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  • Writer's pictureJing Lens

My Stay In The Okura Tokyo

A world-class luxury hotel features Japanese traditional beauty and authentic hospitality






Modern retention is evident in all facets of the interior and exterior. Underneath its sleek glass façade, the interior unfolds in exquisite material selection and tonality variation in nuances.


Since embarking on a new path of writing hotel reviews, I've encountered an additional layer of complexity when selecting a hotel. At first glance, the Okura Hotel's lobby, as seen on its website, blends Japanese sensibility and refined elegance. The subtle yet sophisticated design immediately caught my attention, evoking a sense of restrained luxury and understated elegance. The lobby exudes tactile warmth with its natural wood elements, complemented by a soft ambient glow from the lighting. Without delving into its storytelling, I feel my switch was flipped by a very subtle yet nuanced design approach. I conjured up a visual symphony themed harmony and began to reimagine its past even without being present in person. Stepping into its reconstructed lobby became quite a spatial and architectural moment for me. The new lobby in the Prestige Tower pays genuine homage to its heritage roots with traditional Japanese aesthetics remaining uncompromised. I heard historical reverberations ooze from minimalist material palettes, ancient design motifs, and splendid craftsmanship. It's a serious and substantial container transcends time and space, evolving, iterating, and fully embracing the contemporary era.


Modern retention is evident in all facets of the interior and exterior. Underneath its sleek glass facade, the interior unfolds in its exquisite material selection and tonality variation in nuances. Its dramatic volume and grand scale are offset by a soothing and calming atmosphere. A palpable sense of intimacy creates an inviting and engaging experience, yet it also evokes reminiscences of a sophisticated and gilded past set against the backdrop of contemporary space and time. It carved out an evocative moment that will stay with me perpetually. Despite the thorough research I always do to choose a hotel I hope will with me, I still feel a mixture of excitement and apprehension whenever I encounter a new one . Okura's lobby evokes an inexplicable proximity that unwinds my hint of fear.



Interestingly, exposure to its discreet and bustling environment serves as a catalyst, fuelling a person’s conscious or unconscious desire to aim higher or dream bigger.


ANDRÉ FU, the renowned interior architect who designs luxury hotels worldwide, interprets luxury in modern times as more genuine and down to the essence of the experience than something that is purely visual and superficial. A good hospitality project should focus on the essence of experiences.


I couldn’t agree more. In the world of hotels or hospitality in an overarching sense, an evocative and crafted hotel experience can become a perpetual reminiscence of an individual’s life journey. Certain memories won’t fade away. I choose to live a life by building memories I will carry forward to the end. The Okura Hotel, with its rich history and commitment to excellence, embodies this philosophy. From its meticulously designed spaces to its thoughtful amenities, every aspect of the hotel is crafted to create a memorable experience for guests.


To deconstruct those multilayers that lead me to register with a hotel experience, it entails immersing my intuitive and authentic emotions into the physical space, activating all my five senses, and engaging emotionally with people within that space. It's a sensory, sensual, and sentimental journey that elevates a hotel from a mere accommodation to a potentially enriching and enticing experience. Andre said: space communicates experience, objects express emotions. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a space provoking emotions and allowing people to connect with it. I also want to add that from registration to connection with a hotel experience, it can be a surreal journey that transcends a person’s ordinary reality. It adds fresh energy to a sensation I wasn’t generally akin to. The moment I enter the lobby in the Prestige Tower, I immediately feel a profound shift within me. It strikes a fresh chord for me. Here, amidst a bustling space where ambitious and aspirational conversations among people from various parts of the world permeate the air, I couldn't help but grasp the symbolic meaning behind the world clock adorning the lobby wall. I joked with my friends that everyone here seems to be on a $100 million small business deal lol. Oddly enough, exposure to its discreet and hustling environment, I feel serves as a catalyst that fuels a person’s conscious or unconscious desire of aiming higher or dreaming bigger.


The Okura Hotel is rooted in the vision and ambition of becoming a world-class establishment showcasing traditional Japanese aesthetics and authentic hospitality. Its founder, Kishichiro Okura, assembled an extraordinary cast of designers and craftsmen, including architect Yoshiro Taniguchi. Opened in 1962, the Okura Hotel became an epitome of ultra-Japanese beauty and hospitality, living up to the highest standard of international luxury hotels with a long guest list of world leaders, royals, and celebrities.

Before diving into design details, I feel it imperative to provide Okura’s reborn story. Ushering in the rise of Japan from the ashes of war to a country hurtling into the modern era, the Okura Hotel became synonymous with luxury, serving as a cultural beacon that celebrated Japanese craftsmanship and hospitality, known as omotenashi (おもてなし). Its admirers are deeply attached to this iconic hotel. As news of its redevelopment spread, it marked the end of an era, as prestigious publication Monocle commented. Despite facing strong design criticism and defying public sentiment, the reconstruction commenced in 2015 and reached completion in 2019.

The newborn Okura operates under two distinct yet complementary brands: the Heritage Wing and the Okura Prestige Tower, seamlessly blending traditional Japanese elegance with contemporary luxury and urban sophistication. I checked into the Prestige Tower this time.


This striking installation juxtaposes with the vibrant and dynamic energy of the surroundings with its serene, tranquil, and fluid essence.


ANDRÉ FU said : When I design, I always think about the essence of the experience that I am trying to translate. It is capturing a feeling in that moment.

The newborn Okura, designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi, whose father also designed the original, embodies an emotional process that engages both body and mind. The new Okura lobby is defined as a quiet place to relax, striking a harmonious balance in volume, spatiality, and intimate proximity. It stands as a true testament to modern relaxed luxury, in my opinion.

A moment that hit my core and triggered my emotions is created by a monolithic wood block that is positioned adjacent to the check-in front desk. Within this block, a cherry blossom installation captures the essence of authentic and iconic Japanese beauty. Its famous pendant, the pendant of five polyhedrons, is suspended from the ceiling, gracefully cascading down to complement the cherry blossom. It composes a very serene yet floating scene, offering an interesting contrast to the dynamic energy of the surrounding environment.


We see hustle and bustle guests coming in and out, mostly dressed in business suits, engaging in intense and formal business conversations (I guess lol). However, the cherry blossom allures people to pause for a moment, gaze up at the cherry, or take photos. This striking installation juxtaposes with the vibrant and dynamic energy of the surroundings with its serene, tranquil, and fluid essence.



The lobby is unified by earth tones, straight lines, with soft, natural light filtered through shoji screens, high ceilings, and massive soaring pillars.

I also deeply gravitate towards its light and shadow design in the lobby. The lanterns envelop light on a pendant of five polyhedrons suspended from the ceiling. Grand-scale lighting installations in the lobby make bold statements, while the interplay of light and shadow is very feminine and floating. Lighting serves as the conductor in orchestrating interactions between architecture and people, and everything in between. It's visually pleasing and emotionally comforting for anyone who engages within. It was a space unified by earth tones, straight lines, with soft, natural light filtered through shoji screens, high ceilings, and massive soaring pillars. It’s an ode to the enduring appeal of wood, from its material application to its role in architectural structure. I feel a sense of synergy with this lobby.


Okura’s Japanese aesthetic is grounded in refined and relaxed luxury. Its beauty has never been overly extravagant or opulent but rooted in modernist refinement and harmony. Japanese sensibility meticulously integrated into its understated design details and ancient motif elements. In the lobby, a wall finished in oma-shoji (grid-pattern shoji) and kumiko traditional latticed woodwork reflects the finest craftsmanship, artisanal spirit, and pinnacle of design. Throughout the hotel, from hallways to elevator halls and outdoor gardens, art and culture subtly permeate the space.



In line with its overall aesthetic, the guest room continue to embody understated elegance, boasting a sleek modern interior adorned with wood furnishings, sumptuous textures, and soft ambient lighting.


Andre said: I also believe that a good hotel should evoke a sense of residential comfort – essentially, a hotel is a temporary home. Wherever the hotel might be, I always look for elements of thoughtfulness, how the hotel has considered the comfort and wellbeing of its guests.


As my friend and I entered the room, a profound sense of tranquillity enveloped us. In line with its overall aesthetic, the guest room continue to embody understated elegance, boasting a sleek modern interior adorned with wood furnishings, sumptuous textures, and soft ambient lighting. The Okura Hotel is situated in the heart of Tokyo, in the upscale and cosmopolitan Toranomon neighborhood. Toranomon is a dynamic and bustling business district that offers a perfect blend of business, leisure, and luxury living in Tokyo. Each room in Okura hotel offers stunning views of the panoramic city skyline, with a particular highlight being the bath with a view.



Each room in Okura hotel offers stunning views of the panoramic city skyline, with a particular highlight being the bath with a view


The marble-cladded bathtub is positioned adjacent to a picture window, framing Tokyo's unbeatable and breath-taking night vista. As the lights of Tokyo Tower pierced through the urban sprawl, I couldn't help but marvel at the unexpected beauty before me. The following morning, I indulged in breakfast at the Club Lounge on the 37th floor, savouring delicacies while immersing myself in the sweeping cityscape view of Toranomon. Once again, the vibrant and dynamic energy of the city enveloped me, evoking a feeling that the sky is the limit. I couldn't help but feel a surge of excitement—my impulses racing as swiftly as the bustling city below. The outdoor garden landscape seamlessly complements the soaring tower skyline, a testament to Okura's ability to evolve while staying true to its essence.


Carefully curated eco-conscious toiletries; the lights of Tokyo Tower pierced through the urban sprawl from bathtub; the vibrant and dynamic energy of the city enveloped me, evoking a feeling that he sky is the limit.


Meticulous attention to detail not only reflects on its design sensibility but also roots in its hospitality ethos. Whether it was the delightful welcome treats or the carefully curated eco-conscious toiletries with a message promoting sustainability, Okura seamlessly integrated elements of care and consideration into every aspect of the experience. Each detail was thoughtfully curated to ensure the well-being of every guest—a testament to the hotel's dedication to creating a home away from home. Okura's commitment to hospitality extends beyond operational excellence to a deeper level of human connection. Its approach to hospitality aligns perfectly with its aesthetic of relaxed luxury, embodying a subtle and nuanced demeanor. It's discreet yet intimate, restrained yet sincere. Above all, every staff member I encountered infused their service with passion. Passion is a contagious energy that leaves a lasting mark on an individual's memory. With each interaction, I added another memorable chapter to my life story. Thank you, The Okura Tokyo!



Show Notes

Since embarking on a new path of writing hotel reviews, I've encountered an additional layer of complexity when selecting a hotel. At first glance, the Okura Hotel's lobby, as seen on its website, blends Japanese sensibility and refined elegance. The subtle yet sophisticated design immediately caught my attention, evoking a sense of restrained luxury and understated elegance. The lobby exudes tactile warmth with its natural wood elements, complemented by a soft ambient glow from the lighting. Without delving into its storytelling, I feel my switch was flipped by a very subtle yet nuanced design approach. I conjured up a visual symphony themed harmony and began to reimagine its past even without being present in person. Stepping into its reconstructed lobby became quite a spatial and architectural moment for me. The new lobby in the Prestige Tower pays genuine homage to its heritage roots with traditional Japanese aesthetics remaining uncompromised. I heard historical reverberations ooze from minimalist material palettes, ancient design motifs, and splendid craftsmanship. It's a serious and substantial container transcends time and space, evolving, iterating, and fully embracing the contemporary era.


Modern retention is evident in all facets of the interior and exterior. Underneath its sleek glass facade, the interior unfolds in its exquisite material selection and tonality variation in nuances. Its dramatic volume and grand scale are offset by a soothing and calming atmosphere. A palpable sense of intimacy creates an inviting and engaging experience, yet it also evokes reminiscences of a sophisticated and gilded past set against the backdrop of contemporary space and time. It carved out an evocative moment that will stay with me perpetually. Despite the thorough research I always do to choose a hotel I hope will with me, I still feel a mixture of excitement and apprehension whenever I encounter a new one . Okura's lobby evokes an inexplicable proximity that unwinds my hint of fear.


ANDRÉ FU, the renowned interior architect who designs luxury hotels worldwide,interprets luxury in modern times as more genuine and down to the essence of the experience than something that is purely visual and superficial. A good hospitality project should focus on the essence of experiences.


I couldn’t agree more. In the world of hotels or hospitality in an overarching sense, an evocative and crafted hotel experience can become a perpetual reminiscence of an individual’s life journey. Certain memories won’t fade away. I choose to live a life by building memories I will carry forward to the end. The Okura Hotel, with its rich history and commitment to excellence, embodies this philosophy. From its meticulously designed spaces to its thoughtful amenities, every aspect of the hotel is crafted to create a memorable experience for guests.


To deconstruct those multilayers that lead me to register with a hotel experience, it entails immersing my intuitive and authentic emotions into the physical space, activating all my five senses, and engaging emotionally with people within that space. It's a sensory, sensual, and sentimental journey that elevates a hotel from a mere accommodation to a potentially enriching and enticing experience. Andre said: space communicates experience, objects express emotions. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a space provoking emotions and allowing people to connect with it. I also want to add that from registration to connection with a hotel experience, it can be a surreal journey that transcends a person’s ordinary reality. It adds fresh energy to a sensation I wasn’t generally akin to. The moment I enter the lobby in the Prestige Tower, I immediately feel a profound shift within me. It strikes a fresh chord for me. Here, amidst a bustling space where ambitious and aspirational conversations among people from various parts of the world permeate the air, I couldn't help but grasp the symbolic meaning behind the world clock adorning the lobby wall. I joked with my friends that everyone here seems to be on a $100 million small business deal lol. Oddly enough, exposure to its discreet and hustling environment, I feel serves as a catalyst that fuels a person’s conscious or unconscious desire of aiming higher or dreaming bigger.


The Okura Hotel is rooted in the vision and ambition of becoming a world-class establishment showcasing traditional Japanese aesthetics and authentic hospitality. Its founder, Kishichiro Okura, assembled an extraordinary cast of designers and craftsmen, including architect Yoshiro Taniguchi. Opened in 1962, the Okura Hotel became an epitome of ultra-Japanese beauty and hospitality, living up to the highest standard of international luxury hotels with a long guest list of world leaders, royals, and celebrities.

Before diving into design details, I feel it imperative to provide Okura’s reborn story. Ushering in the rise of Japan from the ashes of war to a country hurtling into the modern era, the Okura Hotel became synonymous with luxury, serving as a cultural beacon that celebrated Japanese craftsmanship and hospitality, known as omotenashi (おもてなし). Its admirers are deeply attached to this iconic hotel. As news of its redevelopment spread, it marked the end of an era, as prestigious publication Monocle commented. Despite facing strong design criticism and defying public sentiment, the reconstruction commenced in 2015 and reached completion in 2019.

The newborn Okura operates under two distinct yet complementary brands: the Heritage Wing and the Okura Prestige Tower, seamlessly blending traditional Japanese elegance with contemporary luxury and urban sophistication. I checked into the Prestige Tower this time.


ANDRÉ FU said : When I design, I always think about the essence of the experience that I am trying to translate. It is capturing a feeling in that moment.

The newborn Okura, designed by Yoshiro Taniguchi, whose father also designed the original, embodies an emotional process that engages both body and mind. The new Okura lobby is defined as a quiet place to relax, striking a harmonious balance in volume, spatiality, and intimate proximity. It stands as a true testament to modern relaxed luxury, in my opinion.

A moment that hit my core and triggered my emotions is created by a monolithic wood block that is positioned adjacent to the check-in front desk. Within this block, a cherry blossom installation captures the essence of authentic and iconic Japanese beauty. Its famous pendant, the pendant of five polyhedrons, is suspended from the ceiling, gracefully cascading down to complement the cherry blossom. It composes a very serene yet floating scene, offering an interesting contrast to the dynamic energy of the surrounding environment.


We see hustle and bustle guests coming in and out, mostly dressed in business suits, engaging in intense and formal business conversations (I guess lol). However, the cherry blossom allures people to pause for a moment, gaze up at the cherry, or take photos. This striking installation juxtaposes with the vibrant and dynamic energy of the surroundings with its serene, tranquil, and fluid essence.


Andre said: I also believe that a good hotel should evoke a sense of residential comfort – essentially, a hotel is a temporary home. Wherever the hotel might be, I always look for elements of thoughtfulness, how the hotel has considered the comfort and wellbeing of its guests.


As my friend and I entered the room, a profound sense of tranquillity enveloped us. In line with its overall aesthetic, the guest room continue to embody understated elegance, boasting a sleek modern interior adorned with wood furnishings, sumptuous textures, and soft ambient lighting. The Okura Hotel is situated in the heart of Tokyo, in the upscale and cosmopolitan Toranomon neighborhood. Toranomon is a dynamic and bustling business district that offers a perfect blend of business, leisure, and luxury living in Tokyo. Each room in Okura hotel offers stunning views of the panoramic city skyline, with a particular highlight being the bath with a view.

The marble-cladded bathtub is positioned adjacent to a picture window, framing Tokyo's unbeatable and breath-taking night vista. As the lights of Tokyo Tower pierced through the urban sprawl, I couldn't help but marvel at the unexpected beauty before me. The following morning, I indulged in breakfast at the Club Lounge on the 37th floor, savouring delicacies while immersing myself in the sweeping cityscape view of Toranomon. Once again, the vibrant and dynamic energy of the city enveloped me, evoking a feeling that the sky is the limit. I couldn't help but feel a surge of excitement—my impulses racing as swiftly as the bustling city below. The outdoor garden landscape seamlessly complements the soaring tower skyline, a testament to Okura's ability to evolve while staying true to its essence.


Meticulous attention to detail not only reflects on its design sensibility but also roots in its hospitality ethos. Whether it was the delightful welcome treats or the carefully curated eco-conscious toiletries with a message promoting sustainability, Okura seamlessly integrated elements of care and consideration into every aspect of the experience. Each detail was thoughtfully curated to ensure the well-being of every guest—a testament to the hotel's dedication to creating a home away from home. Okura's commitment to hospitality extends beyond operational excellence to a deeper level of human connection. Its approach to hospitality aligns perfectly with its aesthetic of relaxed luxury, embodying a subtle and nuanced demeanor. It's discreet yet intimate, restrained yet sincere. Above all, every staff member I encountered infused their service with passion. Passion is a contagious energy that leaves a lasting mark on an individual's memory. With each interaction, I added another memorable chapter to my life story. Thank you, The Okura Tokyo!



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