Hotel New Otani Tokyo

Recharge with a zen stay in the heart of the Japanese capital

Hotel New Otani Tokyo

In a city known for hustle and bustle – one only needs to look at a photo of Shibuya crossing during rush hour (or any hour) to get the idea – finding somewhere to rest up, and rest well, is essential. And there are few places better equipped to offer a sense of tranquillity in the heart of the Japanese capital than the Hotel New Otani Tokyo.

For six decades, the property has been one of Tokyo’s leading five-star hotels, and it’s not difficult to see why guests choose to stay here again and again. Attractions like the Imperial Palace, Shinjuku, and the aforementioned Shibuya are just a short metro journey away, yet the hotel feels like a true oasis in the city thanks to its setting next to a 400-year-old Japanese garden.

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While the greenery offers respite from Tokyo’s busy pace, the hotel itself is more like a city within the city, with 37 restaurants and more than 50 shops inside, including a post office and a clinic.

Should you want to stay within the complex, you’ll not struggle for things to do, from a spa day to an evening admiring the sunset from the restaurant on the 17th floor, yet for those who do venture outside, you’re never too far away from an adventure in surrounding Chiyoda.

Middle East Traveller checked in at Executive House Zen’s HINOKI Suite at Hotel New Otani Tokyo, for a stay with unrivalled views and world-class service.

The Hotel

Hotel New Otani Tokyo’s story began shortly before the 1964 Summer Olympics, with founder Yonetaro Otani asked to build the hotel to address a shortfall in accommodation ahead of the sporting event. Once completed – in just 17 short months – the property became Tokyo’s tallest building, a title it held until 1968 with the completion of the Kasumigaseki Building.

Classic movie fans may well recognise it as the headquarters of Osato Chemicals in You Only Live Twice (1967), but the hotel also acquired its iconic status in part due to its revolving restaurant on the top floor.

The property was built on the former residence of samurai lord Katō Kiyomasa, which was in turn used as the Fushimi-no-miya family residence, although now only the gardens remain. It’s here you’ll find more than 100 cherry blossom trees, with 20 different kinds of sakura, making for a magnificent site during peak bloom.

Our visit coincides with the end of cherry blossom season, and hotel guests are able to enjoy garden tours and lantern tours throughout their stays. Should you miss the short-but-sweet blooms, the space is transformed in hues of deep red come autumn, while a separate rose garden flowers in May and October.

The original building – now referred to as The Main – and the Garden Tower, first opened in 1974, host 1,474 guest rooms, numerous shops across the Arcade Floor in the basement, as well as the spa and gym, including a seasonal outdoor pool. It should be noted that guests with a tattoo of any size are not able to access the spa, even with a sticker cover up.

The Arrival

Guests travelling via taxi can reach the property within 40 minutes of leaving Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, while the city’s incomparable metro will drop you off at Akasaka-Mitsuke Station, just a short walk away, in under an hour.

Check-in for Executive House Zen is on the 11th floor, beside the Zen Lounge. Here, you’ll find floor-to-ceiling windows with views out to Akasaka Palace, the skyscrapers of Shibuya (which are best viewed at night, when you’ll see the top of Docomo Tower lit up in pinks and blues), and, should you be lucky enough to visit on a clear day, Mount Fuji.

The space is sleek and modern, with charcoal and grey hues throughout, but manages to still be welcoming with light pouring in. Throughout the Zen Lounge, and in the Executive Zen rooms, you’ll spot ink drawings reminiscent of traditional calligraphy.

Executive Zen guests can return here throughout the day for various food offerings, including breakfast, a morning snack, lunch, afternoon tea, hors d’oeuvres and night caps. The lounge maintains a quiet buzz without ever feeling too busy — the emphasis is on zen, after all.

After a few quick forms, paired with a warm ginger drink, you’ll be ready to head down the hallway to your room. We arrive slightly earlier than the official check-in time of 3pm, but our room is already ready and waiting for us.

The Room

Executive House Zen offers 84 rooms and suites across the eleventh and twelfth floors, with views either similar to those offered by Zen Lounge, or out to Chiyoda and the Tokyo Dome. What greets you inside is an updated version of a traditional Japanese home, with bamboo poles in the entrance way, and shoji covering each of the floor-to-ceiling windows.

In our HINOKI suite, the first room serves as the living room, with a chaise lounge in front of the TV, a dining table for two, and a walk-in closet off to the side. The bedroom features two twin beds pushed together to form a king size bed, with an en-suite featuring his-and-hers sinks.

The pièce de résistance, however, is the hinoki bathtub made of cypress wood. Dips here are improved by the inclusion of a bottle of sake, allowing you to indulge in a traditional sake bath meant to soften the skin. Should you want to take your relaxation up a notch, in-room therapy treatments are available daily between 11am and 2am.

The Service

While staff are on hand to assist you with a quick press of ‘0’, the room is designed to minimise your need for interaction, with almost every want thought of.

Not sure what the weather will be tomorrow? Your bedside table has the weather forecast on it. Raining outside? Find umbrellas in the walk-in closet. Forgot your face wash or moisturiser? The bathroom has a skincare set (alongside more common amenities like shampoo and body lotion courtesy of Salvatore Ferragamo). Forgot your PJs? There’s two sets waiting on the bed for you (NB: It is standard for most Japanese hotels to offer these, although the set at Hotel New Otani Tokyo is exceptionally soft).

On top of these, you can also request a mobile phone charger, hair curler or straighteners, humidifiers and more. Those who have a favourite kind of pillow can opt to switch theirs out with the standard offering for tempur or buckwheat hull, too. It’s an invitation to arrive with an empty suitcase and explore the shopping opportunities of Ginza and Shinjuku to the max – one we’re all too willing to accept.

To us, the standard of service is encapsulated by the fact that staff behind the reception desk at Zen Lounge will call the elevator for you before you even have the chance to lift a finger.

The Restaurants and Bars

While the top floor restaurant of The Main, The Sky View & Dining, no longer spins, it still serves as a buffet restaurant with live cooking stations for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Across the sprawling complex, you’ll find a further 36 restaurants, with four options for breakfast alone – our pick would be either the Garden Lounge, with views out over the Japanese garden, or the Tower Restaurant, up on the 40th floor of the Garden Tower. For those wishing to try a Japanese-style breakfast, head to Kioi Nadaman, or order from room service.

Whether you’re in the mood for shabu-shabu, noodles, sushi or teppanyaki, the varied Japanese restaurants have you covered. Other notable options include Tour d’Argent Tokyo, the second, and only branch outside of Paris, as well as Sekishin-tei, a teppanyaki restaurant serving Kobe beef and other exclusive delicacies.

In Tokyo, the early bird catches the worm (or, captures the perfect shot for the ‘gram long before the other tourists have woken up), and it seems that our fellow guests at Hotel New Otani Tokyo have cottoned on to this. A 6.45am visit to the Garden Lounge finds the restaurant teeming with people, although the wait to be seated is mere minutes.

Halal meat options are available across the hotel’s restaurants, but must be requested in advance.

Why Stay?

A sense of zen permeates the property, which provides a much-needed respite from the overwhelming scents, sights and sounds of the rest of the city. While the Japanese garden is best viewed during sakura season, peace can be found in every corner throughout the year.

Over the years, Hotel New Otani Tokyo has welcomed notable figures such as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Canada’s premier Stephen Harper and the British Prime Minister Theresa May (and, of course, James Bond). We’re all too pleased to have joined them in staying at this long-standing hotel.

The Essentials

  • Rates: Rooms start from USD420 per night for a Deluxe King room including breakfast, subject to taxes
  • Phone number: +81 3 3265 1111
  • Website:
  • Address: Hotel New Otani Tokyo, 4-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8578, Japan