Hoshino Resorts is one of Japan's hotel chains with 53 national and international locations of Japanese inns (ryokan) since 1904.
Their flagship brand, Hoshinoya, specializes in high-class traditional design and hospitality mixed with modern comforts. They have eight properties (six in Japan, one in Bali, Indonesia, and one in Taiwan), but only one is built inside a major city.
HOSHINOYA Tokyo is in the city's business district - Chiyoda, a short walk from Tokyo Station on one side and the Imperial Palace on the other.
From afar, this 17-story building looks like any other highrise tower.
But once you get close to the seemingly monolithic dark block, you realize its facade is made of delicate patterns that hide the plush interiors of the modern ryokan, like a veil over the bride's face.
The hotel's theatrical entrance impresses at first sight.
A lean and incredibly tall foyer leads to the reception, with bamboo shoeboxes stacked to the ceiling.
Once you change into your comfy slippers, you can enter the world of zen - a minimalist space of calming ambiance where traditional ryokan architecture meets the highest standards of luxury hotels.
Some parts of the hotel feel like a museum. If you dress in the kimonos they provide you upon arrival, you can immerse yourself in the ryokan experience by not contrasting the environment with your modern attire.
Each of the hotel's floors is home to six rooms and an exclusive lounge that resembles a ryokan where a communal space (ochanoma) functions as a living room for everyone to enjoy. Hot and cold refreshments, origami papers to play with, and books on art & travel are available throughout your stay.
Ochanoma Lounge can also turn into a tasting experience. The living room on the second floor from 5 to 7 pm offers free-flowing sake, Japanese wine, and snacks by the staff, who are ready to answer your questions that may end in a deeper discussion. The hotel takes this as an opportunity to connect guests with their hosts - the knowledgeable staff.
Dinners are prepped by the award-winning Executive Chef Noriyuki Hamada, whose molecular creations are based on seafood (as it is traditionally in the ryokans), and enjoys experimenting with a new style of French cuisine incorporating Japanese culinary techniques.
Breakfasts are delivered to your room in bentos, with pedantically separated sections of food.
HOSHINOYA's 84 rooms are split into three styles: Yuri, Sakura, and Kiku. The first two are intended for solo travelers and couples with twin and double beds, while Kiku is nearly double in size and has three beds and a deep bathtub.
The hotel's floral-patterned facade adorns the building from the outside, creating a shadow play spectacle inside. As the light shines through the unique metal system facade (inspired by the shape of hemp leaves), it enters the interiors and dances with each move of the sun.
When the translucent sheets of shoji (traditional Japanese sliding doors) close the outside world, the room transcends into a peaceful sanctuary.
With a minimalist tatami-floored interior, soft lights, and soundproofed windows, Hoshinoya's rooms are ready to charge your batteries before heading out to the bustling city life of the world's largest metropolis.
With the intense visuals of Tokyo blocked out, a bottle of Champagne delivered to your intimate space makes for a great start to discover the rest of the unique stimulants in your room. Open the wardrobe to release the fresh smell of bamboo in the air.
As you walk around your room, you will notice the tatami's pleasant surface tingling the bottom of your feet. All these stimulations of the different senses
Yet, it's not what makes HOSHINOYA Tokyo so unique. Head to the hotel's spa to find out why. On-site hot spring pools are rare in the city, let alone in the financial district.
Otemachi Hot Spring Bath
Incredibly, the saline-rich thermal water is pumped up to the hotel's 17th floor from a depth of nearly 5,000 feet (1,500 meters). The cave-like pool, with its calming wooden décor and dark walls, is a nod to the traditional onsen spas. As a result, the same rules apply; if you have a tattoo, it must be covered by stickers provided by the staff.
One of the multiple cultural experiences at the hotel is the traditional tea ceremony workshop. While this is a paid activity, you can keep the handmade tea bowls and whisks you use during the class.
One of HOSHINOYA's unique adventures is the sky-high morning kenjutsu practice. You can train to be a Japanese swordsman/woman on a rooftop overlooking Tokyo's skyline 525 feet (160 meters) above ground.