Travel | HOTELS & RESTAURANTS

French toast features fresh strawberries

A heavenly combination of strawberries and french toast awaits guests in central Tokyo. Through late March, The Tokyo Station Hotel located inside the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building is serving its famous Amaou French Toast (¥2,980), featuring juicy Hakata Amaou strawberries from Fukuoka Prefecture.

At the hotel’s Lobby Lounge, guests can tuck into the seasonal favorite while surrounded by classic European ambiance amid soft natural light filtering through the lounge’s tall windows. Served with a choice of coffee or tea, the Amaou French Toast is a premium version of the Lobby Lounge’s signature french toast paired with the beloved Fukuoka strawberry variety renowned for its large achenes and sweetness. Every year, the Amaou French Toast leaves dessert-loving guests elated. Some even visit the hotel for the sole purpose of lunching on the delectable dish.

The thickly sliced brioche used for the french toast rises overnight to give it a light and puffy texture. After being baked and lavishly topped with juicy Amaou strawberries, the french toast is served with the hotel’s original strawberry butter. The bliss doesn’t end there, however. Guests hankering for more can treat themselves to other desserts incorporating Amaou strawberries before concluding their lovely afternoon tea.

The Tokyo Station Hotel is adjacent to Tokyo Station. For more information and reservations, visit www.thetokyostationhotel.jp or call 03-5220-1111.

Springtime pampering for the body and mind

Spring is the season for new beginnings, and every new beginning deserves to start with a little TLC. From March 1 to May 31, drop by The Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo for some seasonal spa treatments that are guaranteed to balance both mind and body.

Located on the 29th floor, the hotel’s luxury wellness suite Chi, The Spa and neighboring nail salon Luxita have prepared elegant spring season courses based on Japan’s favorite sakura cherry blossoms.

The limited spa treatments start at ¥25,500 for 105 minutes and are available from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Details vary by price and duration, but highlights include a sakura-scented Himalayan rock salt bath, facial treatment using organic U.K. brand ila, sauna sessions to improve circulation and a salt scrub with calming sakura oil, mugwort extract and honey.

Meanwhile, the Spring Collection manicure at Luxita starts at ¥15,000 for 120 minutes and can be scheduled between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. A perfect blend of high fashion and original design, the course combines sakura, coral and lavender hues with fluttering sakura petal motifs for a look that lets the world know spring has arrived in style.

The Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo is two minutes from Tokyo Station Nihonbashi Exit. For more information and reservations, visit www.shangri-la.com/jp/tokyo/shangrila/ or call 03-6739-7888.

Goodbye winter, hello sakura-themed treats

Winter has finally started packing up, and the town is buzzing once again with talk of Japan’s ubiquitous springtime sakura cherry blossoms. For the edible side of sakura sightseeing this year, look no further than the Ritz-Carlton, Osaka where flower-flavored sweets and a decadent cocktail are making their seasonal debuts.

The Ritz-Carlton Gourmet Shop on the hotel’s first floor has put together a delectable assortment of sakura sweets to be sold from March 5 to April 14. Stop by anytime from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for sakura melon bread (¥350), sakura gugelhupf Bundt (yeast-based cake) (¥450), sakura cream Danish pastries (¥450), sakura mochi rice cakes (¥400) and other flowery delights.

Those looking for a sakura-themed soiree should head to The Bar on the fifth floor after 5 p.m. for the Sakurabiyori cocktail. Available from March 1 to April 30 for ¥3,000, the Sakurabiyori features a Zubrowka vodka base mixed with apple juice and a sake-derived simple syrup, topped off with a splash of rose Champagne. Presenting a gentle, faintly sweet taste — much like the flowers it’s named after — it’s the perfect way to round out the season’s floral festivities.

The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka, is seven minutes from Osaka Station. For more information and reservations, visit www.ritz-carlton.co.jp or call 06-6343-7000.