The flagship property of Japanese hospitality company Fujita Kanko, this 23-year-old hotel was run for two decades by Four Seasons before returning to its owner’s management in 2013. It sits in the garden of Chinzanso (meaning “villa on a mountain of camellias”), a 17-acre green oasis in the city. The grounds feature 1,000 camellia trees and 120 cherry trees. The facilities are scattered across the grounds, with a main hotel building, Tower and Plaza buildings for banquets and meetings, and restaurants set around the garden. The hotel is currently in the midst of a major renovation that will finish in March 2016, with new interiors to showcase Japanese elements, design, color themes, Arita ceramics, nishijin-ori throws (traditional textile), and ukiyo-e woodblock prints.
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Although it is in the middle of Tokyo, the hotel sits in a quiet, residential neighborhood, meaning bird song is as common as the sound of traffic in the morning. The modernist St. Mary’s Cathedral, the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tokyo, is within walking distance, a few hundred meters north of the property. The pretty Shin-Edogawa Garden and neighboring Eisei Bunko Museum (filled with a family’s private collection of historic documents, artifacts, and fine art) are a short stroll away. Just behind the hotel, on the Kanda River, visitors will find one of the city’s most popular cherry blossom viewing spots. For the antsy, the hot spots of Shinjuku and Ikebukuro are a couple of stops away on the metro.
Need to Know
Rooms: 260 rooms and suites. From $385. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: There are 12 restaurants spread across the property’s domain, including a teahouse that is registered as a cultural asset. Some eateries are located in the gardens like little hideaways. Kinsui is a traditional ryotei-style, high-end Japanese restaurant with only private rooms, while Japanese specialties such as soba, sushi, and grill are offered at other restaurants. Elsewhere, guests can order French, Italian, and English-style high tea. Spa and gym details: The spa, Yu, has an all-weather pool and Jacuzzi, and a real onsen Japanese hot spring bath. The spa also includes a full gym.
Who's it for: Businessmen; nature lovers; experiential travelers. Our favorite rooms: The View Bath Suite has a spalike bathroom with gorgeous garden views from the tub. Local highlight: Each season is celebrated here. In early summer, the hotel’s garden becomes home to thousands of fireflies, a rarity in the middle of Tokyo. The hotel offers a private firefly viewing from 11 to 11:30 p.m. to guests of one suite per night during the season.