The other historic grand hotel in Tokyo – and the one I actually stayed at – is the Tokyo Station Hotel. The Tokyo Station opened its doors in 1914 – it was built by the same architect that designed the Bank of Japan building nearby, and it is a significant piece of late Meiji-era red brick architecture.
The Hotel opened for business a year later, in 1915 though it only gained its iconic status sometime in the ’50s and ’60s, having been severely affected by the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, and then World War II.
The Hotel today is the product of an extensive restoration project that began in 2006. The new Tokyo Station Hotel re-opened in October 2012 and – the Imperial Hotel having been transformed into a contemporary high-rise structure in the 1980s – it is the only hotel remaining that retains a grand Old World air.
[It also explains why I chose to stay here, rather than at the Imperial Hotel.]
Located right at the very heart of Tokyo – in the Chiyoda precinct directly across from the Imperial Palace Complex, the Tokyo Station Hotel is THE place to be. One gets a very different perspective of the city, given that the vicinity in which the station is located is suffused with history and features the best specimens of Meiji and Taisho-era architecture.
The building itself is surreal and stunningly beautiful, appearing as if out of a Hayao Miyazaki anime in the middle of steel and concrete Central Tokyo. It is the fitting place from which to say goodbye to a year and a half of Grand Touring through the Far East.