Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo opened on 5 June 1971 as Japan’s first skyscraper hotel, instantly luring visitors to discover the unprecedented views of Tokyo from its observation deck. In the decades since then, Keio Plaza Hotel has welcomed 25 million guests into its 1,438 guest rooms (including 8 Hello Kitty-themed rooms), each one looking for sophistication, culture and that Japanese hospitality philosophy of omotenashi.
LATTE learned how Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo invites its guests to “experience the beauty of Japan from within the hotel” over the course of an exquisite degustation menu at Tetsuya’s. Junko Saito, deputy director of marketing PR, and Keiko Kawashima, marketing planning and public relations, hosted the evening for a select group of media on Tuesday 17 April.
Guests were immersed in the hotel’s Cultural Experience Program via a video that showcased the Sado Japanese tea ceremony, held in the So-fu-an tea room on the 10th floor; the Ikebana flower arrangement workshop with flower artist Hiroki Maeno; the Yukata casual kimono experience, with a photo service available; and the spectacular Japanese wedding kimono experience. With foreign visitors now accounting for 75% of Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo’s guests, these cultural programs are increasingly in demand.
The hotel is also home to 15 restaurants and 7 bars, including five dedicated to different aspects of Japanese cuisine (teppanyaki, tempura, kaiseki, sushi and a sake bar). One of its more recent additions is the Premier Grand Club Floors, with 111 suite and premium club rooms, the Premier Grand Club Lounge on the 45th floor and a renovated Sky Lounge Aurora, 160 metres above the ground.
With its central location in Shinjuku, Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo makes it easy to explore Japan. Bus tours depart from the lobby and a shuttle operates to Tokyo Disneyland. Limousines and a private car tour to explore sake breweries are also available. Keio Group, which operates the hotel, as well as transportation, retail services, real estate and golf courses, also runs the Keio Railway Network, an easy way to explore western Tokyo, including the areas of Mt Takao (views, temples and hot springs), Chofu (gardens, temples, shrines, manga) and Tama (Sanrio Puroland, a Hello Kitty amusement park).
Young guests are sure to love the Hello Kitty Rooms, choosing either a Princess Kitty or Kitty Town theme and an optional themed breakfast.
The conversation continued over an 8-course degustation menu (plus oysters with ginger and rice vinegar and petits fours), which guests savoured with delight. Roasted scampi tail received a vanilla twist, tuna sashimi was accompanied by a delicate sake, Tetsuya Wakuda’s signature confit of ocean trout melted on the tongue and Queensland Murray cod was complemented by the smokiness of just-charred confit fennel. Duck breast with Jerusalem artichokes and a black onyx rib cap rounded out the savoury courses with rich, meaty finesse. A cucumber and finger lime sorbet served as a refreshing palate-cleanser before the chocolate stone, that was almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.