Tokyo's shiny new billion-dollar Palace Hotel

Tokyo's shiny new billion-dollar Palace Hotel

Massive investment promises views, Michelin stars and some very regal neighbors
Palace Hotel Tokyo
The Palace Hotel Tokyo sits on some of the most desirable land in the capital.

Any idea what pops out when you insert US$1 billion into a vending machine marked “Really Spiffy, Ultra-Luxury Hotels”?

We’re not totally sure either, but we’ll all find out on May 17, when the 23-story Palace Hotel Tokyo opens its doors right by the Imperial Palace, a stone’s throw from Tokyo Station.

The new development actually cost ¥90 billion, which works out at $1.2 billion and change -- an ambitious investment in trying times for both the global economy and the Japanese tourist trade.

Aside from bringing almost 300 rooms and suites (¥50,000-¥700,000) to the Tokyo hotel scene, the Palace also contains some mightily impressive restaurants (in theory at this point, of course) and an Evian-branded spa.

Among the dining options -- hotel management says it’s “aiming for a constellation of Michelin-star restaurants” -- will be French, run by two-star Patrick Henriroux; Japanese, another two-star man in Shinji Kanesaka; and Chinese, whose operator also has (you guessed it) a two-Michelin-star background.

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'Essence of Japanese hospitality.' Plus shopping!

Perhaps with an eye on the need to push the “Japanese” angle, the hotel is making a point of staying true to its geographical roots.

“This hotel is Japanese through and through, from its ownership and management, to its service protocols and its picture-perfect location by the Imperial Palace gardens and moats,” says Palace Hotel Tokyo President, Takashi Kobayashi.

“For domestic and international travelers alike, whether they’re with us for business or leisure, we hope they will walk away saying, ‘To have stayed at Palace Hotel Tokyo is to have experienced the very essence of Japanese hospitality’.”

This being Tokyo, said hospitality extends to shopping as well -- 17 retail outlets in the basement are currently being put together, along with an underground link to the subway system.

Palace Hotel Tokyo, 1-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, +81 (0) 3 3211 5211, www.palacehoteltokyo.com

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