COMFORT IN THE AIR
Flying to Tokyo just got more comfortable. American Airlines has added new seats in business class and specialized Flagship Service to make the trans-Pacific journey even cozier than before.
Brand-new, business-class seats designed by Recaro offer clients more privacy and increased functionality. Passengers can now adjust any component of the seat individually, including the seat bottom, seat back, head rest, leg rest and leg-rest extension. Pressure mapping adds additional seat comfort, and the seats are also enclosed by fixed shells for dedicated passenger travel space. Seats are equipped with in-seat entertainment on a 10.6-inch, tilting monitor.
Passengers receive Bose noise-cancelling headphones in flight as well as a newly designed amenity kit, which doubles as a shoe bag and includes earplugs, socks, lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, toothpick, lip balm, breath mints, refresher towlette, tissues and a pen.
In addition to the business-class upgrades, American’s 777s, the planes the airline flies to Tokyo, have been standardized to include Flagship Suite seats in first class. Suites feature privacy dividers, power ports, leather headrests, two large tray tables, a swivel seat and more.
Peninsula has revamped the Peninsula Academy, adding new classes and a kids’ program. At the Tokyo property, clients can enjoy a champagne brunch in nearby Ginza at the Armani Ginza Tower. Other options include an early morning tour of the Tsukiji Fish Market, which offers a unique opportunity for visitors to get an inside peak at what happens to sushi before it’s in the roll. Also offered is a Culinary Journey.
For kids, the Peninsula Tokyo has three different programs: a trip to Nojima’s Chocolate Factory, and a visit to Toyshop Wonderland. To take advantage of these programs, guests need only sign up a few days in advance. Programs are designed for one or two guests at a time, however, activities can be customized for small groups…or large families.
Clients looking to experience Tokyo’s Suite Life can take advantage of the Peninsula’s package of the same name. For clients booking a suite will enjoy a complimentary second-night stay.
Clients can also take advantage of the Summer Splendour package. This package includes several options for guests, including either an upgrade to the next room category, $95 spa credit per room, per stay for treatments at Peninsula’s Espa; or a $95 dining credit per room, per stay, useable at any of the hotels’ restaurants (except Tsuruya) or room service.
The package also includes daily breakfast for two, complimentary high-speed wireless Internet access, complimentary use of the fitness center and swimming pool, as well as a daily newspaper.
Just like the modern metropolis of Tokyo, the Peninsula Tokyo blends cutting-edge technology with Japanese tradition. Located on a quiet corner in Tokyo’s bustling Ginza district, the hotel is a secluded enclave among the hustle and bustle of the city. Jutting above the surrounding buildings, the hotel is a mix of cutting-edge technology and subtle hints of Japanese culture.
Opened last year, the newly built property is home to 314 guestrooms, five restaurants, a lounge bar, two ballrooms, six function rooms, a wedding chapel and a Japanese ceremony room. There is also a fitness center, the Peninsula Spa by Espa, luxury shopping and a florist, as well as a salon on the premises.
Guestrooms at the Peninsula have all the innovative gadgetry one would expect in a Tokyo hotel. My curtains worked via a touchpad on the bedside table, which was a sort of “mission control” for the entire room. From the touchpad, developed specifically for Peninsula, I could change stations on my television, adjust the volume, listen to music, set an alarm and more.
The bathroom of my Grand Deluxe room was also completely automated, with the bathtub being the coolest hub from which I could control my in-mirror, flat-panel television, as well as the volume for either music or the TV and the best feature — the lighting. With the touch of one button, a spa-like atmosphere is created complete with low lighting and relaxing music.
If that wasn’t enough, my closet did just about everything for me but pick out my clothes. The spacious walk-in was nearly the size of my bedroom, and came complete with a dressing area, make-up mirror, hairdryer and an electric nail dryer. There were ample drawers for jewelry and personal items as well as his-and-hers space to hang clothing.
Despite all the innovation, the rooms at the Peninsula Tokyo felt cozy rather than awkward and warm and inviting instead of cold and contemporary. Fruit was provided daily on a small table next to the floor-to-ceiling windows, and a big comfy couch, perfect for curling up with a book, was positioned in front of a flat-screen TV.
Beyond the guestrooms, walking around the hotel is like walking through a modern-day palace. In the lobby, presided over by a bamboo dragon sculpture, guests experience Peninsula’s infamous hustle and bustle. The Lobby restaurant is a flurry of activity with patrons sampling Peninsula’s famous afternoon tea or planning the day’s itinerary over a plate of waffles and a morning latte.
Every nook and cranny of the property has been carefully laid out, and the main floor is home to several retailers, including Graff, De Grisogono and Chantecler for jewelry and the Cigar Club. The basement is home to the busy Peninsula Boutique & Cafe as well as Peninsula Flowers by You Ka En. The hair salon is tucked away on the fourth floor.
The fitness area, pool and spa, also located on the fourth floor, are managed by a single reception desk. Spa guests are met with tea and taken to a waiting area before being shown to the changing area. Once changed, clients can enjoy the sauna and steam room or rest on a private bed in the beautiful relaxation area, complete with various teas, juices, infusions and water.
Although they share a reception area, fitness facilities and the pool are separate from the spa. Guests have access to a locker room. A small gym with weight and cardio machines is available, but the pool is the most alluring piece of “exercise equipment.” The glass-enclosed pool deck, with two-story-high windows, provides beautiful views overlooking Hibiya Park and the Imperial Palace. For pool users, nearly everything is provided. Forgot your swimsuit? No problem. Need goggles? They can be provided. One side of the pool is reserved for lap swimming, while the rest is open for free swim. Peaceful spa music is piped in on speakers below the water and above, for a seamless swimming experience.
The hotel offers a range of cuisine to engage the palate. Apart from The Lobby, clients can try Japanese delicacies at Tsuruya and Cantonese-style cuisine at Hei Fung Terrace. Located in the basement, the Peninsula Cafe serves light dishes and snacks, perfect for guests on the go.
Peter, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant and bar, is surely the hotel’s theatrical piece de resistance. Accessed by a special elevator, the purple and chrome establishment offers views of the city through floor-to-ceiling windows. At the bar, guests drink under a forest of silvery trees and restaurant patrons pass over a stage-like area on the way to their seats, tantalized by ethereal videos while dining on a menu of European cuisine. If clients choose not to dine at Peter, at least recommend they grab a drink at the bar.
Some clients might actually want to leave the hotel, and in that respect, the Peninsula Tokyo is perfectly situated for sightseeing. Not only is the popular shopping and business district of Ginza just steps away from the property, the hotel hovers above a main subway line. Getting to popular tourist areas like Asakusa, Harajuku, Roppongi and Omotosando is quick and easy, and Tokyo’s subway system is manageable, with plenty of English signs.