It is worth staying at the Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills for the spectacular views alone. Located in the top six floors of the city’s second tallest building, it has the capital’s highest rooftop bar (and wedding venue, if you fancy getting hitched at 247m), while a table at the Andaz Tavern, one floor down, will leave you catching your breath.
Despite horrendous jet lag, I woke each day eager to watch the early morning sunlight glistening off the skyscrapers stretching out for miles below my bedroom window. If it wasn’t for the draw of Tokyo outside I could have sat in my comfortable window seat for hours. Even a visit to the pool on the 37th floor had an element of the sublime due to the incredible views. I planned my swim for dinner time, which meant I had the 20-metre pool and various hot tubs all to myself – the perfect way to shake off the unplesantness of a long flight.
Although Andaz is a chain (part of the Hyatt group), the hotel, which opened last summer, has an intimate feel. On the ground floor, friendly doormen direct you down a softly lit passageway to lifts that zoom you up to the lobby on the 51st floor where hosts with iPads take your details in the lounge area over a glass of wine, or even in your room.
Hotel guests can enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks in the lounge at certain times and the area has the atmosphere of a members’ club, so is a good place to meet up or get some work done.
I paid two visits to the Rooftop Bar, the first for the view and the second for cocktails with friends. The menu is based on premium teas, fruits, sake and champagne (I recommend the Hideriame Sake cocktail – a mix of raspberry vodka, sake and fruit juice) and the clientele are a mix of young, hip Japanese and business tourists enjoying the chilled-out music.
The Andaz Tavern, which features floating wooden sculptures by British artist Charlie Whinney, serves mainly European-style food with Japanese twists. All the way back down on the first floor, BeBu serves beer and burgers.
Toranomon Hills, a luxury apartment and office block and Tokyo’s newest landmark, towers over the rest of the historic Toranomon district. Translating as “Tiger Gate”, Toranomon was the name of the southern gate to Edo castle, which is now the Imperial Palace.
Frequented by geishas and samurai in the 17th to 19th centuries, the area is now a quiet business district. The Toranomon Hills complex is the start of ambitious transformation plans ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, so I found part of the area was a building site during my visit.
The nearest Metro station is a five-minute walk away, and connects directly to the chic Ginza district, home of the excellent Kabuki Theatre (kabuki-bito.jp/eng; 00 81 3 3545 6800), or the lively shopping and nightlife hub of Shibuya. The Tsukiji fish market (tsukiji- market.or.jp) is a 10-minute taxi-ride away.
From Narita Airport, the hotel is just over an hour by cab or just under two hours by the Airport Limousine bus (00 81 3 3665 7220; limousinebus.co.jp) which stops right outside.
The 164 rooms, including eight suites, are stylish and comfortable, with a mix of Japanese and European features. I particularly enjoyed the large, sunken circular bathtub set in a wooden enclave of Hokkaido walnut panelling, and the toilet seats that lift as you open the door.
Standard rooms, which are either king or twin, are spacious for Japan at 50sq m, while the deluxe are corner rooms with an extra 15sq m. Unlike in many hotel rooms, where the bed faces a wall with a large-screen television, here they face floor-to-ceiling windows. The TV, quite rightly, is located off to the side. South-facing rooms give fantastic views of Tokyo Tower while north-facing ones look over the Tokyo Skytree, the city’s tallest structure.
Wi-fi, local phone calls, minibar snacks and soft drinks are all complimentary.
Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills
1-23-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan (00 81 368 301 234; tokyo.andaz.hyatt.com).
Standard doubles start at Y65,000 (£354), room only.
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