, Japanese and American, to name a few — into a menu that never failed to satisfy my hunger for new tastes and presentations. I especially loved stopping by for afternoon tea — a meal in itself, with Wagyu beef sliders, petit fours and even Mexican-style churros. It was certainly one of the most eclectic — and filling— afternoon teas I’ve ever had.  An intimate Lobby Lounge and Bar, which is adjacent to the main restaurant, also serves unique small plates and meals, including crispy soft-shell crab and Satsuma-accented pork loin.

When clients wish to unwind, they can find a respite in the hotel’s spa and 24-hour fitness center. The spa — while much smaller than the spa at Chinzan-so, with only two treatment rooms — also offers traditional onsen facilities. Guests may also request in-room massage services. The fitness center boasts a number of cardio machines, from treadmills to elliptical trainers, as well as weight machines. During my stay, I also noticed that many guests chose to get in their morning exercise by going for a jog around the outer moat of the Imperial Gardens, which are only a few minutes by foot from the hotel.

As with the service I received at the Chinzan-so property, I was thoroughly impressed by the staff’s attention to detail and thoughtfulness. When inquiring for restaurant recommendations from the concierge, I was given a long list of suggestions — all of which proved to be a perfect fit for my tastes. And, on Christmas day, I awoke to find a tiny stocking on my door, filled to the brim with holiday treats and goodies. When it came time for me to leave for the airport, a member of the hotel staff accompanied me to Tokyo Station, giving me exact directions on how to get to Narita by train (train station greeting services are also complimentary — and always included). 

So, if your clients have the time, I would say it is well worth the trip to stay at both of these Four Seasons properties. For most clients however, choosing a single property to stay in really depends on their design preferences — classic or modern — and their proximity to certain Tokyo attractions. Whichever property they choose, I’m sure they’ll feel the same way I did: in a word, pampered.

Promotions and Packages

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so
Stay Longer – Third Night Free
With this package, clients who book two nights receive a third night free. Rates are priced from $364 per night for a Superior Room (after applying the free night) or from $530 per night.

Yu, the Spa Experience
This spa package includes accommodations in a Superior Room with one 60-minute spa treatment per guest, per day; unlimited access to the hotel’s on-site onsen, pool and fitness areas; a cleansing herbal tea upon arrival; and a Yu spa gift, from $1,098 per night.

Christmas at Chinzan-so
The Chinzan-so property will be decked out in holiday cheer from Nov. 16 to Dec. 25, with visits from Santa Claus scheduled to take place between Dec. 23 and 25 in the lobby. Choir performances of traditional Christmas carols will take place nightly from Dec. 23-25 at 7 p.m. in the lobby.

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi
Stay Longer – Fourth Night Free
With this package, clients who book three or more consecutive nights receive a fourth night free. Rates are priced from $398 per night for a Superior Room (after applying the free night).

Bed & Breakfast
Clients can also book a Bed & Breakfast package at the Marunouchi property that includes complimentary American breakfast at the Ekki Bar & Grill. The package is priced from $555 per night for a Moderate Room.

Urban Escape Spa Package
Clients who want to combine spa treatments with their stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi may consider booking this package. It includes one 90-minute spa treatment per person, per stay, for up to two guests; an American breakfast for two at the Ekki Bar & Grill or through in-room dining; and accommodations in a Superior Room. Rates start at $1,073 per night.
Not many cities can lay claim to two Four Seasons hotels but, in Tokyo, both the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so and the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi manage to offer the same levels of exceptional service, albeit in two distinctly different settings. While Marunouchi is sleek and modern and Chinzan-so is residential and stately, I left both properties feeling much the same — relaxed and at home, even though I was far from it, and during the holidays no less.

Classic at Chinzan-so
Checking into the Chinzan-so property felt like stepping into a private residence — a very large one at that. Because the hotel sits on 17 acres of beautifully manicured, traditional Japanese gardens, I actually felt as though I were on a retreat, even though I was checking into a 13-story hotel building with 259 rooms, 44 of which are suites. The lobby, decked out in Christmas decorations, literally glowed, and there were dozens of couples and families bustling around, taking in the holiday cheer. (Family-friendly amenities abound, including complimentary children’s amenities and a visit from Santa during the holiday season.)

My Deluxe Garden-View Room offered a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding Chinzan-so Gardens which, even in winter, were simply stunning. Although the centerpiece of the gardens — an immaculate three-story pagoda — will be closed for renovations through May 2011, it is still worth strolling through the gardens (which will otherwise remain open), especially in the mornings or at sunset.

My room’s design took full advantage of its space — all 645 square feet. I loved having a separate dressing area, as well as a bathroom that was almost half as large as the bedroom itself, with a deep-soaking tub, separate shower and even a miniature television. The room’s overall look and feel echoed that of the hotel: contemporary, but with traditional European influences.

My favorite feature of the hotel, aside from the gardens, was its on-site Yu spa and traditional onsen (hot springs) facilities. While many hotel spas follow an Asian-inspired aesthetic, this one truly exemplified it in its thoughtful touches and inspired treatments. Onsen facilities are separate for men and women and, if your clients aren’t skittish about baring some skin, it’s definitely worth the experience.

Unlike the Marunouchi property, which is centrally located in the heart of Tokyo (it is walking distance to Tokyo Station), the Chinzan-so property is slightly more removed, making it ideal for travelers who want a more residential experience in the middle of the Bunkyo quarter. The nearby neighborhood of Ikebukuro, in particular, is an ideal spot for finding quirky shops and restaurants more frequented by locals than by tourists.

If clients would rather dine at the hotel, they will find plenty of options to satisfy their appetites. Breakfast at Miyuki, the Japanese restaurant, is a real treat, since it serves traditional Japanese-style breakfasts, complete with steaming bowls of miso soup, rice, fresh fish and pickled vegetables — a perfect way to warm up and start the day. 
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