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Japan: Lodgings:

the night before: Capsule Hotel Fontaine Akasaka

Park Hyatt
Luxury Hotel
45000 / night

Joi Fresh off my stay at the capsule hotel, I was visiting Joi in his office. I asked him if there were any hip cheap cool young hotels in town I should check out for my last night. He seemed to get a charge out of the idea, he said he'd sponsor me for something at the other end of things - a night at the Shinjuku Park Hyatt.

This is one of the premiere hotels in the most expensive city in the world. Yimney!

"'The historical (rate) leaders for decades were kind of national-treasure hotels, the Okura and the Imperial,' says Robert B. Stiles, Asia managing director for real-estate investment bank Sonnenblick-Goldman Co. in San-Francisco. That all changed when the Park Hyatt Tokyo opened in 1994.
"Despite its distance from the city center and foreign brand name, the Park Hyatt was able to command average nightly rates 50% above [the others]."

- "International Chains Take on Old Standbys in Tokyo Hotel Market," Zach Coleman, Asian Wall Street Journal, Wednesday 4 April 2001

The hotel appropriates from art and spirit and sensible service to make an expensive package. It's a nice place to stay, and sort of inspiring, if you can look past total extravagance - the open space and art everywhere lifts your spirits, if the elite nature of the thing doesn't bring you down.

Above the entrance, a strange visage peers out over you:


index.html Reception is on the 41st floor; as you enter the elevator, the darkened lights gradually become brighter as you rise. There were more demented demigods of indulgence in the elevator too.

index.html On the 41st floor there was a sort of Atrium lounge overlooking the city. Then you walked through a library with beautiful coffee table books locked in glass cases, past more artful restaurants, until you reached the reception area - a series of polite tables and chairs, with a Mark Chagall print prominently on display.

Then upwards, towards your room through a series of hallways like corridors in a museum -


Into a green silk wallpapered expanse of a room. A huge bed (two pushed together), a sitting area, a desk - all a few feet apart!

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After four days of economy compression, this place was a real mindfuck. Seemingly limitless space - a walk-in closet. Separate tub and shower.

And bizarre but touching and intelligent accessories - a compact OED! What a beautiful thing - the uber-dictionary in your room. And a Japanese-English dictionary. The Teachings of Buddha as well as the Bible. A fax machine. Ethernet. And leaves over the bed!

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My room was on the 44th floor, and I had a commanding view of Tokyo. Being this high up, along with the trappings of the hotel - it all encourages you to feel as though you own the city.

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It was tempting to camp out in this room, write and enjoy the comfort, but I had appointments with good people to keep. Sanae checked in with me, and later rejoined me to enjoy this fine lodging.

We wandered Kabukicho, a sort of red light district in Shinjuku, and enjoyed the cherry blossoms in Shinjuku park at night. index.html We didn't reach the hotel until after 2am. We drank cheap wine from a convenience store (the idea of buying things from the minibar here frightened me) and stayed up until after four am yakking and horsing around. We didn't emerge from the bed until around 11, just an hour before checkout time. We enjoyed a bath, the shower, the OED, the Boccelli CD we found in the room. None of the Bible or the Teachings of Buddha, no broadband, and none of the sauna/bath/spa stuff downstairs. Still it was a delicious evening, if only because we had so much room to play around in.

We enjoyed a nice lunch in the Atrium Lounge before I left Tokyo the next day.


Thank you Joi!

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