This year marks the 125th anniversary of the Imperial Hotel. It first opened in 1890 as an unofficial state guesthouse, the country’s first fully western-style property built for the aristocracy to welcome the increasing number of foreign guests. Ravaged by a fire in 1922, it was rebuilt in 1923, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Maya Revival style, though it fell into disrepair over the decades and was demolished in 1967. The blocky, current version of the hotel comprises a main building and a tower that together house 931 rooms. Recent upgrades to rooms include Imperial Floors (14 through 16 of the main building) created by English decorator Julian Reed. Tower rooms are decorated in light, bright tones.
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The lush Hibiya Park, with its ponds and meandering paths, is across the road from the property, while the Imperial Palace, from which the property takes its name, is just to the north. A few minutes’ walk from the hotel, visitors will find shops galore at the retail hub Ginza.
Need to Know
Rooms: 875 rooms, 56 suites. From $320. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Guests are spoiled for choice, with 17 restaurants and bars. These include Les Saisons and La Brasserie (both French), Imperial Viking (buffet meals), Parkside Diner (American classics), Peking (Chinese), and eight Japanese restaurants. The Imperial Aqua Lounge has stunning views of the treetops of Hibiya Park. Spa and gym details: The fitness center has a pool, sauna, and exercise rooms. There is no spa.
Who's it for: High-powered executives; business groups (the property has 27 different banquet and function rooms); royalty. Our favorite rooms: The Frank Lloyd Wright Suite, apparently the only hotel suite in the world to feature his work. Good to know:The hotel doesn’t outsource its laundry, but has dedicated staff to do it. If your shirt goes in without a button, expect a new one to be sewn on—the staff stocks more than 200 types of buttons in all colors.