One of Japan’s — if not the world’s — most iconic hotels, and a member of the select luxury hotel collection, The Leading Hotels of the World, the venerable Hotel Okura Tokyo will from September 2015 embark on a renovation of its main building with completion of the new facilities scheduled for spring 2019.
“There has been such an outpouring of emotion from our customers about the renovation,” said hotel Managing Director and General Manager Akira Nishimura, recounting both the heartfelt comments received and memories shared by regular guests upon hearing the news of the main building’s temporary cessation.
An extraordinary combination of modernist architecture and Japanese aesthetics, courtesy of a team led by architect Yoshiro Taniguchi, who also created Tokyo’s National Museum of Modern Art and the Crown Prince’s Palace, Hotel Okura Tokyo occupies a distinguished position among the capital’s hotels.
Upon opening in 1962, it set out to be not only an international hotel, but also one that would also embrace Japanese culture and not just imitate its Western counterparts.
Centrally situated in Toranamon amidst the so-called “embassy district,” the hotel is also a longstanding choice for visiting dignitaries and has hosted all visiting presidents from the United States and world distinguished guests.
The hotel has developed a reputation as a leading fine dining establishment showcasing the best of Chinese, French and Japanese cuisines. Nishimura says the hotel was quick to welcome culinary visionaries into its kitchens (Raymond Oliver, Alain Ducasse and Joel Robuchon are some of whom have graced the hotel’s kitchens) and in turn enabled its own chefs to share their expertise overseas.
During the renovations, some of the main building’s restaurants — Toh-Ka-Lin (Chinese), Yamazato (Japanese), Sazanka (Teppanyaki) and the Orchid Bar — will transfer operations to the Hotel’s South Wing, an extension of the main building, which was completed in 1973.
Profoundly grateful and mindful of the role guests play within the Okura “family,” the hotel is launching a four-stage countdown to the renovation, the “This is Okura” 300 Days Project. The First Stage (Oct. 30, to Jan. 9, 2015) allows participants to make a little bit of history and create everlasting memories via “Hotel Okura Today.” Noting that the hotel’s famed lobby has never been utilized commercially, Nishimura says that during this stage applications will be accepted (via the hotel’s official website) for a limited number of wedding ceremonies to be held there in June or July 2015.
There are also chances to stay in the Royal Suite, usually set aside for eminent guests, as part of the “Legendary Royal Suite Special Stay Plan.” Guests can also receive a voucher to stay in the new main building upon opening in spring 2019.
In the next three stages, other exclusive offers will be available to let guests enjoy and remember the hotel until the building’s last moment.
The concept of quintessential Japanese hospitality, omotenashi, has gained traction in the lead up to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Part of the hotel’s fabric and something it has embodied for over 50 years, the Hotel Okura Tokyo’s new main building will be reborn as a “Made in Japan” luxury hotel to see in the new era, and will continue to preserve and carry on its rich history and tradition.