Located in the fashionable Roppongi district, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel occupies the top nine floors of Tokyo's tallest structure, Roppongi’s Midtown Tower.
When you enter the Ritz-Carlton Suite your eyes will be drawn to the spectacular panoramic vistas of the Kanto plain and Mount Fuji. Located on the 53rd floor, the suite is a stunning 300 square meters in size. At two million yen per night ($18,000 dollars), suite 247 is the most expensive hotel room in Tokyo.
After you pass through the entrance, there is the luxurious 100 square meter living room. At first glance the décor seems minimalist. Yet a closer look reveals the skill and attention to detail of Japanese craftsmanship. The carpet design is based on nihonga paintings, while the fabric used for the sofas and walls is nishijinori by the kimono designer Jotaro Saito. No expense has been spared to create a once in a lifetime luxurious experience.
Clouds and mist, the central theme of the room, represent the fact that this suite is located at the top of the tallest hotel in Tokyo. The wallpaper in the living room is made of fragments of silver-flecked washi Japanese paper, a technique used in nishijinori a kimono manufacturing technique for over 300 years. Guests relaxing in the living room should feel as if they are floating on clouds.
General Manager John Rolfs explains that the theme is “Japan, Tokyo, Roppongi. We want foreign visitors to discover the artistry of Japanese craftsman and Japanese culture, while we want Japanese to rediscover these things.”
Fusion of Japanese and Western elements
All guest rooms as well as the club lounge underwent renovation last year. Rolfs says that this was important in maintaining the hotel’s position in the luxury market.
Today’s luxury traveler seeks something different from the European style of the hotel’s early days.
When the hotel first opened about 70% of the customers were Japanese. Today that figure has dropped to about 50%. The number of visitors it gets from Europe and the United States as well as other Asian countries have soared. Occupants of the Ritz-Carlton Suite include Hollywood stars, Middle Eastern royalty, wealthy Chinese and ambassadors from various countries.
Nowadays neither foreign visitors nor Japanese want the traditional Japanese sleeping arrangements. The former “Japanese Carlton Suite” boasted tatami mats, futon and the kind of design found in tea-ceremony rooms or ryokan. Occupancy, however, was low and the room was renovated by creating a “modern Japanese suite” combined with Western features such as a sofa and bed.
“We will always be trying to keep the Ritz-Carlton Suite fresh and in tune with the times,” Rolfs said. At the same time, while the suite at first glance seems ultra-modern there is painstaking commitment to Japanese traditional culture in the details.